Friends, we’re honored to support three amazing organizations with our Advent Conspiracy offering this year.
JVI’s mission is to secure freedom, justice, and restoration for the poor and oppressed by strengthening ventures that promote justice. Our vision is to see unjust communities transformed into communities ordered according to God’s standard of love.
From the time we’ve planted Anchor City together, we’ve supported JVI through our Advent Conspiracy offering. In 2018, JVI has helped create over 2,700 stories of freedom and restoration. All gifts to JVI before the end of the year will be matched up to $100,000, so let’s continue to give generously!
Below is a short video describing JVI’s impact this year:
Freely in Hope is a faith-based nonprofit organization focused on restoring dignity with survivors of sexual violence through holistic educational opportunities and platforms for dreams to be fulfilled.
This is our second year being able to support the good work of Freely In Hope — we’ve had the opportunity to hear from Founder and International Director Nikole Lim at Anchor City. Our giving will help Freely In Hope continue work such as holistic education: “We provide holistic educational opportunities for young women who are survivors of or vulnerable to sexual violence through academic scholarships, health care, safe housing, and trauma-based counseling. Freely in Hope scholars are high school or college students passionate about using their education to transform their communities toward a violence-free world. We equip our scholars to arise from oppression and achieve their academic dreams.”
Our Mission is to help nourish the spirit of the street homeless of San Diego County by providing dignity, hot food, and comfort. Burrito Boyz was created to honor our brothers and sisters during their struggles and provide them with a hot meal and water served with dignity and respect.
Several members of our Anchor City family, including youth group and NextGen families, have served with Burrito Boyz this year. We’re proud to give toward Burrito Boyz as our local Advent Conspiracy partner, and to help continue their streak of over 400 consecutive Sundays of serving others in need.
How to Give
Checks can be written to Anchor City Church, with “Advent Conspiracy 2018” in the memo.
If you’re giving through our Tithe.ly app, please choose “Advent Conspiracy 2018” from the “Give To” menu. You can also give through our website by clicking here (again, please choose “Advent Conspiracy 2018” from the “Give To” menu).
Anchor City is thankful to continue our partnership with Justice Ventures International to bring freedom, justice, and restoration to people in the fight against modern-day slavery.
Through our Advent Conspiracy offering, we speak out against the grievous sin of slavery and stand up for the God-given dignity and worth of all people, especially the poor and oppressed.
Please watch and share this video to learn more about JVI’s work:
Here is a brief glance at the incredible work JVI has done in celebrating 10 years of justice and impacting over 25,000 lives through their work:
Friends, Anchor City is honored to participate once again in the Advent Conspiracy, “A global movement of people and churches resisting the cultural Christmas narrative of consumption by choosing a revolutionary Christmas through Worshipping Fully, Spending Less, Giving More and Loving All.”
The season of Advent begins this Sunday, the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day. This is a season of watching & waiting, of expectation & hope. The word “advent” means “arrival” — we celebrate both the Incarnation of Jesus (that He arrived into the world that first Christmas day) and the return of Jesus, when He will arrive again to redeem, restore & renew all things.
We are proud to support three amazing ministries who are helping to transform lives both locally and globally. Throughout the season of Advent, we will be sharing their stories as we prepare to make our Advent Conspiracy offering on December 17th and 24th — which will be sent out 100% to support these organizations.
We encourage you to use the Advent Conspiracy calendar and family devotionals to help create a different rhythm for this season and to re-center your hearts in Christ. Check your email for the PDFs, or pick up a hard copy on Sunday.
Hebrews 12:1-3 says:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame,
and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners,
so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
This week, consider what might be holding you back from loving God and others whole-heartedly. Are there things you need to “throw off”?
Letting Go of Stuff
As Eugene Cho wisely notes,
“Generosity is what keeps the things I own from owning me.”
How can practicing the spiritual discipline of generosity set you free this week and remind you that your worth is in who you are, not what you own?
- Save up for our special Easter offering to support Preemptive Love Coalition’s work to bring clean water to the suffering people of Mosul
- Buy coffee for the person behind you in line (or buy a meal for the car behind you at the drive-through line)
- Lend a favorite book to a friend (or purchase them a copy of their own)
- Send one message (email, post, tweet, snap, etc.) a day that is strictly to help or encourage someone else
- Mail someone a thank-you card just because!
Letting Go of Shame
Micah 7:19 tells us,
Once again you (God) will have compassion on us.
You will trample our sins under your feet
and throw them into the depths of the ocean!
Yes, sin (and the consequences of sin) are real — but, take heart, the love of Christ is greater still!
Tim Keller writes, “You are more sinful than you could ever dare imagine, but you are more loved and accepted than you could ever dare hope.”
- As you shower, thank God for the cleansing we receive through Jesus
- Take a drive to the beach or lake and skip a few rocks. As each one sinks to the bottom, remember how much God has forgiven you.
- Let ordinary household chores (such as throwing out the trash or shredding old files) become a spiritual reminder that your shame has been erased because of Jesus
Matthew 6:33 (NLT),
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously,
and he will give you everything you need.
- As the saying goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” Find ways to deepen your friendship with sisters & brothers in Christ. Commit to pray for someone every day for a week and ask that person to do the same for you.
- Research a follower of Christ who has gone before you as part of the “cloud of witnesses” to be inspired & encouraged
- Seek Jesus through reading Scripture this week — praying for a joyful heart as you read
In this week’s sermon from Acts 8:26-40, Pastor Jeya showed us how powerful crossing boundaries for the sake of Christ can be.
There were numerous boundaries Philip crossed in his conversation with this Ethiopian man:
- Spiritual — in hearing and responding to God’s prompting at each stage
- Geographic — in obedience to God’s call, Philip was willing to physically journey across various borders
- Relational — in being invited into relationship, asking good questions, and being willing to listen to both God and the people around him
- Cultural — in reaching out to someone who was different from him in cultural, ethnic, and racial heritage
- Each discussion group was able to share even more (please feel free to add your group’s findings as a comment to this post!)
PJ mentioned a show (viewable on Netflix) called The Kindness Diaries — a man who travels the world relying on the kindness of strangers and, in the journey, discovering the gifts that make a full life. May we have the courage and compassion to follow Jesus in crossing borders, both near and far, and discover joy, grace, and life in those places.
Advent Conspiracy 2016
Anchor City is proud to continue to be a part of the Advent Conspiracy, a movement of churches committed to the belief that Christmas can still change the world. We want to invite our world into a better Christmas story than materialism and consumption, but one of faithful love, unfailing hope, and transforming relationships in and through Jesus.
Part of how we express this as a church family is through our Advent Conspiracy offering, which is collected by the church and given away 100% to support both a local and global partner in ministry.
Here are the details for this year’s Advent Conspiracy offering:
When: Christmas Sunday, December 25, 2016 (and Sunday, December 18, 2016 for those who cannot join us for our Christmas service)
Global Partner: Justice Ventures International
Local Partner: Genesis Diez Ministries in Baja, Mexico
How: Use the Advent Conspiracy offering envelopes provided and/or write a check to “Anchor City Church” with “AC 2016” in the memo.
As Anchor City honors our commitment to our ministry partners through this Advent Conspiracy offering, we continue to be amazed at the stories of freedom, justice, and restoration which are made possible, in part, through our church’s support.
Listen to this short story about the Joy of Sharing by Ashok Ramasubramanian at the Moth, which is both light-hearted and profound.
. . . . . . . . . .
The Syrian Refugee Crisis
Recently, many of us have become aware of the terrible news of violence — particularly against children — in Aleppo, Syria. These barbaric acts of violence are part of a massive ongoing humanitarian crisis which has gripped Syria since 2011.
13.5 million people in Syria need humanitarian assistance due to a violent civil war that began in 2011.
4.8 million Syrians are refugees, and 6.1 million are displaced within Syria; half of those affected are children.
Children affected by the Syrian conflict are at risk of becoming ill, malnourished, abused, or exploited. Millions have been forced to quit school.
Most Syrian refugees remain in the Middle East, in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt; slightly more than 10 percent of the refugees have fled to Europe.
Peace negotiations continue despite a fraying and piecemeal ceasefire.
Pro-government forces drove out rebel forces from eastern Aleppo in a months-long siege and military campaign that left thousands dead and scores more injured or displaced. “As we go about our holiday preparations, the families and children of Aleppo are literally being massacred,” says Rich Stearns, World Vision U.S. president. “We must never lose our capacity to feel outrage when human beings are so callously slaughtered, and then we must turn that outrage into action. Pray, give, and raise your voices in support of these Syrian families.”
In many ways, we see and hear the broken echoes of violence from that first Christmas Day — when a power-mad King Herod committed unspeakable acts of infanticide against children in Bethlehem. And yet, we continue to believe the words of John, who fearlessly proclaimed, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” — John 1:5
If you or your family want to give individually to bring aid to families suffering in Aleppo and in this Syrian refugee crisis, we encourage you to support organizations with proven track records of coming alongside people in need:
World Vision is responding to the crisis by “helping refugees and displaced families. We’re sharing hope and God’s love by providing food, clean water, healthcare, safe places for children to play, and more.”
Preemptive Love Coalition invites you to wage peace with them. This is one of the organizations Pastor Jim Mullins mentioned at our retreat. “Violence unmakes the world, but preemptive love has the power to unmake violence. We bring relief to families fleeing war in Syria and Iraq. We help refugees rebuild their lives. And we provide lifesaving medical care for children in conflict zones.” Learn more about the current crisis in Aleppo here.
International Rescue Committee “provides opportunities for refugees, asylees, victims of human trafficking, survivors of torture, and other immigrants to thrive in America. Each year, thousands of people, forced to flee violence and persecution, are welcomed by the people of the United States into the safety and freedom of America.”
Read this story in the Union-Tribune about one Syrian refugee family beginning a new life here in San Diego County. “Kassab (the mother of the family), who dreams of running her own daycare for kids with special needs, has completed coursework and a routine inspection to operate a small daycare out of her home.”
As we begin this season of Advent 1, a time of waiting, expecting, and hoping, let’s pursue a life together filled with the wonder of knowing Jesus.
As Makoto Fujimura wisely notes, “For a Christian, imagination is even more valuable: ‘Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’ (Hebrews 11:1) If you take this word of the New Testament seriously, it follows that you must have imagination in order to have faith.”
Just as the birth of Jesus would have been all-too-easy to miss, so is altogether too easy to become jaded to the wonder all around us.
Throughout this Advent season, we encourage you to see our Father’s world through new eyes.
Say yes to the small adventures all around you.
Cultivate amazement and joy,
Discover truth that makes you smile or gasp.
As our friend Steve Garber says, we must learn to see things as they really are, hearts that are formed to see the good, the true, and the beautiful.
During the next four weeks, go on an adventure around San Diego and:
- Bring someone with you (family or friend)
- Share a photo on our Facebook page or Instagram, and hashtag it #AnchorCityWonder
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- The Troll Bridges & Munchkin House of La Jolla [map from MSPC here]
- Christmas light displays around town
- Harper’s Topiary Garden
- Fallen Star @UCSD
- Spruce Street Suspension Bridge
- Double Peak Hike San Marcos
1. Beginning four Sundays prior to Christmas and ending on Christmas Eve, Advent helps us prepare for the coming, or “advent” of the Christ child at Christmas. The word “advent” comes from the Latin word that means “arrival.” (via Mark Roberts)
2 Corinthians 9:6-7 reminds us of a life-changing truth:
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Generosity is about joy, and no one models that better than Jesus.
Our Advent Conspiracy theme for this third week of Advent is Give More. Throughout this season of watching & waiting in hope for the Lord, we invite you to rediscover the joy of giving.
Our partnership enables JVI to continue forward in bringing freedom, justice, and restoration to those in need. During this past year, hundreds of children, women, and men have been freed from slavery through the faithful work of JVI and their partners.
Jeff Pankratz, president of JVI, shares the story of one operation from this past year:
Earlier this year, JVI was instrumental in securing the rescue of 186 men, women, and children from bonded slavery in the Madhubani District of India, near the Nepal border. Many of these families had been trapped in oppressive agricultural slavery for three generations, forced to live in tiny one-room open-air huts, paid with only enough rice to survive, and made to work long hours under the blazing sun. Following their rescue, JVI lawyers ensured that criminal charges were registered against the perpetrators and legal proceedings are underway. JVI and its local partner have helped survivors obtain vital government rehabilitation funds, open bank accounts, enroll in vocational training programs and secure new job opportunities for decent wages. Children, who previously toiled in the fields alongside their parents, now attend school for the first time in their lives. This road to freedom has not been an easy one and there are many challenges still ahead. But these families have moved from a life of desperate misery, fear and danger to one of freedom and hope. As Sunil,* one of the survivors, shared, “We are now free from bondage…we are grateful to those who have helped us.”
GenerateHope is a powerful ministry here in San Diego.
GenerateHope provides a safe place for survivors of sex trafficking to be restored through long-term housing, healing, psychotherapy and education. Since recovery from sexual exploitation is a long-term process, GenerateHope provides individualized support to work through past trauma until the women reach the ability to live independently and become a positive influence on their communities and future generations.
You can read some of the amazing stories of transformation here on their site. Our AC offering will go to support their House 2 Home Campaign, which will provide a permanent refuge for victims of trafficking here in San Diego.
Isn’t that the kind of story you want our life together to tell? Through our giving, we proclaim that God has not given up on the world, and neither have we.
* * * * *
During this third week of Advent, consider the generosity and joy of our God:
Advent is a season of waiting, expecting, and hoping. Beginning four Sundays prior to Christmas and ending on Christmas Eve, Advent helps us prepare for the coming, or “advent” of the Christ child at Christmas. The word “advent” comes from the Latin word that means “arrival.” (via Mark Roberts)
We believe Christmas can still change the world, and that the hope we have in Jesus is the gift our world truly needs.
This year, Anchor City is proud to give our Advent Conspiracy offering on Sunday, December 20, 2015 to two fantastic nonprofit organizations, one local to San Diego and one global:
GenerateHope provides a safe place for survivors of trafficking to be restored through long-term housing, healing, psychotherapy and education. Since recovery from exploitation is a long-term process, GenerateHope provides individualized support to work through past trauma until the women reach the ability to live independently and become a positive influence on their communities and future generations. Their House to Home campaign will help them purchase the only long-term, comprehensive Safe-house for survivors of trafficking in San Diego
Justice Ventures International secures freedom, justice and restoration for the poor and oppressed by strengthening ventures that promote justice. JVI fights human trafficking around the world, particularly in India and China. Pastor Dan serves on the Advisory Board for JVI.
Friends, we received a wonderful letter from our friends at Living Water International regarding our Advent Conspiracy offering that we wanted to share with you:
I hope that you and everyone at Anchor City are doing well!
Thank you for your generous gift through Advent Conspiracy! Your partnership helps us continue to bring clean, safe water to so many communities around the world. This gift of water has been accompanied by sanitation and hygiene training that is critical to fight diseases, like Ebola, in the countries we serve. Most importantly, your gift helps strengthen the local church and proclaim the name of Jesus in communities.
I read more about your partnership with Justice Venture International and these verses came to mind:
Psalm 72:4-5, 12-14
4 May he defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; may he crush the oppressor. 5 May he endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon, through all generations. 12 For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. 13 He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. 14 He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight.
Thank you and everyone at Anchor City for caring for the Lord’s children, the thirsty and enslaved, as a body!
LIVING WATER INTERNATIONAL