Hey Discovery Church fam! Just wanted to update you guys on our epic LA trip. I believe Steve will also be posting this on his blog as well! First and foremost, I want to thank you guys for your prayers. We had a little trouble getting out of Phoenix but overall we made it safe and sound.
As you can see in one of the pictures because I look so dangerous and thuggish they pulled me away for a private security check which took an extra 30 minutes. After realizing we weren’t terrorists, we managed to get through. However, before checking our gate… (which we should of done) we decided to feast. As you know airports are a little pricey so you usually want to limit your purchases. We take our time and fellowship for a while and then decide to head to our gate.
As we arrive at our gate we find out our flight has been delayed an hour and a half! This was a little frustrating just because the Chi Alpha leadership team was expecting Pastor Steve to speak to them that evening. So of course we decide to spend our time getting coffee and brownies. At this point we have probably spent more money on food at the airport then our actual flights! Finally, after more snacking we board our plane and courtesy of my disability we get the front seats with extra leg room. Of course I take the window and give Steve the middle seat.
After a smooth flight out of Phoenix we land in LA and meet up with this super rad guy named Mitch. Mitch drives like a true Californian and takes us fast and furious style to our destination. We arrive at a Christian missions center across the street from UCLA and Steve and I meet all of the leaders and of course the legend Winston Bui.
Winston heads up the UCLA Chi Alpha group and loves college football almost as much as he loves Jesus. And he really loves Jesus!! Out of the kindness of his heart Winston takes us out to the Soup Plantation with all of his leaders.
This place has some BOMB food and the worst part about it is it’s a buffet. As you know, food is an essential to Pastor Steve and I, so we chow down!! It was refreshing to hear all of their stories and to talk with them. Each one of these leaders have fully devoted their entires lives to Jesus and will make any sacrifice needed. After dinner our crazy driver Mitch and his wife took us back to our hotel room. Thankfully his wife was driving this time. We check in to our rooms and pass out quickly from our food comas. Old man Steve wakes up at the bum crack of dawn and young whippersnapper Andrew sleeps in way too late the next morning. (Typical) Steve decides to explore the beautiful botanical gardens at UCLA that morning while I’m still back at the room pumping out the Z’s.
Around 11 am Mitch picks us up and we go to Fox Studios.
We meet up with our friend Tim that we met the night before at dinner for a private tour of the place. Tim has been working at Fox studios for 8 years and he was able to show us all around the grounds.
We explored sets of Bones, American Horror Story, and Modern Family. Shows neither of us have seen, but we really enjoyed seeing behind the scenes! A very cool experience. We also cruised by the Fox Sports 1 building. (Ya that’s right Matthew Simpson)
After exploring for a few hours we head back to the room and Steve and I swap this time. He takes a nap and I explore the city. After my adventure and Steve’s power nap we head to the Chi Alpha building where we prepare to speak. After everyone arrives we engage in some student led worship. We could tell that the Holy Spirit was invited in this place and that he resides within this amazing group of students! After a powerful time praising God, Winston invites Steve up and Steve begins to share about US/Discovery church! He talks about his vision and what God has been doing in our lives. He explains that we explore, trek, hike, bike, climb, swim, roast marshmallows, camp, EAT, repel, adventure, and GET OUTSIDE… So God can get INSIDE.
Shortly after, he invites me up and I share my story with the students. I definitely felt God speaking through me and I continue to pray that he uses what I said to impact those students. After I shared the story that most of you have heard, Steve finishes it off and talks about having no limits. He tells a story about how he was extremely parched hiking in the canyon with his daughter and he asked for the river to be turned into blue Gatorade. Sure enough he finds a bottle of blue Gatorade behind a rock. Super crazy how God works!!
We both talked about so much more but those are some of the highlights. After service we all fellowship, eat more food and have multiple arm wrestling competitions! After the amazing service we head back to the hotel room where Steve passes out in minutes.
The next morning we head on our ways and thank God for such an Indescribable trip to the city. Thank you so much Discovery Church for praying for us on this Journey. Love you guys!
Here are a few more pics of our trip to UCLA.
Here are the notes on Matt’s recent message called “DIRT”.
- Intro: Genesis 2:7
- –God Formed Man (Adam) out of dirt from the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of Life. The man was alive, a living soul. (MSG)
- God made us out of dirt. You are a pile of dirt. (Glad you came?)
- Isaac camping—Dirt from head to toe in .6 seconds. If I told Isaac he was made from dirt he would have no trouble with that. Would you?
- Did God make you out of dirt? If so why?
- Science & History
- Identical chemical and mineral make up as dirt
- NASA, studying the origins of life discovered that life on earth might have gotten its start in clay.
- Clay attracts proteins and DNA and has the ability to form them into chains. Those chains are the beginning of life.
- The name “Adam” translates in several languages as “ruddy clay” or “red clay”.
- When someone dies and is buried they turn back to dirt.
- DIRT With a Purpose
- Why would God choose dirt? Out of all the substances on Earth he chose…DIRT. He had a purpose.
- First, we are a unique blend of earthly/natural material, and the life-giving power of God.
- Everything else God created He SPOKE into existence. However, when He formed man, He put his hands into the dirt and then breathed life into us.
- Highlights the value of human life—Why Would God create us in such a way if He didn’t ultimately have a plan and purpose for our lives
- DIRT Knows its Place
- Dirt gets a bad rap. “dirt cheap”, “dirt poor”, “old as dirt”. If you have the “dirt” on someone it’s never a good thing.
- The word “dirt” in several different languages actually translates to “excrement”. Adam-Rude
- Highlights our own fragility and utter dependence upon God.
- Without life giving breathe of God we are just a pile of dirt.
- Shifts our focus to what really matters in us; What makes us special, the dirt or the breath of God living in the dirt? What makes us special is not us but God living in us.
- 2nd Corinthians 4:7 says “But we have this treasure in jars of CLAY, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” (ESV)
- It’s great to know that we serve a God who paves His street with gold but adopts dirt as his sons and daughters!
- Constant Contact
- Scribbles to Art Video
- Jeremiah 18:1-6 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. 4 And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.
- God’s object lesson. Not a mountain, desert, burning bush. A Potter’s
- God’s work was not done with Adam, he was just getting started.
- God’s desire is to constantly rework, reshape us if we’ll let him.
- My story; “God never stopped loving you!”
- Give God your dirt, hand over your scribbles-your best effort and watch him turn your life into a living work of art. A reflection of God’s grace, mercy and love. That’s our true purpose; to reflect the God who made us.
- What does it look like to have God’s finger prints all over our lives?
- Repent. Turn from our dirt and scribbles to give them to God.
- Relinquish control; Even if it hurts. Because God writes a much better story, he fashions a much more useful and beautiful vessel.
- Receive what God has for you even if it is unknown and scary. Because the God that breathed life into your dirt desires a relationship with you
- If you don’t know God but want to talk to us in the back
- If you do know God but have been holding on to your dirt and scribbles lets pray that you will begin to let God in and transform you from the inside out!
If you are a pastor, you might really appreciate my guest blogger David Crabtree’s recent gift to our pastoral tribe.
Sunday is, without question, the greatest day of the week for the preacher, at least, this preacher. It is the weekly gathering – a great “coming to the house” – corporate worship – “ecclesia” (called out and together). I love Sunday. I live Sunday. At 9:00 and 10:45 the joy, the art, the quest, the war of preaching is mine again, and for a few moments I move in the pure air of calling. The message delivered is a release – a relief – joy. Changed lives create an ever-new wonder, and even if the changes are not immediately evident, faith carries the hour, and it is well with my soul. I love to preach – it’s blue skies and sunshine for me.
By Sunday afternoon familiar clouds take shape. The first is fatigue, reminding me that I am not so young anymore. Weariness is followed by a cumulous gathering of self doubt – thickening – darkening, until the small irritants of the day begin to take on weight and the rain begins to fall. The man who, only that morning, walked so confidently to the pulpit, so sure, so free, falls into second guessing. Slights are magnified, fears are nourished, evidence of good is washed away as a regretted phrase, a fumbled point, a distraction or two – or five – or ten are suddenly remembered and rehearsed. On Sunday afternoon, about three o’clock, I often feel feel more like Elijah on the bad side of Mt. Carmel than the guy who called down fire and rain.
I fight it – I invoke the “whatsoevers” of Philippians 4:8. I remind myself that it’s not my performance that makes the difference. I do a half-dozen re-boots in my mind and push back hard… but I’m tired and drained… and I called that woman by the wrong name again… and the sound wasn’t quite right… and the guy half-way back kept me in a hostile stare… and in a quiet moment a baby went off… and… and… 3:00 on Sunday afternoon is a vulnerable place and time. It must be a busy time in hell with so many preachers to discourage, so much seed to snatch away before it takes root.
The biographies of the great preachers console me with the knowledge that my peculiar battle is not so peculiar (Spurgeon and Luther come immediately to mind). Monday’s play list is often the blues for preachers. I’ve also been at this long enough to know that it comes to pass – not to stay. After the Monday mess is cleared away and all the meetings have been met, Tuesday finds me at early morning prayer, and there is a stirring… a text… a sunrise over a fresh biblical landscape and a gentle wind whispers, “Sunday’s coming”… my soul smiles and my heart skips a beat.
I’m reminded that you can’t have glorious mountains without a few deep valleys – the most glorious sunshine will turn your life into a desert without a little rain.