Bright Angel Camp Ground and Phantom Ranch

Filmed in our 2 days down by the river.  Phantom Ranch is an amazing place…and the mules are amusing.  The thunder and lightning are quite scary and mesmerizing at the bottom of the Canyon.

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Grand Canyon Backpacking Day 1

October 19, 2010…down South Kaibab trail to the River and Bright Angel Campground

A Year of Firsts

2010 has been an exciting year at Awestruck Church and in the Parrish family.  We have experienced many “firsts”.

Awestruck shared our first Communion time together and it was beautiful.

I got painted while I was preaching on Easter Sunday…that might be the first and last time

Awestruck became owners of property and a building

*The land was given to us free and clear.  That is the first time I’ve ever experienced that large of a gift.  God is amazing*

My son is officially  a first grader

Awestruck had it’s first Child Dedication Service

Awestruck hosted it’s first Bonfire and Campout

Awestruck had the fall festival on it own property

— We had ponies, and that was a first

This is the first year we participated in Staff Appreciation, because we actually have a stafff

We are doing our first Christmas Eve service this year

I’m sure there are many more “Firsts”, but these are the special ones that come to mind.  I can’t wait to see how some of these things blossom and grow in the future.

The More it Changes, the More it Stays the Same

We began Awestruck Church with a vision to create a Genuine Community of people formed around living life for Jesus and doing life together.  That’s it…nothing too fancy.  Our “church” exists for people to build a life changing relationship with Christ and life enhancing relationships with others.  Real people who refuse to play games and hide behind the mask of false perfection.

Our desire is not to simply have a church building and hope people come in and join us, but to inspire a culture of people who live out their faith every day.  A living representation of the life changing message of a God who loves us deeply.  The paradigm shifts from “coming in” to “Going Out”.

That was our dream when we began this adventure into Awestruck 3 years ago, and nothing has changed!  We are now the owner of almost 21 acres and a church building, but nothing has changed about our vision.

For our church the blessing of land and a building is just the beginning, not the end.  We see it as God’s provision for us to begin achieving new levels of the dream He gave a few years ago.  Having a permanent location is not the Finish line for our church, it is a whole new Startling line to the next level of what God has in store for our future.  It changes everything about the we function as a church.  We are moving from mobile to permanent.

But the more it Changes, the more it stays the same as far as our Vision is concerned.

“This is the stuff that happens to other churches…”

That’s exactly what I have been thinking for the last two months, but one of my leaders summarized exactly how I’ve been thinking and feeling with his statement.  He said, “This is the stuff that happens to other churches.  You know God can do it, but never expect it to happen to us.”  I’ve never doubted God’s ability, but perhaps questioned when, where and IF it could take place at Awestruck.

In August 2007 I sat with my pastor at CrossPoint Church (formerly Clifton Road)  and shared my dream of starting a new church.  We celebrated and prayed over what God was doing in my life and my ministry.  When he asked where we would meet i immediately answered, “We’ll end up wherever God decides to give us land”.  It flowed out of my mouth before I could even think about what I was saying.  I remember in that moment God whispered into my spirit and said “That was for you, hold onto it”.  For almost 3 years I have been believing and telling people that one day God would give us some land for our church when the time was right.

Just a few months later while going through church planter training we were asked to close our eyes and envision our church in the future.  Everyone in the room was willing to share what their church would look like and it all sounded great, but it sounded a lot like every other church I’d ever been to.  I politely declined sharing my vision to avoid being viewed as even stranger and crazier than they already presumed me to be.  🙂  What I saw was a huge place where families were spending time together.  It contained all kinds of fun and amusement type activities.  Dads were spending time with their kids.  Christ was being honored and people were growing closer to God by doing life together and enjoying themselves.  I don’t remember what our church building looked like?  I don’t even remember if I saw a building on the property?

Last night while walking the property with a good friend he said, “God gave you a clear vision, you held onto it, and now look what He is doing.”  I can promise you that I no longer believe that it’s the stuff that happens to other churches!  I don’t understand and I can’t explain why God has blessed Awestruck Church.  I do know “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”  (Hebrews 11:1)  He gave us clear direction and we have been vigilant about protecting it and walking it out.  Always trusting that we were on the right path, even when it didn’t make sense.  Especially when it didn’t make sense to the critics and doubters.

What is the vision God has given you?

How committed are you to walking it out despite the consequences?

Awestruck Church is getting a new home…

Many are asking how and where, and when, and every other question possible about the new home of Awestruck Church.  Let me first say that we will be moving our church to 20.6 acres located at 5840 Butler Rd.  (Click it to see the Google map) but I’m not sure when the official move will take place.  I can promise you it will be as soon as possible.  I am excited and I am slightly impatient.

Next let me explain how all this came to be.  The obvious first statement is God is in control and He has orchestrated this whole deal.  I am nothing but humbled and overwhelmed in this process.  This wasn’t something we went searching for, but God has taken His plan and collided it directly into the path of our church.  We can’t wait to see what else God has in store for our future.

On May 20th (exactly 2 months from the day it became official) we were driving to Boone, NC for me to do a wedding.  I normally don’t answer phone calls from people whose number I don’t recognize, that’s why God created Voice Mail, but for some reason I picked up the phone on that night.  The voice on the other end introduced himself and then asked, “If your church had a lot of land and a small building, could you do something with it?”.  I simply answered “Yes” and then the questions began to flow.  How will you use it?  How does it fit the vision of the church?  What sorts of things would you do with it?

After about 20 minutes of talking I stopped him and said that we’d love to have land, but there was no way our church could afford to buy that much property right now.  And that’s when things got interesting.  His response was, (laughter) “We are not trying to sell it.  We are looking to give it away to the right ministry”.  We finished our conversation with pleasantries and talks of future meetings to discuss details.  I found it hard to even catch my breath and wrap my mind around the gigantic size of what had just taken place.  The next few weeks were filled with frequent meetings and phone calls with 2 of the 3 folks that would be voting to give us the land.  Then almost a month of SILENCE!  Nothing!  No contact at all!

The silence was broken late last week when I was informed the official vote was taking place on July 20th.

Here we are on July 21, 2010 and it’s official!  There are papers to be signed and some legal details, but the vote passed 3-0.  A unanimous vote of unity to donate all the property, building, and remaining possessions to Awestruck Church.  To top it all off they are also writing a check for $16,000 to help us get started with renovations!?!?!

How do I feel about all this?  I am a bit numb and completely overwhelmed.  I am more humbled by the power of God than ever before in my life.  I am emotional and have shed many tears of joy.  I am blown away that God has taken that much interest in our little 2 year old church plant.

I am sooooooooooooooo pumped about what all God has in store for our future.  This land fits perfectly into the the vision God has given me for Awestruck church.  It also is an answer to something I have been believing for the past 3 years.  Stay tuned for more info on that in a later post.  This one has become way to long!

God is amazing and I promise you that the Best is Yet to Come!

No longer M.I.A.

1.  It’s been a long time since I posted anything on this blog.  It’s actually been a long time since I’ve even looked at this blog.  (I almost forgot my password to log in?)

2.  True Fact: 99.9 % of the people in the world did not notice of care that I haven’t posted in a long time.  🙂

3.  I plan to start using this blog again as an outlet for my thoughts and to communicate to all 3 of you who read this on a regular basis.  (my wife and mom are 2 of the 3)

4.  And now to the more important stuff…………………..

5.  Awestruck Church is now on iTunes and even has it’s own Blog!  You can subscibe and even download the sermons to MP3 player.

6.  True Fact:  I might be the only person that finds that impressive, but I think we are pretty fancy for having our stuff on iTunes.  Big thanks to This Guy for hooking it up!

7.  Our friends at His Scars to Our Scars have a new website and some cool events coming up.  You should definitely check them out on their Calendar Page.

8.  Tyler Ricketts’ (Awestruck Church’s Worship Pastor) new band Runaway City has a super huge new CD release party coming up and you should be there!

9.  You can buy their new CD here…or Best Buy…or FYE…or anywhere that sells quality music

10.  Awestruck Church has some HUGE news coming soon (like 21 acres huge) and I’ll be sharing more about that in a later post

*thanks to my mom for reading my blog 🙂 *