From Local Presence

Church Without Walls: PostSecret Reflection Questions

This past Sunday, July 7th, we gathered for Church Without Walls at the PostSecret Exhibit at the San Diego Museum of Man

This week, as you’re reflecting on this experience, review the following questions. Part of holding out the hope of Christ as the anchor for our souls to our neighbors around the city is moving toward understanding for the struggles they endure.

Also, if you weren’t able to join us on Sunday but would like to visit the PostSecret Exhibit on your own, you can use these reflection questions as a guide.

  • Take note of the thoughts and emotions that are evoked as you read through these confessions:
    humor? Sadness? Anger? Empathy? Judgment? Shock?
  • Were there secrets — particularly about faith / God / doubt / church — that you could relate to?
  • What’s one that stuck out to you or was particularly memorable?

 

  • What’s uncomfortable about sharing secrets? Why don’t we do it more often?
  • Why do secrets hold power over people?
  • What’s the power of sharing a secret? (Confession) What does sharing a secret offer you?

 

  • While the PostSecret project is a good start towards healing, connecting and being heard, why is it not enough?
  • How could a community change by being a space where secrets can be shared?
  • What would it take for a community to be a safe and brave space for confessing? Can we be a community that holds people’s fears, joys, pain and hopes?
  • If a church were to receive secrets like this, what should it do with them?

 

Part of the power in sharing our secrets is knowing that someone hears it, that someone is listening.

As Psalm 66:19 reminds us, “God has surely listened and has heard my prayer.” We can trust that God hears us.

Advent Conspiracy 2018: Giving Partners

Friends, we’re honored to support three amazing organizations with our Advent Conspiracy offering this year.

Justice Ventures International 

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 

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.”

 

Burrito Boyz

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.

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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).

 

Church Without Walls — Love God With Our Strength

Sunday, September 30, 2018
Mission Bay, San Diego
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Love So Great 

Your love so great
Jesus in all things
I’ve seen a glimpse of Your heart

A billion years
Still I’ll be singing
How can I praise You enough?
How can I praise You enough?

You are the Lord Almighty
Outshining all the stars in glory
Your love is like the wildest ocean
Oh, nothing else compares

Creation calls
All to the Saviour
We are alive for Your praise

In earth and sky
No one is higher
Our God of wonders, You reign
Our God of wonders, You reign

Not to us, but to Your Name
We lift up all praise
Not to us, but to Your Name
We lift up all praise

 

Oceans 

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown, where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep, my faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours, and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior

Church Without Walls — Beauty & Creativity

I Love You, Lord 

I love you, Lord
And I lift my voice
To worship You
Oh, my soul rejoice!
Take joy my King
In what You hear
Let it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear

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An artist knows that what you can see and observe
is only the beginning of our journey to discover the world.

William Blake wrote:
To see a world in a grain of sand
and heaven in a wild flower
Hold infinity in the palms of your hand
and eternity in an hour

Every work of art and poetry invites us
to see a ‘world in a grain of sand’ and ‘heaven in a wild flower.’
This perceptive exercise allows for another amazing experience.
We actually can, by truly “seeing,” experience the possibility
of opening the “eyes of our hearts.”

— Makoto Fujimura

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I pray that the eyes of your heart
may be enlightened in order that you may know
the hope to which he has called you,
the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,
and his incomparably great power
for us who believe.

— Ephesians 1:18-19 —

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General questions to think about throughout the entire museum:

  • What do you like? (It’s okay to say “nothing” if that’s what you feel)
  • What speaks to you?  How?
  • What do you see that helps you open “the eyes of your heart”?
  • What feelings (if any) do these pieces evoke? Positive? Negative?

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In any of these pieces, how do you see the Four Chapter Gospel? Individual chapters, the whole story, etc.?

  • Creation: Where do you see something that was lovingly made?
  • Fall: Is there a piece that expresses pain or brokenness visually, maybe even better than words would?
  • Restoration: Do you see any artwork that evokes forgiveness or healing?
  • Redemption: Which pieces give you sense of completion, wholeness, or hope?

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At the Moon Gold exhibit:

  • Read Exodus 35:31-32
  • As you look at the various pieces, think about scale, color, and materials. There are some really BIG pieces, as well as some small ones.
  • How do these pieces help you understand the qualities/characteristics of God? Perhaps you can think about the colors (gold & silver) or the size (the big pieces, and how you feel standing in front of them).

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At the Epic Tales of India exhibit:

  • Parental Guidance: Parents, please be aware that there are some pieces with themes and depictions that might not be appropriate for your kids.
  • Is there piece from this room where you see God’s truth expressed/reflected in some way?
  • Note: We are not saying that all religions are the same, but because God created the world, all creation can reflect some glimpses of His Truth.

_________________________

Upstairs, at the Art of Devotion exhibit:

  • Pastor Jeya will be in this area around 11:30 am — please feel free to ask her questions, look at a few pieces together, etc.

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Questions for kids (and the young at heart)!

Can you find these pieces? Where did you see them?

When you feel “found,” how does that make you feel (Think about if you’ve ever been lost, or if someone really knows you)?

Can you find a painting called Agnus Dei (“Lamb of God”)? What does the Bible say about Jesus as the Lamb of God?

Is there a piece of art that looks like you? Or, can you strike a similar pose?

Ask your parents to take you to the Visible Vaults: As you opened the drawers, what was something that surprised you? Can you draw it? Why was it fun to discover something new? In the world, what helps you discover or know God’s love more?

Are there works that remind you of Bible stories or God’s love for you?

 

For our younger children — let your kids show you what they want to see.

  • What do they see that you didn’t notice as an adult?
  • Ask, “What art do you like? Why? What don’t you like?”
  • If you see people in the artwork ask, “What are the expressions on their faces? Happy? Sad? How does that make you feel?”
  • Ask them to point out colors and shapes (but don’t touch!) and ask which ones do they like? Are there pieces they don’t like?
  • Share with them which ones you like and why.
  • Remind your kids that they are God’s beautiful artwork!

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Bonus! Find PJ’s favorite non-sacred piece (without running!) • Take a photo of it and show it to PJ — first person to correctly do so wins a prize! • Hint: We showed a picture of it on Sunday • If you need another hint, text PJ

Church Without Walls — Worship Songs

The Love of the Father 

Lift up your voices and lift up your praise
Join with the heavens declaring the wonders
Of His faithfulness forever

Sing of the victory, the hope of the world
The Saviour has risen, the Spirit has come to
Bring us into love forever

We are the people of God
With the freedom of hope in our hearts
How great is the love of the Father

Lifted from darkness and into the light
The sons and the daughters are loved at a price our
God has made us His forever

This is the song of the redeemed
The ransomed and the free
Given life at such a price
This is love, this is love

And when the Father calls us home
And we see Him on the throne
Hear the voices sing as one
This is love, this is love

 

Lord Most High

From the ends of the earth (From the ends of the earth)
From the depth of the sea (From the depth of the sea)
From the height of the heavens (From the height of the heaven)
Your name be praised

From the hearts of the weak (From the hearts of the weak)
From the shouts of the strong (From the shouts of the strong)
From the lips of all people (From the lips of all people)
This song we raise, Lord

Throughout the endless ages
You will be crowed with praises
Lord most high
Exalted in every nation
Soverign of all creation
Lord most high
Be magnified

 

Here I am to Worship 

Light of the world
You stepped down into darkness
Opened my eyes, let me see
Beauty that made this heart adore You
Hope of a life spent with You

Here I am to worship
Here I am to bow down
Here I am to say that You’re my God
You’re altogether lovely
Altogether worthy
Altogether wonderful to me

King of all days
Oh so highly exalted
Glorious in heaven above
Humbly You came to the earth You created
All for love’s sake became poor

I’ll never know how much it cost
To see my sin upon that cross

Church Without Walls!

The church is not a building — the church is us, the people of God! This Sunday, July 22, 2018, we will be a Church Without Walls in worship & witness!

We’ll have three different opportunities to serve & bless our city:

We will ALL gather in worship at 10:00 am at the Nobel Athletic Area & Library (search for 7301 Toscana Drive, San Diego in maps). Depending on your serving initiative, our worship gathering will either wrap up or begin your day.

Click the image below to read our latest newsletter, which has all the details and contact information!

Christmas Can Still Change the World!

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.

 

The Kindness Diaries

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.

 

Let Light Shine This Christmas

web-ac-offering

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.

From World Vision, here is a sketch of how massive this crisis is:

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.”

Advent 2016: Cultivate Wonder

advent-wonder

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: 

Here are some ideas to get you started: 

We’ll be happy to add suggestions here. Please email info@anchorcity.org with ideas. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone’s wonder-filled adventures!

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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)