Username
Password
Forgot Password? Sign Up
Journey:Connect
Ed's Blog

Meet Our New Pastors

by Journey Community Church on September 19, 2014 · 2 comments

Erik and Kristy Dees2

We are excited to introduce two new pastors who will lead and develop our College and Young Adult Ministry! Erik and Kristy Dees recently relocated from Iowa to join our team and are each bringing unique gifts and leadership experience to Journey. Erik is Pastor to Young Adults / Director of Leadership Development and Volunteer Engagement. Kristy is Pastor to College Students and College Age Adults.

Read more about them in their stories below.

Erik Dees

I was born in Ojai, California but my parents eventually landed in Northern Colorado, where I was raised. I am the youngest of three boys. My mom made a serious commitment to Christ around the time I was born in Ojai. In time, my dad drifted from his faith and into alcohol and tensions grew in our home. My parents divorced when I was 13. The divorce was difficult for me and so I clung to bad friends and a “party lifestyle” to cope with the pain at home.

After high school, I landed a great job at a local Wal-Mart Logistics Facility. Eventually, Wal-Mart opened a new facility outside of Phoenix and I transferred there along with my live-in girlfriend. I did very well in my job and began to receive promotions and moved up into management positions. While this was happening, my personal life was unraveling with my girlfriend, who gave birth to our daughter, Lindsey, in 1994. I ended up moving out shortly after my daughter’s birth. I continued in my party lifestyle but visited my daughter when I could.

One night while sitting in a bar in Phoenix, I had a radical epiphany. I found myself incredibly lonely in the midst of my normal crowd and recognized the shallowness of my life. That night I decided that I would go to a church the next Sunday with my roommate. I attended Phoenix First Assembly and there encountered God for the first time. As soon as the music played, I was overwhelmed with the presence of God. I was severely convicted and could not come to down to the altar fast enough to give my heart to Him. That spring of 1995, I experienced the grace and forgiveness of God. I have never been the same.

As a new Christian, I decided that I needed to become a real father to my now one-year- old daughter. I asked God to let me raise my daughter because her mother was continuing to participate in the drug and party lifestyle. Through a miraculous story (for another time), I ended up with full custody of my daughter, without any legal action needed. God allowed me to raise her and also began to give me opportunities to serve in my local church.

My career eventually landed me at Wal-Mart’s corporate offices in AR in late 2002. I loved my corporate job and expected to continue at Wal-Mart for a 20-year career, followed by establishing my own training/consulting business. I was always very active in the church as a volunteer leader, but never planned to work in the church.

Through yet another miraculous God story, I found my wife in 2007 and we married in 2008. In late 2007, I became increasingly unsettled with my life’s plan and began to pray again about my future direction. Through some God conversations, I began to sense a possible call to ministry. Doors began to open for me and I took on more and more responsibility as a teacher in our local church. I started online classes to pursue a ministry degree and my father-in-law asked me to consider leaving Wal-Mart to serve in full-time ministry alongside him, as he was feeling called back to his previous church in Iowa.

I accepted that call and have been in ministry in Iowa since 2009. I completed my B.A. in Bible and Theology and am currently attending Bethel Seminary for my M.A. in Transformational Leadership, with plans to then complete a D.Min in Christian Leadership practice.

Kristy Dees

I was born in Duluth, MN. I grew up with two brothers and my memories of early childhood are happy and filled with family activities and sports. We lived all over the Midwest, due to my father’s jobs in full-time ministry and education. I gave my heart to Jesus at around six years old and was the “model” church child growing up, complete with Bible quiz trophies and OCD need to please my parents and all my fishbowl watchers. I vividly remember standing on my porch deck in the middle of the night at age 16, asking God if this was it, if this was what it meant to be a Christian, and recognizing that what was real to my parents was only hitting surface level with me, despite my best efforts.

I went to ORU in Tulsa to study psychology, as they offered me the most scholarships and my older brother was also attending there.  At this point, I decided that I was going to be an atheist.  I have always had a high need for authenticity and my faith did not feel authentic so I scrapped it.  I told God that if He was real; He would need to prove it to me. I kept a folder with any evidence or experiences for/against the reality of God.  After it became overwhelmingly apparent to me that there must be a God, I then focused on exploring all sorts of religions and types of gods, not wanting to believe in Jesus because that is the God my parents chose. Out of all the gods I tried to search for, Jesus was the only one who showed up.  At that point, I began to experience the presence of God in a way that changed the deepest parts of me.  I was 100% in.

Ministry from that point on was really all I wanted to do, although I don’t know that I recognized it as my “calling” until much later.  I started going on short term trips all over the world through my school and church: Guyana, Mexico, Australia, Spain, Greece, Italy, Guatemala etc. There I found God placing in my heart His strong compassion for the suffering, vulnerable, and wounded.  I worked as a community outreach coordinator at ORU, recruiting and organizing collegiates to mobilize for city outreach, including leading homeless ministries, tutoring for at-risk students, children’s hospital visitation, retirement home lunch ministry and neighborhood park outreaches.

I then moved to California and began working at a group home for teenage girls who were sexually abused by family members. I started working at Journey and kept both jobs throughout my next couple years in CA. God then opened doors for me to pursue full-time missions through Africa Inland Mission.  I accepted a permanent position in Angola, which would focus on teaching in orphanages recently established after the civil war and youth leadership training. I moved to Brazil to learn Portuguese and then lived in Kuito, Angola for about two years. While in Angola, I taught at both the city and church orphanages, developed leadership camps and events for Angolan youth, started a VBS for street kids in Kuito, and developed and provided training for the teachers at the orphanage to learn and use templates to teach Bible lessons.

This is getting really long (sorry, long life), so I will skip the story of how I was road blocked from returning to Angola after my two year visa expired. I was struggling with depression during this time, both from what seemed like the loss of my calling and the loss of my brother, who was killed in a car accident along with his wife. God brought along my husband and step-daughter about this time and Erik and I were married in 2008. I was working as the community outreach coordinator for Youth Bridge, which was the non-profit who ran all of the youth shelters and behavioral services for NW Arkansas.

Then, we moved to Iowa as Erik accepted the youth pastor position at Faith Assembly.  I worked as a case manager with families experiencing abuse, establishing goals with them and providing supportive services. Most of my 5 years in Iowa I was working for the state of Iowa, including facilitation and creation of their employment readiness classes and a year as a child abuse social worker. Last year, I finished licensing classes through our denomination and am currently credentialed as a minister with the Assemblies of God. I will complete my M.A. in Education/School Counseling through Buena Vista University around Dec. 2015.

And now, I am super excited about a new season of life and ministry at Journey! That’s me!

{ 2 comments }

MOMENTUM, Everywhere and The Weekend that Was

by Ed Noble on August 25, 2014 · 0 comments

_DAN2123

This passage has become a living word for us at Journey.

This quote from the great Frank Laubach was so on the money:

“God, I want to give You every minute of this year. I shall try to keep You in mind every moment of my waking hours….I shall try to let You be the speaker and direct every word. I shall try to let You direct my acts. I shall try to learn Your language.”

 

Communion is always awesome!

_DAN2175

_DAN2188

_DAN2159

I will post the video of Bill Johnson that I showed on Facebook.

 

 

{ 0 comments }

MOMENTUM, QUIET TIME & the Weekend that Was

by Ed Noble on August 13, 2014 · 1 comment

_DAN2000

This weekend was week 2 of our Series MOMENTUM. Our verse is

Zech. 4:6 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts.

A huge momentum building “SPIRITUAL PRACTICE” that goes under the title QUIET TIME.

For those of you who are new to this whole discipline here’s super simple 20 MINUTE QUIET TIME PLAN.

SUPER SIMPLE 20 Minute Quiet Time Plan

1 min QUIET – Be silent & open yourself up to God’s Spirit

4 min READ – Read 5-20 Verses of the Bible slowly

4 min REFLECT – Pick on verse, phrase or word that “speaks” to you

5 min PRAY – Speak to God (feel free to take more than 5 minutes)

5 min Journal – write down some of the things that just happened

* Allow time to develop a new habit, learning curve and even pushback from “Evil”

Here are a few pics.

_DAN1984

_DAN1988

_DAN2030

_DAN2027

 

{ 1 comment }

John Lynch

by Journey Community Church on July 13, 2014 · 2 comments

Quotes and notes from John Lynch’s message on July 11 & 13. Check out his latest book On My Worst Day: Cheesecake, Evil, Sandy Koufax, and Jesus online or in the Twice Treasured Thrift Store.

Listen to the podcast: Message from July 11 & 13

John Lynch Message Slides 07111314.001

John Lynch Message Slides 07111314.002John Lynch Message Slides 07111314.003John Lynch Message Slides 07111314.004John Lynch Message Slides 07111314.005

John Lynch Message Slides 07111314.006John Lynch Message Slides 07111314.007John Lynch Message Slides 07111314.008

{ 2 comments }

MARRIED COUPLES RETREAT

by Ed Noble on July 1, 2014 · 1 comment

What an amazing weekend at the Journey Married Couples Retreat. I love the opportunity to spend some extended time with lots of Journey peeps.

_DAN0896

_DAN1245

_DAN1223

 

_DAN1027

The best thing for me this weekend was how real and authentic people got from the get go!

_DAN0992

_DAN0995

 

Best of all GOD SHOWED UP! It’s so critical for us to cast God’s vision for marriage as the sacrament, the sign, the pointer of the great mystery of Christ and the Church!

_DAN1212

_DAN1215

_DAN1226

 

 

{ 1 comment }

_DAN0768

Sometimes you got to have some fun! So this week, God at the Movies landed on the massive Disney picture, FROZEN. There’s something very “Gospel-like” with what they did with the idea that one is saved, hearts are melted, winter is ended, the great thaw and restoration happens through an ACT OF TRUE LOVE.

1John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

We explored how love, real love heals our wounds. How to get the right love script, the right love idea and the right context of love (Faith, Hope and Love).

And of course we had an incredible version of the song, Let It Go…

_DAN0700

_DAN0692

And of course we had a Shaved Ice food truck -

_DAN0744

_DAN0758

_DAN0755

Fun weekend!

 

{ 0 comments }

IRON MAN 3 and the Weekend that Was

by Ed Noble on June 17, 2014 · 0 comments

_DAN0633

Journey’s signature series God At The Movies featured Iron Man 3 this weekend.

_DAN0638

We also had a little fun for the dad’s:

We raffled off a BBQ in each service and for those who didn’t win, there was an areal assault of t-shirts with Phil’s BBQ gift cards. Nothing says worship like…

_DAN0614

And even before you came in we had breakfast ready for you guys. Apparently it’s about the food.

_DAN0657

_DAN0664

_DAN0666

_DAN0673

_DAN0676

 

{ 0 comments }

BIG BEACH BAPTISM

by Ed Noble on June 11, 2014 · 0 comments

I say it. It’s my favorite day of the year… along with our fall Big Beach Baptism. It’s definitely one of our “THIS is Church” moments. I love the stories represented, the unbridled joy, the presence of the Holy Spirit as words and prayers are spoken over people identifying with Jesus.

Here are some pics!

_DAN0193

 

 

_DAN0203

_DAN0255_DAN0283

_DAN0289_DAN0295

{ 0 comments }

My friend April King wrote me a note giving me her thoughts on the film that we looked at for God at the movies last weekend, Philomena. I asked her if we could use it on the blog site because I think it’s excellent and for you Journey people it is a great take and application of Journey DNA.

Here you go and thanks to April.

Ed,

Tic and I were having a discussion about why our programming team picked certain movies for the “God at the Movies” series. I was explaining why I thought Philomena was a perfect pick for our church. Not only was this movie an intriguing true story told well, but it seemed to illustrate concepts from Blue Ocean Faith-ways of trusting and responding to God that you have been teaching our people this past year. I went on to explain the connections I saw to Tic. He asked me to write down my thoughts and send them to you. Here are a few of them:

 

Blue Ocean Faith speaks of “the centered-set movement” where Jesus is at the center; and what is most important is the direction we are heading–toward Jesus or away from him. Even those who appear to be closer to him can actually be moving away from him. (This was especially true of the older nun in the Philomena story, who was full of self-righteousness judgment -unwilling to give mercy-so far from the heart of Jesus.) Concurrently, some that appear far off (like the journalist) can actually be moving in the direction of Jesus, because they are asking and wrestling with the questions of faith. Then there are those like Philomena who keep moving steadfastly toward Jesus. In spite of the hurts and losses in her life, undeterred by the cynicism and callousness of those whose words warred against the concept that God is truly good, she simply and stubbornly believed.

 

The creator of the Blue Ocean Faith movement, Dave Schmelzer, is also the author of Not the Religious Type-Confessions of a Turncoat Atheist. As I read this book, I saw many familiar things in a new way as he gave his interpretation of psychiatrist and author M. Scott Peck’s “four stages of spiritual development”. He calls Peck’s first stage the criminal stage-corresponding to the toddler years-where life is all about you. The second stage is called the rules-based stage-corresponding to age six or seven-where a person cares what Mom and Dad want and what the rules are. Though there is nothing wrong with keeping the rules, people tend to make what Dave Schmelzer calls “a closed set”, a corral of rules—where if you obey the rules, you are in, but if you disobey, you are out. (I recognized that some of the nuns in the convent where Philomena had her baby were in this stage. Like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, they seemed to be the ones closest to God, but they were in truth continuously moving away from Him and His heart.) Dave describes Stage 3 as the rebellious stage-corresponding to the teen years, where rules and the reasons behind the rules are questioned. Stage 3 people often feel contempt toward Stage 2 spirituality. (The journalist in the movie Philomena was in this stage. However, as the story progressed, his questioning seemed to lead him closer to the Jesus Philomena believed in.) Finally, Dave describes Stage 4 of spiritual development calling it the mystical stage-where “one suddenly realizes that most of the things we were taught in stage 2 are, in fact, true, but in a much richer and more mysterious sense than we would have, or could have, imagined.” (page 23) He goes on to say, “Stage 4 is all about life transformation, about a God who actually does stuff that we very much want done in our lives, a God who navigates his way through all the evil and pain in the world to somehow triumph in the end, both in our moment-to-moment lives and in the world itself.”

(page 25) I think that Philomena was in this stage of spiritual development. She didn’t profess to have all the answers. She was humble. She was willing to forgive the nuns that lied to and mistreated her. When she found out about her son, she was more interested in finding out who he was as a person than in condemning the lifestyle he had embraced. Finally, as I read about Stage 4 spirituality in Dave’s book, I was struck with his comment on pg. 57, that “if you were to split the atom of stage 4, in the middle of all of its sorrows and challenges, you’d find joy.” Philomena was able to find joy in even the smallest of things (a fiction book with its unexpected ending that she found delightful and in friendly conversations with people who served her at the hotel). In contrast, Dave points out how so few people stuck in stages 1, 2, or 3 spirituality seem to possess joy.

 

Tic thought that maybe some of what struck me about this movie might be helpful to you as you help us explore and savor this rich and meaningful film in search of God’s great story.

 

April King

{ 0 comments }

CJD_3810 CJD_3810

Our Band doing One Republic “Marchin’ On”

There’s a bunch of threads and themes in James’ (the half bro of Jesus) book on OVERCOMING the trials of life. I love how he wraps it us telling us to PRAY and more specifically guiding us in praying OVERCOMING PRAYERS!

_DAN9775

So of course we taught it and then practiced it. We had LOTS of people prayed for and several people report being healed.

_DAN9831

_DAN9826

_DAN9825

We also launched our College Pastor, Sarah Merk-Benitez into the different way of church in her neighborhood that she feels God leading her to. One phrase that we’ve kicked around to describe this is “missional-monastic community”. Risk-taking is how Journey started so it’s no surprise that the Spirit stirs up risk-takers like Sarah in our church.

_DAN9735

_DAN9749_DAN9750

 

{ 0 comments }