HOPE Nicaragua

Written by OC Disciples on . Posted in Church Update, Missions

Our Family’s HOPE Trip to Nicaragua

4.19.14 PhotoHola Hermanos y Hermanas!

For several years I have been dreaming of going to Latin America to serve on a CSB (medical brigade). I finally got the opportunity last week to serve in Managua, Nicaragua. It is so hard to express in just a few words what it was like. Not only did God bless me with this dream come true but he gave me a bonus by sending my husband and two teens as well. The people of Nicaragua are the most loving, kind, and generous I have ever met in my life. From the moment we arrived till the moment we left they poured out there hearts to us all. I really did not want to leave and my kids were really sad when they woke up after the brigade was over and wished there was another day to go out and be with the people (despite the 3 large earthquakes and hot conditions)….It just goes to show love conquers all. Jesus was present every corner we turned. Thank you Nicaragua for your out pouring of love… The Gasparians will be back!

– Jen Gasparian

2014 Catalyst Retreat

Written by Jamie Deno on . Posted in Church Update, Events

2014 Catalyst Retreat

Singles2014The 2014 Catalyst Singles retreat was an overwhelming success! Over 640 singles from the Greater Los Angeles area, Orange County, San Diego, Las Vegas, Arizona and many other churches came together in San Diego from March 7-9. The retreat’s theme “Catching Fire” focused on helping singles to catch a fire for God and catch a fire for the church.

The event started off on Friday night with a Hunger Games improv activity coordinated by the Turning Point ministry and ended with an inspiring message from our guest speakers, Elias and Rachel Deleault from Ashland, Oregon. Saturday started off with a morning quiet time, then men/women separate lessons, and then breakout classes taught by singles and some by ministry staff. There was a long fellowship break for lunch and dinner and activities in and around beautiful San Diego. Saturday night kicked off with a spirit-led worship night featuring many meaningful songs, spoken word performances, videos, and a testimony. The night was not complete without some speed-dating and a dance with DJ Joe Villasenor. The Sunday service was overflowing with retreat goers, more disciples from the San Diego church, and friends we had met along the way. Chairs were set up in the foyer because we exceeded the capacity of the facility!

“This was my first time attending and I can’t wait for next year. It was so inspiring, encouraging and spiritually uplifting!” – Catalyst Survey result

God definitely moved mountains to make this retreat a success (and for some…they are thankful we were not actually “in” the mountains this year!). Four weeks before the retreat, less than 100 people were signed up to attend. The committee prayed for God to move in the hearts of the singles and for the registration to exceed 300. By the time online registration ended, over 470 people had registered. And then another 170 people walked in and signed up on-site!

The Catalyst retreat started 6 years ago as an informal get-away for the Coastal and Orange County ministries in the LAICC. Over the last few years, other ministries were invited and eventually the retreat outgrew the original location. Who knows how we are going to top that for 2015? God always finds a way!

Teen Winter Retreat

Written by Ryan Weekley on . Posted in Church Update, Events, Reporting

Teen Winter Retreat

Winter Camp 2014Last month during President’s Day Weekend, over 20 students from our Teen Ministry traveled to Winter Camp 2014. The theme of this year’s camp was “Catching Fire,” a theme created to inspire our kids to be passionate and on fire in their relationships with God. Through various lessons, classes, activities, small groups and a ton of fellowship with counselors and other students, our Orange County Teens felt very encouraged and inspired to move forward in their personal walks with God!

There were three main segments of the “Catching Fire” theme – “A Symbol of Hope,” “A Greater Purpose,” and “The Revolution.” Each of these lessons inspired the students to look beyond the world around them and see the spiritual battle that’s before them. These lessons were followed by small groups, which gave the students a chance to discuss the material and how to practically apply it to their own lives. On top of the lesson material, the students met and bonded with kids from all over the Southwest, including teens from Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix and Las Vegas to name a few.

Furthermore, a couple of our kids received sponsorship this year in order to attend, and we want to thank those who provided the funds which allowed these kids to take part in camp. Our youth ministry is very grateful to be a part of a church family that truly loves and looks out for one another. Please keep our students in your prayers and we know that this amazing camp experience will turn into lasting conviction in many our students lives!

2014 MLK Day Report

Written by Ryan Weekley on . Posted in Church Update

HOPEww2014 MLK Day Report

Our OC volunteers served in a variety of ways throughout the Weekend of Service. Our projects for this year included the following: Love Community Outreach, a trip to Tecate, MX, Operation Feed the Homeless in Santa Ana, another feeding the homeless program in Newport, Think Together – Book Doctors, Grandma’s House of Hope, Veterans First, the Orange County Food Bank, and a blood drive with the American Red Cross.

mlk photo1mlk photo 2We are very proud of our members for giving up their time, their energy, and their hearts to serve those who are less fortunate. God calls us to look after “the least of these,” and we’re confident that our efforts during the Weekend of Service will help many in the areas we served. We also want to encourage everyone involved to keep it up! Continue to find ways to serve those in need through our church programs, Non-Profit projects, and by meeting simple needs you and your family notice from week to week. Thank you again for your hearts for the poor and willingness to serve, and we hope to see all of our volunteers again next year in 2015!

Reflecting Back and Looking Ahead

Written by Kevin Mains on . Posted in Church Update

Reflecting Back and Looking Ahead

God at WorkAs we finish 2013 and look forward towards 2014, it is a great time to reflect and to dream. As we look back over 2013, what were your greatest victories in your spiritual character? How did you see God work in your life and in your family’s life? (John 5:17, Romans 8:28, Acts 17:24-27) The Bible tells us that God is always working and that He is working for our good. The Bible also tells us that God orchestrates the coming and going of people and situations in our lives to help us seek Him and find Him. Since all of this is true, it is important for us to reflect and to be able to see God’s hand working in our lives. As we do this, our faith will grow and our appreciation for God will grow. Even as we reflect on the difficult times we will be able to see how God was molding us and rescuing us. What lessons has God taught you this past year? How have you seen God work in each of your family member’s lives? What opportunities has God opened up for you? How has God blessed you?

“Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.” Psalms 40:5

This is a wonderful Psalm of David. On one hand, David is looking back and recounting all of the wonderful things that God has done in his life in the past. As David does this, it produces in him a faithful attitude about what God will do for him in the future. As you think of all the ways that God has been with you and blessed you in 2013, it will give you great faith and anticipation as you look towards 2014. David is so full of faith about the future that he says if God would have the opportunity to sit down and tell you all that He has planned for you, you couldn’t handle it, it would be just too much. Wow, what a wonderful way to think and to feel about your past and your future.

Some of us may feel that we had a hard year in 2013 and it may be difficult to find God’s handiwork in our lives. One of the greatest examples of a faithful attitude in the Bible is the apostle Paul. As Paul writes the letter to the Philippians he is in a dark prison not knowing how long it will be before he is executed. However, as you read his letter, he is so faithful and grateful about all that God has done and all that God is doing and will do. Twice he is encouraging the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord ( Phil 3:1, Phil 4:4). How was Paul able to have such a faithful spirit when his situation was so dark and hopeless? Paul knew that God was good, that God was working and that God would take him to heaven. Because of these things he trained himself to focus on God and all He was doing and not on the situational problems he was facing. (Phil 1:6, Phil1:21, Phil 4:8)

We see Paul’s faithful attitude about the future when He says,

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14

Encouraging next steps

  • Make a List of all the ways you have seen God bless you in 2013
  • Make a list of all that you are spiritually looking forward to in 2014

Youth and Family Conference Report

Written by OC Disciples on . Posted in Church Update, Reporting

Youth and Family Conference Report

YFConferenceThe New York City Church of Christ hosted “A City On A Hill,” the 2013 International Conference for Youth & Family Ministry (ICYFM). It was September 13-14 in Brooklyn, New York. The Conference was followed by an inspirational Worship Service on Sunday, September 15, entitled “Light of the World”. Over 5000 people came together to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the NYC Church of Christ.
If you would like to listen to some of the lessons on-line, please click this link: ICYFM Messages

It was a great time of teaching about how to help our youth be connected to Christ and to their families. I’m so grateful for the lessons we can learn – especially when they are shared from the perspective experience. I know I make so many mistakes as a mom, it is encouraging to hear children share about the things their parents did that helped them fall in love with God (a big part being able to see their parents model the behavior of making mistakes, being humble and apologizing).