neighboring

Being a faithful and generous church

ascentcc-old-logo I am pretty excited about something! So I'm sharing with you what happened to our Ascent family recently—God used us to be generous church!

Read the story below:

At our All-church meeting a few weeks ago, we expressed our desire and the necessity for us as a church family to expand our generosity with missions partnerships. We shared with all of you a couple of different ministry organizations that we would like to be generous towards—one of these partnerships was with YoungLife Prineville.

We had an opportunity to be generous toward YoungLife Prineville last week! What an incredible story we have to share with you! Last weekend, YoungLife Prineville was having a garage sale to help raise money for teens to attend summer camp. The Ascent had some old stuff from our yard sale from a few years back, which we didn’t sell, so we donated it to YoungLife for their garage sale. And we also made the decision to donate the old rickety trailer for them to sell. Well, they were able to sell the trailer for $500!

It gets even better.

Someone from the community said they would match whatever it was YoungLife Prineville made from the garage sale—so the $500 they made from our donation, ended up becoming $1000! Believe me that will send several teens to YoungLife camp, teens who need to know Jesus.

Thank you Ascent family for your heart of generosity and your desire to share the love of Jesus in any and every way possible! THIS is only the beginning of things to come.

 

I am so excited about this! Can you tell I'm excited?!?

One of our desires for The Ascent is to be a generous church. We are a small church with a big heart, but limited resources. Nevertheless, we hope to be a faithful church with everything God has given us to be stewards over.

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

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”).

Who would turndown a doughnut?

Photo Credit: Mupfel80 via Pixabay

Okay.

So. A couple of weeks ago, I started thinking about how I should disrupt my daily routine and intentionally take some time to love someone I am not relationally connected to or could benefit from in any selfish way.

My mind has been going full-speed thinking about what it means to truly follow the words of Jesus and love my neighbors. How can I have open eyes to the people around me?

I have been praying a lot about this:

 

If we want to share what Jesus has done in our lives with our neighbors, we need to be willing to intentionally disrupt our daily routine.

 

So I did it.

I was walking by a homeless man and I sensed God tell me to go to 7-eleven, and by him a cup of coffee and a doughnut.

I was hesitant because I had only a few dollars on me and that was all the money I had available to me. Or I should say the only cash that Fina was allowing me to carry around with me :)

The cash was suppose to be for my cup of coffee. What would I look like if arrived to a coffee meeting and couldn't afford a cup of coffee?

Well, I got over my selfishness and bought a coffee and doughnut for the homeless guy.

I thought fore-sure this dude was going to be overwhelmed with jubilation, because I was about to make his day...

Photo Credit: Hans via Pixabay

Guess what happened. The homeless guy refused my generosity, because it was not good enough for him. The man told me he didn't like 7-eleven doughnuts and coffee. Ultimately, cash is what he wanted—he told me so.

Afterwards, we carried on a conversation for a bit, then I went to my coffee meeting.

Here are a few things I learned from this:

- Not everything works out the way we think it should. Even when prompted by God to take action. - Rejection is hard. No matter who it comes from. - I learned that I can disrupt my daily routine. It's not that difficult.

- The homeless dude is the one who said hi to me when no one else did (See my blog post about this: That time when no one but a homeless man said hello to me…)

- Everyone has standards. - It's better to give and be rejected, than to do nothing. - 7-eleven coffee and doughnuts aren't really that good. Sorry 7-eleven.

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

Simpler = Richer Experience

Photo Credit: Charlie Foster, Unsplash  

"The simpler you make things, the richer the experience becomes." - Steve House (Alpinist/Mountain Guide)

I wonder why so many times I make things so complicated, especially relationships. Don't get me wrong, I know there is nothing simplistic about people and relationships. That's not the point I'm trying to make. What I'm thinking about is my response to the complexity in relationships.

I have moments when I want to avoid people and relationships and just retreat into my introverted-self and avoid the world. However, it is inevitable I will interact with people.

Like a lot of you, I have a tendency to make the complexity of relationships well, more complex. Some ways I do this—there are times I want avoid people, and I can react negatively to people who don't agree with me. Sometimes I only want to be with people I like, and I can have a tendency to unite with people who agree with me or hold a position that I hold. When I do these things, I create a tension that complicates things and is unnecessary.

I know I am painting myself as a bad person. If you know me then you know that I am a likeable guy. Most people genuinely like being around me and enjoy my company. I am just being honest with how I sometimes approach people and relationships... Not straight forward or simple, but with layers of complexity...

And because of the comlexity of layers I bring to the people in my life and relationships I am involved with, I can miss out on the richness of the experience of being around people.

 

Basic definition of Simple... 1sim·ple adjective \ˈsim-pəl\ : not hard to understand or do : having few parts : not complex or fancy : not special or unusual

Three Important Relationships To Jesus...

I heard this the other day and have blogged about it in the past. Jesus had three important relationships that he invested his time and energy into—His relationship with the Father, with the disciples, and with the least and lost.

We see this all throughout the gospels. Jesus was purposeful in letting people know they were important to him. In fact, when Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment his answer was people and relationships...

"One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:35-41)

People and relationships matter to Jesus and they should matter to me.

If I can allow my heart to be cultivated by the Holy Spirit to love Jesus and love like him; then my response to God, fellow sojouners, and people I'm not relationally connect to will be with love.

Loving people unconditionally and uninhibitedly is as simple as it gets. It doesn't mean its not hard, but it is definitely not complex. Seeing people for who they are and meeting them at the current state in life with unconditional and uninhibited love is simple. Having no unrealistic expectations or pretenses on people is liberating and fulfilling.

The simpler I approach and interact with people it is likely I will experience the richness of people and relationships.

Simpler = Richer Experience.