June 16th, 2016

LA | LT Week 3 Update – Broken Roofs and Mending Hearts

Desert's End Church Community

A Guest Post By Gracie McGeehon

It’s hard to believe we’ve been here in cloudy Los Angeles for close to a month. God has accomplished and provided so much for us here (18 of us getting the same job with the same schedule!! What!!) and we’ve just had to willingly walk up the mountain with our hands wide open. It is through His intense and endless love that God has melted my hard heart, giving me a deep love for this city, from the tinsel town of Hollywood to the beautiful hills of Beverly.

The schedule for this current Leadership Training program is saturated with the phrase “2.0” in comparison to the “1.0” LT of last summer, and it is a phrase we have found ourselves saying a lot. “Sean we don’t have any napkins!” “2.0 Gracie!” “Sean we don’t have any blankets” “2.0!” But this 2.0 LT didn’t just extend to our eating and sleeping comfort levels, no, God wanted to go much deeper than that.
When we heard we were having 5-6 girls accountability groups where we brought our sin into the light it’s wasn’t a surprise we heard the phrase, “2.0 ladies!” right along with it. This was intimidating for me. I’ve only ever had accountability partners meaning one person so the thought of confessing my sins to a group was intimidating to say the least. But, God didn’t leave me to figure out things on my own and the next morning I read this familiar story in Luke 5:

“Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven.’”

After reading this story I knew I was viewing accountability groups and this area of growth wrong. There are five aspects to this story that God wanted to show me:

1.) The paralytic first had to identify the pain and hurt in his life to be able to take it to Jesus.
He had to pursue his healing.

2.) Then the paralytic had to find the courage to bring that pain and hurt to his friends
People grow where they feel accepted.

3.) His friends had to help carry the paralytic to Jesus, cutting away the lies and deceit that made up the roof of the house.
His friends took ownership of his pain.

4.) His friends lowered him to Jesus’ feet to be healed.
5.) And lastly, it said Jesus saw “their” faith.
We all have a part to play in each others healing.

Looking around at this LT crew I see a lot of similar stories. Second generation christians born in the GCC movement. We had life in godliness handed to us on a silver platter right? Wrong. If there has been one common theme this summer in LA it has been one of healing from past hurts. We all have hurts that we would rather keep buried deep down never to see the light of day, but that’s not the life God calls us to. He calls us to pursue our own healing, to identify the hurts and pains in our own lives so we can forgive. Then he calls us to share that pain with others so they can help bring us and our pain to Jesus. Most of the time this process is painful, it involves cutting through a roof built of self-preservation and lies. But the end is always worth it. To be at Jesus’ feet fully accepted and completely known. We must strive for that.
We all have a part to play in each other’s healing.

Having this be my first LT, I don’t understand most of the 2.0 references in comparison to the 1.0 LT of last summer but if a life of godliness is lived out in a community of large accountability groups then I will walk up that mountain with my hands wide open.

June 9th, 2016

LA | LT Week 2 Update

Desert's End Church Community

A Guest Post By Timo McGeehon

"A passion for God isn't necessarily the same as abiding in God; it must be coupled with obedience to be true love for God."
- Ed Cole

"Human nature, if it is healthy, demands excitement; and if it does not obtain its thrilling excitement in the right way, it will seek it in the wrong. God never makes bloodless stoics; He makes no passionless saints."
- Oswald Chambers

There are few things as exciting as the transformation and redemption of one’s life from death to life. Conversely there are few things as disheartening as the fading desire to walk into this change. Once you decide to change, it feels like all the spiritual forces are made aware of your new resolve, and subsequently a target gets painted on your back. It is in these days and weeks after your decision to change that your real convictions and beliefs are brought to the surface as life tests their staying power. Going into week two of LT we all felt the excitement of being in a new place and diving into new lifestyles receding. We all still had the passion and desire to allow God to transform and shape us, but were now realizing how hard this life change was going to be to walk into for the rest of the summer.

We maintained our weekly dose of teachings throughout the week, receiving some amazing thoughts from Greg Christman, the Pastor here in LA, about fighting for your convictions and maintaining spiritual health and desire, a teaching on being interdependent (becoming like Christ and giving one’s life to the body of believers that is the church), and an introspective teaching on the emotional health of a Christian. Along with the amazing prayer times each morning and outreach throughout the week our days here in LA have continued to be packed with amazing things, and yet the question still comes to my mind whether I am really walking into lasting growth.

As much as I have been doing lots of good things, I know that this change in life that I am experiencing will only have staying power in my life if it is the conviction and passion of my own heart. But where do you get a passion to love and serve people, how do you obtain convictions on the truth, trustworthiness of our Father’s words? The short answer for me is that I can only love what Jesus loves when by learning to love with His love?

This last week I think everyone here has realized that life change is going to be more than just a summer project. But it is a project I hope we all will choose to walk into, despite how long or hard the road up ahead looks.

Grace and peace to the Family back in AZ! We all miss you guys and hope all is well!
Your Brother,

May 31st, 2016

LA | LT Week 1 Update

Desert's End Church Community

A guest post by Timo McGeehon

Life change is both an amazing and terrifying experience. It is a deciding to say that what lies behind will not keep you from pressing on towards what lies ahead. It is resolving in your heart to live contrary to what is your current normal. As hard as life change is in the moment, there is also much to be said about the road leading up to the decision to thrust yourself into this life change. As our LT team, minus Alex, made its way to California we contemplated our decision to immerse ourselves in a new life. We all wished to experience life change, that is why we were on this journey to Los Angeles, California where we would live for 10 weeks, and yet there were still questions that we all needed to answer in each of our hearts. Once we arrived safely in California and unpacked our stuff into our new homes, one the girls two story house, the other a USC fraternity, and began our life changing journey. For the next 6 days we would pray in the morning together and have quiet times, hear teachings nightly, share the gospel on campus, search for jobs (for some of us), go to jobs (for others), and live in biblical community with our brothers and sisters from the other churches here at LT with us (El Paso, TX and Fort Collins, CO). Though the schedule was busy and taxing on our energy and sleep, I know each of us experienced God this week. For myself God really spoke some amazing truth that I deeply needed.

Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Sometimes in the Christian life we think the first verse in Matthew says to go and do a lot of amazing things and find life in those things, and then there are passages like that in Hebrews which tells us that it is by faith that we please God and find life. This week, amid the activities and looking for a job, I understood a bit more how it is one can make the hard choice of giving God your life to mold and change. To choose to be like Jesus I first had to decide in my heart that walking like Jesus is more rewarding, more satisfying, and more worth giving my life to then the alluring things of this world, mine being (career, fame, “fun”), yours are probably a little different. Once one decides that Jesus is worth giving their life to you then must decide how much of your life you’re willing to trust him for. That is where I saw these two passages collide. We are only able to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, over our concerns and worries, when we truly have the faith that God is a good good father, and that He rewards and takes care of those who earnestly seek Him. We should not be worrying and contemplating whether our time spent reading or praying, or just spending time with God is ill-invested, but should instead, in confidence, trust and believe that all these things (the worries of this life) will be taken care of by our Father above.

May God be blessing and encouraging everyone back at Desert’s End Church Community with His love! We’ll continue praying for you guys and ask that you would do the same!