As of September 14, I celebrated my 33rd and my 3 years with Regeneration church. We just celebrated our 1 year anniversary on September 12th. This marks the 1st year since we've gone public with Regeneration Church. The first 2 years was building up the launch team and having preview services. What a landmark Anniversary! With this said, I thought it would be good to start capturing some thoughts on this journey of Regeneration Church and life in general.
Here are some Celebrations with Regeneration Church lately:
- Small Group: We've come through 3 semesters of small groups so far. Each semester is about 3 months long and we'd go through workbooks for each small group. We went through "First Steps," which gave the foundations of Christianity. New believers and Veterans alike enjoyed that small group as we discussed and dove into the basics of following Christ.
The 2nd semester challenged the small group to live out three important facets of following Christ: Community, Communion, and Mission. We went through a workbook called "The Tangible Kingdom Primer." In these 3 months we learned how to live a life reflecting Christ in an intuitive and natural way.
We are now ramping up to launch into our 3rd semester and we'll be going through a workbook called "A Spiritual Formation Workbook," challenging us to wade deeper into the waters of spiritual growth. It's an exciting time as we seek Him in small groups and desire to see Him form us.
Other gatherings include a Couple's Small Group - connecting couples with other couples to learn how to honor one another and care for each other, Leaving a Legacy - addressing how we leave a legacy for subsequent generations, and Women's Small Group - which explores the lies that women have bought into and the truth that sets them free.
Pray that God will continue to form Regeneration church through our small groups.
- Game Day: Community Outreach to the kids right across the street from the church. I've been praying about how God wants us to connect with the neighborhood as we have been largely a commuter church rather than a community church.
This idea was born out of the fact that there are always kids playing in the playground of the church and we didn't even know their names. We partnered up with the other churches that were meeting at our campus and decided to do a day for the young ones.
The verse that came to my heart was:
| Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." (Matt. 19:14) |
At first we saw only 4 kids on the street. After telling them there was free food and fun games at the church they scurried back to the apartment to gather more of their friends. Kids are the best evangelist. They run with good news! They knocked on the doors of their friends and hurried them to something they weren't entirely sure was good but they were hungry for interaction and good food.
As we were going through the apartment complex we were welcomed by parents with whom we had a translator communicate with. We affirmed that their children would be returned unharmed and happy. However, there came a point when we did encounter resistance. As we went through the complex, a rough looking Hispanic man covered in tattoos came out on the second floor balcony and yelled out to me:
"We're all atheist here. This whole apartment complex is atheist," trying to deter us from inviting others.
I was a little taken by the remark and the children were looking up at me awaiting a response when I called back,
"Well, even atheist eat hot dogs and play football. We'd love for you to join us!"
He was taken by the comment and paused. He then gave me a crooked smirk, turned around, opened the door and let two kids out from the apartment to join us. By 1130 am, we had 15 of these little guys crossing the street with us to play some Futball and then some American Football.
It was an amazing day of giving of ourselves. I felt that this is what Regeneration is about: Connecting with the lives, interacting with a community that is hostile towards Christ and just being a presence of Christ to them. What I learned from this experience is that we need to look at the very needs that are present right before our eyes. Once we minister there, we will see God leading us like bread crumbs on a trail to more and deeper service to those that are hurt and broken.
- Serving and loving deeply those He brings to us - As if all that wasn't enough, from this Game Day, there was a mother that came by and we discovered that she was in need of a little help to get by. Myself and a member of Regeneration had the privilege of buying some groceries for the family and some school supplies for the kids.
When we went to deliver the goods something I could only explain as a "God Moment" happened. As I was heading up to the apartment, I realized this young lady lived with the very man that called out to us and stated that they were all atheist. She lived with him and I was completely floored. We were helping the very family of the man who was persecuting us. What an opportunity for us to share in Christ's experience of loving those that persecuted Him.
As she opened the door, I saw him and he smiled at me. This was a very different person from the guy I met a couple of weeks prior. He was softened by our act of love and kindness. He came down with me to retrieve the rest of the groceries and we had some small talk on the way back up. I wasn't going to mention our first encounter hoping that he would think that all of us "Asians" look alike and he wouldn't recognize me.
The awesome part was that the following Sunday, he came to church with the young lady and her kids. The very man that said we don't believe in Christ was moved, not by words but by action. Love (the verb) that steps out in vulnerability and trust in God can be a powerful force to reckon with.