Sunday December 20th, 2009

We'll be meeting at our house for the next two weeks. Same time - 11am. We'll have some food and coffee/tea/hot chocolate.

Next week (12/28/09) is our Post-Christmas Party Brunch. Bring something food to share and one white elephant gift (something of little to no value to you that you just know someone else will love -haha!) per person. Same time: 11am.

Happy Holidays! Hope everyone is enjoying break - missing many...most...ok...all of you!


Q's? buzz us or email!

Words to Consider

If you are generous with the hungry
and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out,
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness,
your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.
I will always show you where to go.
I'll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—
firm muscles, strong bones.
You'll be like a well-watered garden,
a gurgling spring that never runs dry.
You'll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,
rebuild the foundations from out of your past.
You'll be known as those who can fix anything,
restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate,
make the community livable again.

-Isaiah 58: 9-11, The Message

God, let us serve today in both word and action.
Free us to follow you, Jesus, to empty places.
Spirit, fill us to overflowing, to give without prejudice or expectation.
For Your Name.


Welcome to the fallout Welcome to resistance The tension is here The tension is here Between who you are and who you could be Between how it is and how it should be -Switchfoot, Dare You to Move
I remember when this song first came out. I remember my good friend having the words "welcome to resistance" on his t-shirt as he was starting a new campus ministry in Minnesota. I remember his courage and discouragement - strangely coexisting. I remember that tension.

Today I feel it. Today I know it.

This quarter has been absolutely life-changing and amazing for me. My classes have been particularly thoughtful and engaging. The people I've met help me see the world - it's enormity and abuse, it's intrigue and frailty. Practically every day I am affirmed in my call and purpose. I've started dreaming and reaching in ways I haven't in a long time. And I've begun to feel alive.

And at the same time, I've wanted to quit more times than I ever have. I've stood with nothing in my hands and felt completely hopeless and empty. I've cried. I've screamed. I've kicked. I've prayed. And I've asked God to send some sort of sign or word of encouragement - at times, only to be met with silence.

One moment I feel like anything is possible. And in the next I'm laying in bed resigning from ever doing anything ever again.

This, my friends, is the life of being a wife, mother, student, church planter, and missionary. This is the real deal challenge of trusting God when finances dwindle and frustration sets in. This is the place I find myself when I wish I could do more for my two beautiful children with learning disabilities. Have I chosen the wrong job? Did I make a bad decision? Am I making things more difficult than they need to be? These are the words I write and consider deleting because I don't want pity or quip-y responses. But this is the real struggle.

I feel like Isaiah when he wrote, "Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down!" Or like David when he sang, "my heart fails within me, be pleased oh Lord to save me, Oh Lord, come quickly to help me." I suppose, in this way, I am in good company.

Maybe redemption has stories to tell
Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell
Where can you run to escape from yourself?
Where you gonna go?
Where you gonna go?
Salvation is here

I need you Jesus. More than ever. Come, Emmanuel.


Sunday November 8th

We're in the Vanport Room again this week (SMSU 338)! Music starts at 11am - come early for muffins and coffee. This week we return to our study through the book of Acts. Paul will be teaching on Acts 15:1-21.

Childcare provided.

Wednesday Night And Reminders

Tonight is Lasagna Night! Food at 6pm, discussion at 7pm. We'll go deeper into the value of "reflection" discussing why and how we consider this crucial to our faith. Details on location at the blogspot!

Also, be sure to mark your calendars for the Habitat for Humanity project November 14th. Childcare will be available.

Q's? Send us a message through FB or email at!

November 1st: Reflection

This Sunday we are meeting in SMSU 338 (the Vanport Room) at 11am. We will finish our mini series covering the core values of our community with a teaching by Paul on "Reflection".

Come a little early for coffee and muffins. Childcare provided up to age 10.

Discipleship: Societal Resistance

Discipleship… Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” The idea of discipleship is, simply, that individuals are to be in a relationship in which they seek to grow in the Lord. Our society tells us that we don’t need discipleship because the individual has all the answers and if they need help they will seek it on their own terms.

Our culture is inundated with the thought of thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche who greatly challenges a Biblical perspective. Nietzsche summed up his thought when he wrote, “My idea is that every specific body strives to become master over all space and to extend it force (-- its will to power: ) and to thrust back all that resists its extension,” (The Will to Power, S. 636).

Is this idea not drowning our society? Our society tells us that we have to “get ours” because if we don’t someone will exploit or seek to control us. The obvious remedy, which Nietzsche guides us to, is to seek to both establish and extend ones power. This idea comes with the assumption that we have all of the power and knowledge that we need.

To accept that one has all power and knowledge is to reject our need for Christ because it is only through Christ that we have any standing before God. Yet, what does culture understand as essential for salvation? Popular culture tells us that we just need to be good people, but God tells us that we cannot go it on our own because God knows that we will falter.

God recognizes that we don’t have it all together, which is why Jesus commands that we make disciples and baptize them. If we had all the answers and all the power what need would we have for Christ? None.

This is our challenge in a culture that sees no need for God: to be humble before God and neighbor by accepting that we don’t have it all together intellectually, emotionally, or spiritually. Let us not be a false witness to the world because by putting up a façade we simply confirm what popular culture has already concluded: there is no need for God when we have it all together.

I would suggest that discipleship looks like a 12 step program; we must begin by acknowledging the area(s) in which we need growth. We all have issues, but we can only address them if we acknowledge them.

My name is Ray and I struggle with…

October's Sundays

For the rest of the month we will be meeting in room 333 in SMSU (SW Harrison and Broadway) at PSU. Parking is free along Broadway and in the parking structures. Look for our black A-frame signs!

Childcare up to age 10 is provided.

This week, October 11th, Paul will be talking about "Discipleship" - one of the core values of our community.

**Upcoming Events**
October 24th 9am-12pm - Nature Restoration at Tryon Creek Park. Come plant trees with us!
November 14th 8am-3pm - Habitat for Humanity project in SE Portland. More details to come.

"How ya doin', Jesus?"

I'm sitting here reading over The Shack by Wm. Paul Young for the umpteenth time tonight and seeing it in a way that I have never before. It has taken me back to a few weeks ago when Trenton, Paul and I went on a prayer hike and practiced silence. I talked to God that day, and He talked back. A new experience for me.

I felt Him telling me how to relate to this city I love so much: Portland. I felt Him saying that echoes of His glory are everywhere if we but allow Him to open our eyes to see Him working in those around us. I think about what Portland means to me, how people here are nothing if not passionate. Passionate about a lot of things that are close to the heart of God: social justice, environmentalism, philanthropy, humanitarianism... All of these things are a part of the heart of God as evidenced throughout Scripture. All of them are Jesus in people, whether they recognize it or not. These are ways that Jesus in them is manifest. Places where we, as followers of Christ, can share passion with them. Places where the Jesus in us can come forth, see that Jesus in them, and ask “How ya doin’, Jesus?”

In this way, by joining people where they are, in the parts of them that are most sensitive to the heart of God, we can speak life into them and see them transformed by first that aspect of Jesus in them, and then full, complete Jesus in them.
This challenges me to continually embrace the indwelling of Jesus in me and allow Him to move in me more freely to the point of utter unity (check out John 15, I feel like we’re actually invited into the same community as our amazing God shares through the Trinity). If anybody is guilty of being ashamed of the Gospel, I have been. Out of fear, I will often build a friendship based on the objective, scientific parts of my personality before I reveal the most important part of who I am: a follower of Christ. How terribly cowardly.

I cannot abide cowardice. Cowardice is what prohibits boys and girls from becoming men and women. Terrified of others, they go through life but never truly live, never love. They may never feel pain or rejection, but neither do they feel true Love or acceptance. All because they will not risk to offer freely of themselves and find themselves in Christ. When we can do this, we truly live. This will imbue us with the boldness necessary to truly love, to take risks, and to truly live.

All that being said, let’s try to embrace life and shed the blindness of mediocrity. Let’s cast off the cloaks that hide us, keep us from feeling, and “protect us” from all of the wondrous life there is to live. Let’s embrace who we are in Christ and let that Jesus in us out to meet the Jesus in others.

In solidarity,

Jon “Bear” Dempster


What an amazing week!

Leading up to today's launch, our core team worked extra hours putting the finishing touches on all the details of our first public service at PSU. We built and painted signs, posted flyers and left business cards, reserved rooms, assigned tasks, rehearsed the band, shopped all hours of the night, brewed coffee, printed bulletins, and prayed that God would connect us with students and the downtown-ers and use us to demonstrate his love for the people of Portland.

In spite of room reservation confusion upon arrival, we set up in record time and opened our doors - welcoming just over 70 people! We also had a number of people interested in small groups and future connections.

In the last couple of weeks we've also had an increase in financial gifts - which enabled us to apply and receive matching funds from the Church Multiplication Network.

Immense thanks to everyone on our launch team, our friends who came to support our launch event, the Oregon Ministry Network, and all of our friends and family who have been praying and supporting us.

God is amazing and transforming lives here in Portland. Love to you.


P.S. photos coming shortly.


hey everyone!

we are going public this sunday, september 27th! we will be worshiping together in room 327/328 of smith memorial student union at psu at 11am. come a little bit early for coffee and hang out time.

childcare is provided up to age 10.

see you there!


Wow! What a journey we are on! The last couple of weeks have been challenging but over the last few days I have been encouraged to give one thing at a time to God! This morning as I read I was reminded of the beginning days of the apostles.(Luke 5:11) These guys gave up everything to follow Jesus! These guys were after the heart of Christ and as I read this I was reminded of Phil Wickham's song, "After you Heart"

Can I have your attention
What are we starting here
Just look around you the answer is clear
Listen, listen
and hear the coming sound
All of the children are singing it loud

Let's be the revolution
That lives for hold nothing back, nothing back

We're after Your heart, after Your heart
All of the walls now are breaking apart
Live like we see it love like we mean it
This is the start we're after Your heart

Start the ascension
Begin the holy climb
Up to where heaven and the earth collide
Bring your affection
All that you have inside
Enter the kingdom and become alive

Love with no condition
It lives for holding nothing back, nothing back

Oh lets go higher and higher
Hear the song of the free
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Lift your soul join with the choir
Sing the song, let it ring
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

These words have become my prayer for OUR community that WE can collectively hold nothing back and go after Him with everything that is inside US! That we would leave all presumptions at the door, so that we can freely walk in Christ and go after His heart for this city!


Cannons (by Camy)

This morning I woke up at 7:36am. I thought, "Great. I'm up early enough to get the house cleaned, bills organized and maybe even go grocery shopping." For those of us who deal with depression, you know how quickly a good idea becomes a bad idea or how fast a moment of energy can fade into "maybe I'll just stay in bed". I grabbed my computer and logged onto to facebook as this is typically the first thing I do every morning. Scrolling through my homepage, I came across a post on the Grove's facebook page written by my friend Sunia. It was filled with a cry for Jesus stemming from emptiness and desperation. "Wow. This is exactly how I feel" I thought to myself so for that breif moment, I got out of bed and decided to start cleaning. Surely a clean house would make me feel better. I headed downstairs balancing my Bible, ipod docking station and blackberry in one hand. "Don't leave the phone behind," I thought, "I certainly don't want to miss a text message." I turned on Phil Wickham's "Cannons" and within the first notes, I was in tears.

I suddenly realized that I'm sad. I'm empty. I'm crying out for Jesus, but what am I asking Him for? Am I trusting that He knows my heart and my fears? Am I trusting that He knows what's best for me and when its best, or am I asking Him for something that I want and hoping that He'll say, "Ok, Camy. I can see you really need this to be happy so here you go." I'm pretty sure God doesn't work that way. In fact, I know God doesn't work that way. When I think about turning every burden over to Jesus, there is an overwhelming sense of freedom followed quickly by crippling fear because that means I'm no longer in control. The irony is, I'm never in control. Sure, I can decide to get up, clean, grocery shop, but what about the hard stuff? What about the fear of being alone after recently getting divorced? What about the emptiness that sweeps through my own home? I trust that Jesus will take care of me, but when? The answer is I don't know. Let me repeat that, I don't know. What would happen if I removed the "I" factor and settled on the fact that He knows? And when I reach those moments of sheer sadness, sheer lonliness, what if I turned to Jesus instead of facebook? Or opened my bible instead of sending a text message?

I could continue to ask myself a million questions, but here's the bottom line: If I first turn to God in moments of dispair and joy, He becomes my best friend. If I trust that only He can save me, that only He can fill this empty void in my heart, He becomes who I rely on. There is almost a skepticism in fully trusting Jesus because we can't see Him. I haven't physically heard Him say, "Camy, I know you're hurting but trust me and that hurt will subside." But if I look at the last several months of my life, how can I deny that He has been walking next to me through it all? I was at a crossroads when I got a divorce. I didn't know what I was going to do, or how to deal with the death of my marriage. He placed people in my life that encouraged me. People who barely knew me quickly became my family. I developed a relationship with Jesus for the first time in a long time, and I know He's always walking beside me. I am always in the presence of God. He is always speaking to me. He is continuously healing me. And with that, I need to open my heart, my ears, my eyes and continue to trust Him in all things.