Oregon

A Letter To My Kids: I am thankful for the adventurous journey we've been living.

Photo Credit: Chris Brignola via Unsplash  

Dear Angelica, Thomas, and Elle,

I'm writing this to you so you know that I am thankful for the life I've been able to live with all of you. I know my life isn't over yet. Well at least not at this moment. And when I do pass on from this world, I trust the real adventurous journey will begin. When you say yes to God you have no idea the adventure you're in for.

My life has been an adventure.

I've been able to live in some of the most beautiful places on earth. I've been able to form friendships and community with people from all over the world—relationships that will last an eternity. We have friends or I should say family all over the world, and we are fortunate to have these people in our lives. Never take your relationships for granted.

And that's another thing. I've been able to travel on this adventurous journey with the people I love most—you guys, your mom, and the three of you! There is no one I'd rather be on this roadtrip with than with you.

Adventures are always better with friends and people you love.

Photo Credit: Greg Shield via Unsplash

Sure on this journey we have seen storms, disasters, flat tires, stranger-dangers, and our own self-imposed mishaps all of which help define a successful roadtrip—both literally and figuratively. It hasn't always been easy and there have been times I wanted to throw in the towel.

But I wouldn't trade any of it in for anything. We've been able to taste new foods like white sausage gravy and biscuits, sweet tea, deep-fried pickles, Cheba Hut sandwiches, Marion Berry pie, and all the amazing craft beers from Colorado and Oregon. We have experienced the diverse cultures, geographical landscapes of the U.S., and all their cultural idioms and quirks—is it soda, coke, or pop...

We have had the precious gift of seeing Christianity lived out in unique expressions throughout the U.S. and from people of other countries.

My kids, I hope you continue to live a life full of adventure with your families, and teach your kids to do the same. Whether it's planting roots and staying in one place or traveling the world, I hope you choose an adventurous life.

I want to share with you Thomas' poem about our family's journey. You can read the whole blog post here: "Adventure Beckons: My son’s thoughts on our big move."

 

“Adventure Beckons.” by Thomas Puentes

Moving here or there is a treat rarely savored by everybody involved.

For those left behind they long for the piece gone, and those gone wish to be made whole again.

However something beckons us, calling us.

It is adventure.

Explore the unknown and when you return, you shall share riches to those who waited.

 

Photo Credit: Mullermarc, Unsplash

I am thankful for the life I've been able to live up to this point. I trust the adventure will continue.

What version of the Bible do you use?

*First posted on Ascent’s Facebook page: Ascent Christian Church Facebook page What Bible version do you use?

This is a question I have been asked several times this past week. I thought I’d share my answer here on our church’s Facebook page.

Without getting into too much detail (I’d be glad to explain further with you offline why I use the version that I use); my preferred version is the ESV (English Standard Version).

The ESV is the version that I perdominatly use for both my personal Bible study and for most of the preaching and teaching I do at Ascent, and the version you will read up on the big screen on Sunday mornings unless otherwise specified.

On occasion, like this past Sunday, I use the NIV 1984 version, and at times I will use my own translation from Hebrew or Greek to English.

Many of us have a favorite version of the Bible we like to read from. I recognize that there are many different versions of the Bible, and I have used many of them for both personal use and for preaching and teaching.

My advice is for you to find the version that is easy for you to read and one you are comfortable with using. If you can, have a couple of different versions to read from—a word-for-word and a thought-for-thought version.

The important thing is for all of us to be reading our Bibles on a consistent basis.

Here is a great resource to help you look at the distinctives of some of the more popular Bible translations: http://www.mardel.com/bible-translation-guide.aspx

Happy reading!

What's on my mind this morning.

What's on my mind this morning:

- I'm so thankful that I get to be the pastor of Ascent Christian Church - I really love preaching. - And I really love preaching through our current series--I believe it will have a huge impact on our church. - We have some amazing people leading ministries in our church. - I'm very excited about who God has placed at our church and the gifts they have. - I am very excited about this coming year. - And the ministry that will be happening at Ascent!

- The realization that we are all made in the image of God is having an impact on how I view and treat people. - #LoveYourNeighbor - We are all broken people. Just some recognize it. Get healing. and become better for it. - I love the fact our church family is willing to acknowledge our messy spirituality.

- The state of Oregon just passed legislature on Marriage. - It was an emotional moment in Oregon history. - #OregonMarriageEqualityRuling. - I don't agree with everything Rep. Mike McLane said. - But he had some wise words to say to the people of Oregon:

20140519-214147-78107394.jpg - Regardless your view of this legislation, we are all made in the image of God and need Jesus. - Now is the time for the church to live out Jesus commandment to love your neighbor. - Luke 10:25-37 - #LoveYourNeighbor

- Humbled that I get to be a part of the Sisters, OR church plant management team: Mountain Range Christian Church - This makes me look forward to our next partnership church plant in Oregon with the OCEF.

- There are a lot of exciting things happening at Boise Bible College in Boise, ID.

- Jeff Walling is one of the best story tellers I've ever heard.

- You're never to old to get a lecture from your dad... - I did yesterday. Yes I deserved it. And no I'm not ready to talk about it :) - I have the best wife a man could ever hope for. - I don't deserve my kids--they are most amazing people I've ever met! - My kids have made some really cool friends--they are a blessing from The Lord.

- I'm fortunate to have friends like Mike, Tony, and Gavin--I love those guys from Warrenton and Astoria, OR.

- Prineville, OR is a beautiful place.20140519-212815-77295210.jpg - I went to The Kilns coffee house yesterday--it's in Bend, OR. - It has a very cool vibe. - And it houses Kilns College. They have a Master of Arts in Social Justice, which I find a bit intriguing.

- The movie 12 Years A Slave, makes me angry (I watched it last night for the first time). - I prefer Smallville over 24. - I like beards. - And probably will grow mine back in the next couple of weeks.

Joe

The importance of a discipleship legacy

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"We are proud of you. You have set off on a wonderful adventure. Who knows what God will do in transforming your lives?" - Wayne and Rolly Bigalow

Fina found a letter from Wayne and Rolly Bigalow, spiritual giants and ministry mentors in our lives, dated August 31st, 2001.

This letter was written to encouraging our family before we left for our wonderful adventure moving from California to Missouri to attend Ozark Christian College and to do ministry.

And it's very fitting for us on our new wonderful adventure here in Oregon.

the beginning...

Wayne is the reason why I am in ministry today! He was the Senior Minister of Sonrise Christian Church in Windsor, CA, and I served as the youth minister at Sonrise.

Wayne was the person who encouraged us to take a step of faith and follow God's call on our lives. So with my wife and three kids we packed up everything we owned and moved to Missouri to finish my Bible college education.

I am forever grateful for Wayne and Rolly (She went to be with Jesus years ago) for the impact they had on us, a young ministry family... And Wayne still has an impact on me and my ministry today—he called me last night to see how we are doing in our new ministry.

the importance of a discipleship legacy...

Wayne and Rolly believed in us and taught us to trusted God and to rely on His grace to get is through our new adventure. We also learned from them the importance of discipleship—leading others into becoming more like Jesus. To invest in others and have others invest in your life is one of the keys to lasting relationship with Jesus, one that is healthy, vibrant, and reproducing.

We have been so fortunate to have so many people mentor us and allow us the freedom to fail and succeed in ministry. As a result of others investing in us, we have been able to do the same. I think many times we have been the ones being blessed by us investing in others, and not so much the other way around.

It is important to carry-on legacy of discipleship. It is not only beneficial for the person your are investing in, but it is also beneficial for you—if you don't then your faith can become self-centered and eventually it shrivels up and dies.

Who are you creating a discipleship legacy with?

Joe

The importance of a discipleship legacy

20140212-193353.jpg

"We are proud of you. You have set off on a wonderful adventure. Who knows what God will do in transforming your lives?" - Wayne and Rolly Bigalow

Fina found a letter from Wayne and Rolly Bigalow, spiritual giants and ministry mentors in our lives, dated August 31st, 2001.

This letter was written to encouraging our family before we left for our wonderful adventure moving from California to Missouri to attend Ozark Christian College and to do ministry.

And it's very fitting for us on our new wonderful adventure here in Oregon.

the beginning...

Wayne is the reason why I am in ministry today! He was the Senior Minister of Sonrise Christian Church in Windsor, CA, and I served as the youth minister at Sonrise.

Wayne was the person who encouraged us to take a step of faith and follow God's call on our lives. So with my wife and three kids we packed up everything we owned and moved to Missouri to finish my Bible college education.

I am forever grateful for Wayne and Rolly (She went to be with Jesus years ago) for the impact they had on us, a young ministry family... And Wayne still has an impact on me and my ministry today—he called me last night to see how we are doing in our new ministry.

the importance of a discipleship legacy...

Wayne and Rolly believed in us and taught us to trusted God and to rely on His grace to get is through our new adventure. We also learned from them the importance of discipleship—leading others into becoming more like Jesus. To invest in others and have others invest in your life is one of the keys to lasting relationship with Jesus, one that is healthy, vibrant, and reproducing.

We have been so fortunate to have so many people mentor us and allow us the freedom to fail and succeed in ministry. As a result of others investing in us, we have been able to do the same. I think many times we have been the ones being blessed by us investing in others, and not so much the other way around.

It is important to carry-on legacy of discipleship. It is not only beneficial for the person your are investing in, but it is also beneficial for you—if you don't then your faith can become self-centered and eventually it shrivels up and dies.

Who are you creating a discipleship legacy with?

Joe

Moving Update: Oregon or Bust...

Photo Credit: Arthur Rothstein, Library of Congress, USA  

What a whirled-wind the last five and a half weeks have been!

I'm sitting here in my office trying to gather my thoughts about the adventure we have been journeying on. Racing through my mind are so many people, places, and things we've experienced since we left Longmont, CO.

a few of the highlights from our travels to our new home and ministry...

  • We drove through a blizzard in Wyoming. There was about 4 feet of visibility and the winds were awful. Yep. I thought we were going to not make it at one point.
  • We decided to not stop overnight in Salt Lake City and drive through to California... We're too old do to that.
  • We had Christmas and New years with our family in Northern California (First time in thirteen years).
  • I got eyeglasses.
  • Elle celebrated her sixteenth birthday
  • We spent three fun and eventful weeks with family in Northern California (We went to the ocean a few times, hung-out with family, went to San Francisco and had a great time, saw a guy wreck his motorcycle and I tried to help stabilize him—he was hurt pretty bad, saw the aftermath of a guy trying to harm himself at a department store, and witnessed people across the street from where we were staying get into a domestic dispute... We also tried to secure a home in Prineville during this time, but found it difficult to do so...).
  • Drove through a blizzard in Oregon as we journeyed to our new home and ministry (There was one moment when cars and semi-trucks were sliding off the road when I though it wasn't going to end well for us. Thankfully for our time of driving in Missouri and Colorado, I was able to keep going without any mishaps).

new home & ministry...

We just finished our third week of living in Oregon. We have been so blessed by our new church family. What amazing, welcoming, and loving people!

We arrived in Oregon without having secured a home to live in, so a family from the church let us stay with them for a week. During that time we searched for a place to live and eventually found a place—thanks to some people from the church.

Since then, time has been going by so fast! We are feeling our way through as we go about repotting Ascent Christian Church. This is a great church with amazing people! I have preached at three of our gatherings so far as the pastor of Ascent.

My schedule is full of connecting with people and spending time in the community. I am learning all I can about our new city and praying about finding ways the Holy Spirit can use us to be the best church for our city.

Fina and the kids are doing well. Thomas and Elle started school this past week and seem to really enjoy it. Angelica has already made a friend and has gone horseback riding, has been to a young adult Bible study, and hung-out with some friends in Bend, OR... Fina is keeping busy by focusing on the kids their schedules and routines set and getting our home in order.

a couple of exciting things going on at Ascent Christian Church...

  • We are going to have our first baptism soon, once we find a place to have it (The issues of being a mobile church...).

ALSO

  • Ascent Christian Church is already involved in helping plant a new church in Sisters, OR and I am on the management team of this new work. As the new church plant in Sisters gets underway, I hope to share more about this in the future.

We are so thankful for every one of you! Your support both in prayers and financially are a huge encouragement to us! We couldn't do this without all of you and by the grace of our Father in heaven.

We are still in need of prayers and financial support, as we seek to bring the gospel to Central Oregon and the pacific northwest.20140119_105748

Ways to Partner With Us…

We’d love it if you partnered with us prayerfully and financially. If you want to know more about our new adventure—please read the full story here: We are moving to Oregon

We always need and appreciate your prayers! But we also have financial needs. Fina and I have to raise a portion of our salary. Our commitment to the church is to raise support for two years (That’s $1800 a month for two years—a total of $43,200).

You can help by…

Send financial contributions to:

Ascent Christian Church P O Box 2117 Prineville, OR 97754 Make checks payable to Ascent Christian Church… Please indicate on the check “Puentes Missions” so we can apply it to the correct account. (Your contribution is a tax deductible donation).

OR

Online giving is available: http://www.ascentcc.com/giving/ (Be sure to check the box - "I would like to designate this donation to a specific fund" AND select: “Help Pastor Joe Puentes & Family”).

Joe