Help Revolution Church Fight Sex Trafficking this Christmas

Every year at Revolution Church we do a Christmas offering. This is a chance for our church to give above and beyond what it normally does and give it away to bless others and move the gospel forward in Tucson and beyond.

In years past, we’ve helped to build wells in Africa, fight homelessness and sex trafficking in our city, and plant churches in Tucson and around the world.

So far, we’ve given away over $20,000 away.

This year, we are hoping to raise over $10,000, which would be our largest Christmas offering ever.

One of the organizations we are partnering with is The A21 Campaign.

Here’s a video as to why we are partnering with them.

Christmas Offering Starts This Sunday @ Revolution

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Every year at Revolution Church we do a Christmas offering. This is a chance for our church to give above and beyond what it normally does and give it away to bless others and move the gospel forward in Tucson and beyond.

In years past, we’ve helped to build wells in Africa, help fight homelessness and sex trafficking in our city, and helped to plant churches in Tucson and around the world.

So far, we’ve given away over $20,000 away.

This year, we are hoping to raise over $10,000, which would be our largest Christmas offering ever.

Here are some things it will go to:

  • It will go to helping church plants in Tucson and beyond through Acts 29 (the church planting network we are a part of).
  • It will go to helping us as a church get closer to planting Revolution Church | Midtown. Lord willing, we will begin preview services in the fall of 2014 and officially launch in January 2015.
  • We will continue to fight sex trafficking in Tucson through Sold No More and around the world through A21.
  • We will continue to be a blessing to Magee Middle School (the school we meet in). So far, we’ve been able to do teacher appreciation lunches, new student lunches, bought them over 170,000 sheets of paper when they ran out and TUSD wouldn’t buy more paper and stock every teacher with markers for their classroom because the school couldn’t afford them.

You can give online here to it or on a Sunday morning by marking your giving envelope “Christmas.”

Monday Morning Mind Dump…

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  • This weekend was the moment our family has been waiting for for the last 4 years
  • Katie left on a plane yesterday to go to Ethiopia to bring Judah Mamush home
  • Here’s an update
  • I’m so excited for him to join our family
  • And for Katie to come back home
  • I had a guy today who said, “Must be excited about a break from your wife”
  • As nicely as I could I said, “If I was excited I wouldn’t have gotten married”
  • Because of coming back from San Diego on our family vacation on Wednesday and getting Katie ready to leave, I felt out of sync when it came to preaching today
  • When my week isn’t normal it makes preaching hard
  • Ironically, I got more comments about today than most recent sermons
  • Go figure
  • If you missed it, you can listen here
  • Had a great week in San Diego
  • I love family vacations and the change of pace they bring
  • So many fun memories
  • Can’t believe we are almost done with the book of John at Revolution
  • I’ve loved preaching through a gospel
  • Can’t wait to start 1 Corinthians in January
  • Going to cover topics like divorce, spiritual growth, dating, sex before and outside of marriage, homosexuality, spiritual gifts, healing, speaking in tongues, heaving, hell and the afterlife
  • Should be fun
  • Say a prayer for our family as Katie is traveling
  • She will be exhausted and need supernatural strength as she travels home with Judah
  • Pray for the transition of him joining our family and all that will mean

Monday Morning Mind Dump… (Afternoon Edition)

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  • While last week was amazing as we celebrated our 5 year anniversary as a church and had baptisms, yesterday was incredible
  • We kicked off a brand new series on John 12 – 21 yesterday called Made for Glory
  • John 12 starts with the topic of generosity, giving and holding our stuff loosely
  • While most pastors hate to preach on the topic of giving and money, I’ve started to enjoy it
  • People in our culture want answers when it comes to their finances and the relationship they have with money and stuff and the Bible is the best place to get those answers
  • We did a 90 day giving challenge
  • We’ve done this twice a year every year since we started the church
  • It’s simple: if you aren’t giving back to God, start and if in the next 90 days you don’t see God expand your faith, move in your life and challenge you in the area of finances, let us know and we’ll give back everything you gave in the last 90 days
  • We’ve never had anyone ask for it back and we’ve had over 100 people take the challenge in the last 5 years
  • We had our highest ever yesterday with 16
  • Can’t wait to hear the stories of how God works in their lives over the next 90 days
  • It was a sad day in our house today because we’ve been praying and hoping that we would’ve woken up this morning to an email about being able to go to Africa to bring Judah home
  • That didn’t happen
  • We’re hopeful about tomorrow though
  • Say a prayer that we’ll hear tomorrow
  • I got invited to start doing crossfit with one of my neighbors in his garage
  • He has the whole set up
  • So, now I’m doing crossfit 3 times a week with a couple of Air Force guys in their 20’s
  • So far, I haven’t felt old yet
  • Hoping that continues
  • I got to have coffee with a college student last week who has attended Revolution for almost a year and has been exploring Jesus that whole time
  • He has a ton of logical questions about Christianity, which was awesome and fun to talk through
  • Love talking about how faith is logical and not just a feeling or an emotion
  • Katie and I went to one of our new favorite places for date night last Friday, Blanco
  • If you haven’t been, it is so good

How we Spent our Time in Ethiopia with our Son

This gallery contains 23 photos.

Many of you have asked what our time with our son was like while we were in Ethiopia. In 2 words: too short, but in actuality we spent everyday with him at the transition home, usually twice a day for … Continue reading

My Arms are Too Short

Last week we got an email that our sweet Mamush had conjunctivitis, so he got eye ointment, it cleared up. This week we got another email saying that he is on a round of antibiotics for pharyngitis, which according to the internet is a sore-throat. I know that it is a small thing, but can you imagine your child not feeling well and you can do NOTHING. I wish I could have brought him home last week so that my arms could hold him while he isn’t feeling well… but my arms are too short.

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In actuality, my arms are too short even for the kids under my roof. Even if I can hold them and kiss their boo-boos and tell them how much I love them, my arms are too short to save their little souls. So I do, for all of my children, the only thing that I can- I cry out to God. I don’t always pray like I want to, like my heart says I should, but that is changing and I know that a prayer can be answered if it is asked in the chaos that is my life, or in those serious times of fasting and solitude. Right now the prayers made while over my kitchen sink with the kids’ noise in the background will have to do. And I feel like God is pleased. Image

(A woman waiting to be healed at the church on top of EntotoMountain; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)

I pray that He is pleased to heal Mamush of the discomfort that he is in, that his little heart does not lose hope as he waits for us to return, and that at our return he does not scorn us because he has felt abandoned by us. I pray that Nehemiah continues to meet developmental milestones and we are not burdened by the relationship with his Birth-mom and Birth-dad, but are able to extend grace and know our role.  My prayer for Ashton, is that He will continue to develop into a man of character and substance. For Gavin, I pray that his spirit for adventure and attention does not distract from the calling that you have on his life, that he is able to submit that to You for Your Glory. Ava’s heart is so sweet and helpful, I pray that You would protect it from the arrows of the evil one, and that she is able to grow into a strong women, who’s confidence is not in herself, but in You. Image

(Walking into the church on top of EntotoMountain; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)

This is a great place to start praying daily for your children: http://www.inspiredtoaction.com/wp-content/uploads/kat/I2A_Prayer_Calendar.pdf

If you would like to help us complete our adoption and bring Mamush home as we travel back to Ethiopia in 5-10 weeks, you can donate here. At last count, we still need to raise $5,000.

Monday Morning Mind Dump…

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  • Feels like forever since I’ve done this blog post
  • Feels good to be back in a normal rhythm
  • It was incredible being  back at Revolution yesterday and having the chance to preach live
  • It had been 8 weeks since I preached a live sermon there
  • I missed my church, a lot
  • I preached from John 9 and looked at how Jesus redeems and heals the darkest places of our lives
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here
  • At the end of the service Paul said in the closing, “I’m so glad to have Josh back, when he’s gone, I don’t know what to do”
  • So funny
  • The last few weeks have been a roller coaster of a ride as we went to Ethiopia to meet our son
  • We will return in a few weeks to pass embassy and bring him home
  • We need to raise $5,000 to do that
  • So you can help by donating here and click the donate button (it’s tax-deductible), so we can bring him home
  • On our many plane rides I got to watch a ton of movies and read a lot of books
  • Made it through The Making of a Leader, Unusually Excellent, One Way Love, Brain Rules, First, Look Before You Leadand To Live is Christ
  • Reviews are coming
  • Katie and I also got to spend 3 days in Rome on our way back
  • The crazy thing was that it saved us over $3,000 in airfare to stop in Rome instead of flying straight home
  • Turns out summer mission trip season worked against us in going to Africa to meet our son
  • Tonight the Steelers have a preseason game on TV, so the whole family has their Steelers shirts on today
  • Can’t wait for real football
  • Can’t wait for Revolution next week
  • Unpacking the picture of who God is from John 10:1 – 21 and how God protects us, rescues us, watches over us and ultimately wants to give us life and not death
  • It’s going to be a powerful day

Meeting our Son who we Didn’t Know Much About…

After 24+ hours of travel we were breathless with anticipation as we got off the plane in Ethiopia… trying to navigate buying a visa, getting through passport control, finding our luggage (almost), filing a claim for our lost bag, talking with a retired gentleman who moved from Ethiopia to the US (he was a God-send), and getting through customs with our 3 boxes of donations. We were finally there, after 3 and a half years of paperwork, phyicals and more paperwork, God was fulling his call on our life.

We stopped at the guest house (gh) to drop off our things and brush our teeth, then we were off to the transition home (th). We had 30 minutes to meet our son before we would be whisked away to an authentic Ethiopian meal with entertainment! Talk about pressure, 30 minutes to meet our son and convince him that we were cool enough to parent him for the rest of his life! Thankfully we packed balloons and bubbles, the love language of small children from 3rd world countries.

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Introducing Mamush, soon to be Judah! You may notice that he is not looking at us, he is looking a Champ, the man behind the camera. He was unsure of us and was looking to the only other person in the area that was vaguely familiar to him.

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After reading about other people’s adoption journeys; we decided that it would be a good idea to bring a backpack with goodies that we could use each day. That way Judah could associate it as his, and we can bring it back on our second trip, with more “goodies” for him as we travel the LONG way home. It was a great tool in connecting…

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I am not above bribing with balloons! Notice that his body is starting to relax and he is not as stiff. Mamush’s first language is a tribal language, his second language is Amharic, and he is working on his third language English. Needless to say, he is a little quiet, and has no clue what we are saying!

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Notice how he is copying my face while blowing up the balloon! Priceless!

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Playing bop-balloon with dad helped to warm him up.

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Finally, we got smiles! This is something that we had long waited to see. All of the pictures that we had received of him are very serious and unsure. We knew that his little heart was at least comfortable, if not warming, toward us. Oh, the joy of a mother’s heart.

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And finally, eye contact. It is very hard to express in words the feelings of our first few hours in Addis Ababa, meeting our son. He was loved by us the moment we started the adoption process, it has been a long journey here, but he will forever be well worth the wait.

We will return to Ethiopia in 5-10 weeks to bring him home with us. We still need to raise $5,000 for this trip. If you would like to be a part of bringing him home to our family, you can give (tax deductible) here.

This Weekend @ Revolution || How to Find Freedom

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So glad to be back in the saddle and preaching again.

I’m really grateful to Pantano Church and their willingness to help us while I’m in Africa and providing a place for us to shoot sermon videos. Love how the church in Tucson is taking steps to work together and move the kingdom forward.

This week, we are continuing our series Jesus Changes Everything and looking at John 8:31 – 59 as we look at the topic of what it means to be free and follow Jesus. I’ll often get questions such as, “How do I know if I’m a follower of Jesus? What if I continue sinning and doing what I used to do? What if I can’t stop doing something? What if I’m afraid? Have doubts? Or struggle with anything? Does that mean I’m not a follower of Jesus?”

Those are enormous questions and are answered in this important passage. So, if you’ve ever asked those questions, wondered them inside your head or know someone who has, then be sure to bring them with you (you never know when a simple invite will make an eternal difference).

We also started sign-ups for our missional communities recently. Our MC’s are smaller groups that meet around the city on different nights for the purpose of community and discipleship. We say this all the time, but if you don’t get plugged into an MC, the countdown for you sticking at Revolution begins to tick as this is where care, shepherding and growth happens best. And we would not anyone to miss out on those things.

I’ll see you this Sunday at 10am.

Remember, we meet at 8300 E. Speedway Blvd. at 10am.

Adoption and the Desire to Control

We are nearing the end of our adoption from Ethiopia and one of the main things I’ve learned is adoption is brutal if you have a control idol. That’s probably also true simply as a parent, but the process of adopting has brought this out even more in my life.

I get asked almost daily where things are, why haven’t you traveled yet, are you still raising money, I thought that was done ages ago. All great questions from well-meaning friends and family.

A little over a month ago we found out, after 3 and a half years, who our child in Ethiopia was. We had done rummage sales, sold coffee, asked family and friends for money, gave our last couple of tax returns to bring us to this point. This point of holding a photo of our child.

Here he is seeing our family for the first time and hearing about what his future will hold:

Judah

While this a milestone, it is not even the beginning. It is simply the next step in a long journey.

When you hold a picture of your child in your hands, the child you have been waiting for 3 years to meet, a child that lives on the other side of the world, that you can’t hold or look at or talk to is hard. It gets harder if you have kids and you try to explain to them about their new brother and they don’t understand why it is taking so long.

My favorite is when well-meaning people say, “Why is it so hard? Why don’t they just give the kids away? It shouldn’t so expensive or so long.” I agree and yet here we sit.

Right now, we are waiting to get the phone call that says, “Buy your plane tickets, your court date in Ethiopia is on this date.” And then we’ll go. We’ve been told it should happen this week, but we don’t know. Our lives go on, but they could stop at any moment. In the meantime, we wait.

The meantime, the waiting. It makes sense its on frustrating way. I started reading Jeff Goins new book, The In-Between this morning. Seemed appropriate. He says:

How we spend our days, according to Annie Dillard, is how we spend our lives. If that’s true, then I spend most of my life waiting. Waiting in the checkout line at the grocery story. Waiting to rent a movie. Waiting for the movie to end. Waiting to turn thirty. Waiting for vacation. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Life is an endless series of appointments and phone calls and procrastinated tasks that need to, but sometimes never, get done. It’s a long list of incomplete projects and broken promises that tomorrow will be better. It’s being put on hold and waiting in office lobbies and watching that stupid hourglass rotate again and again on the computer screen. It’s load times and legal processes – long, drawn-out, bureaucratic systems that leave sitting, watching the clock. Life is one big wait.

So we wait. To bring a child home we’ve never met but almost 4 years ago began praying for and planning for. Hopefully this is the week we get to meet him!