In the Garden

Death defeated, afraid but filled with Joy,
a simple word, my name in a garden,
and at once, true love leads me to worship;
while whispers cast doubt on victory thought final.

Evil trembles at the thought of new hope,
Dawn breaks with new creation on its wings.
Am I the first to see Him, to touch Him
or has He been laughing in the garden awhile?
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Meanderings (the last 10 days)

photo by Anthony Lam
Meanderings -
It was my birthday this past Monday (the 11th) and like any good American, I worked all day.  It really was a good day; Alex had already thrown me a small British themed birthday party (complete with a banner featuring: Harry Potter, the Queen, a shirtless David Beckham, Tolkien and N.T. Wright) on Saturday so I was able to focus on the talk I was giving at our weekly meeting.  Studying for the talk (on the spiritual disciplines and prayer in particular) really convinced me of how often I relegate (a wonderful soccer term) prayer to the garbage time of my day instead of making it central.  And when it comes down to it, the reason I don't pray enough is a) I don't believe Jesus will be faithful to hear and answer my prayers or b) I am lazy and value my own comfort (see: sleep) over the life-giving presence of God...when I put it like that it makes me realize how insane it sounds.  Jesus is entirely and perfectly faithful and has proven himself to be so time after time in my life and forgoing being in the presence of the Almighty because I would rather sleep or read is so...selfish.  

Random thoughts:
- Well sitting in a coffee shop nodding my head to a Train song, it finally hit me.  At 25, I have officially hit middle-age...right?  Isn't 25 the age I just give up and go Volvo shopping and get really into CSI: Miami? 
- I heard recently The Magician's Nephew is going to be the next movie in the terrible Chronicles of Narnia movie series.  Early reports are C.S. Lewis continues to roll over in his grave.
- Blake Griffin's rookie season was the most spectacular regular season I remember a player having.
- Reason #1002 I love my wife: she also loves Norm Macdonald (p.s. his new weekly Sports Show Tuesdays at 10:30 on Comedy Central is the new best show on tv)

Prayer Requests:
- first of all, a praise: the student we wrote about in our last prayer letter that Alex met has accepted Christ!  So rad.
- Alex and I have been feeling pretty tired this week.  Pray for continued reliance on Jesus, not our own power and energy.  We want to finish the school year well, not just fade away into the summer.
- Pray for our students to really embrace prayer and make it central in their lives.  

As always, we love you all so much and are so blessed to have you be a part of our ministry.
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Written Prayer

I (Josh) process through written prayer sometimes.  Here is one such prayer written 04/06/11 on campus at SFSU, revised 04/13/11 in the quiet of my home

Dear Lord,
Help me to know how to listen and how to love.  Help me to care, to deeply feel the agony of sin, to deeply hate the evil in this world, to deeply hope for signs of redemption, to deeply long for wrongs to be righted, to deeply live out a life of mercy and to deeply trust in you alone.  Guide me Holy Spirit, direct me, lead me, quiet me, silence me, animate me with your purposes and power.  Remind me of the Cross, the ultimate shelter, the ultimate stronghold, truest love manifest, total redemption begun.
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Meanderings: March 28th - April 2

picture by Anthony Lam (one of our interns)

The past 6 weeks have flown by…I’ve mentioned as much in our last prayer letter.  Alex and I have been busy adjusting to life, to the ministry, to the cycles of momentum that exists at every college campus and to being married co-workers in San Francisco.  It has been a wonderful and challenging period.  However, as great as it has been, I am a bit disappointed in myself.  Why?  Well, simply put, in my moments of free time and rest, keeping this blog updated is far from my mind.  I love to write, I love blogging here and I love our supporters to be up to date with what is going on in our lives on a weekly basis…but I have been terrible at keeping this blog up to date.  So I wanted to apologize to everyone who reads the San Francisco Call regularly.  Starting this week I am going to schedule time each week to post happenings, prayer requests and stories from the past week.

This week was spring break for SFSU and City College, which means Alex and I were not on campus.  To be honest, the break came at just the right time for me, I was definitely beginning to feel the fatigue of 6 weeks straight of ministry with hardly a moment to rest.  This week has been a good time of reflection and refreshment, a time for Alex and me to look inward and listen to the Holy Spirit.  I have been convicted recently of how easily I am distracted by lesser things and often put off having deep time with the Lord in order to read a book or look at sports scores or different blogs.  This week has allowed me to spend deep time with Jesus in prayer and the Word and already I feel renewed and ready to tackle the remaining 5 weeks of the school year.

Random thoughts:
-  Alex and I are going to be joining an indoor soccer team which will be fun and a great way to burn off some pent up energy on Sunday evenings, so that should be fun.
-  The Lord has already answered one of our major prayer moving up here, namely to have great community and friends.  If you’re reading this, you know who you are, but we really do thank Jesus daily for the amazing relationships we have already established here in SF.
- As of this morning (Saturday), the Dodgers are undefeated at the expense of the Giants and the Lakers are rolling.  As a LA sports fan in enemy territory, I am stoked :)

Prayer requests:
- One of our student’s father passed away suddenly last weekend from a heart attack.  Please pray for the peace of Jesus to be upon him and his family and that the community of City Cru can come alongside him and love him well.
- We have taken some time this spring break to do some more support raising.  It is a continual process as staff and we would love to see the Lord bring in some new support.  God has provided for us in incredible ways and we have faith He will continue to do so.  Please pray for those who we are contacting to be open to the Lord’s promptings if He would have them join our team in whatever capacity.
- Pray for Alex and me to have hearts and spirits of continual thanksgiving for the way God has provided for us and our ministry already.
- We have a couple outreaches coming up but this week specifically we are going to be partnering with other clubs on campus to raise money for the cause of orphans around the world.  Our intern Matt has started the Orphan Scholarship Fund to raise money for orphans to go to college.  To read more about the Orphan Scholarship Fund check out the facebook group and the article below:  

Please pray for God to open up doors for City Cru to show his love for both orphans and the campus of SFSU and that we would be able to raise the money.  Also pray for City Cru to make connections with students and other clubs and for relationships to be built.

Thanks so much for your thoughts, support and prayers.  We love you all so much and remember to check back regularly for updates and musings, I promise I will be more diligent in updating the blog.  Again, we love you!
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