My name is Jonny Gose. I am a grateful husband to my wife Becky and a proud father of our daughter Liberty. We have called Existence Church home for several years and currently serve together as full time staff with InterVarsity at UC San Diego. I want to share with you what God is doing on our campus. It truly is a movement in our own backyard. 

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A Movement in our own Backyard

“She encouraged me to come to a worship event… I tagged along somewhat skeptically, expecting an unshared and detached service, like what I was used to. I had never felt personally touched by Jesus until I felt all the energy and warmth in the room, and knew that he was present with me. – Chelsea”

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What’s happening at UC San Diego is nothing short of miraculous! Chelsea is one of 115 students that came to faith during the 2015-2016 school year, either making a first-time decision or recommitting their lives to follow Jesus. And no, it didn’t take a massive crusade or world renowned evangelist, but student to student, friend to friend, relationship and invitation.

InterVarsity began as a student movement in the 1940’s and continues to be among the largest

student lead, faith based movements in the U.S. At InterVarsity UCSD our vision is to see students Experience God, Reach the Campus, and Change the World.

This past year was incredible.We’ve seen freshmen planting their own small groups within the first 10 weeks of school, students following Jesus for the first time, then leading their friends to know Him, and international students experiencing God and starting bible study groups in their home countries after returning!

This past year we saw over 400 students involved in our small group ministry alone, with over 25% identifying as non-Christian.  Friends leading friends to know and experience Jesus has become a reality of our movement.

Where Are We Headed?

Students need God and they need someone to make the introduction… That’s why we’re on campus. It burdens us that students are struggling with depression, anxiety, loneliness, identity, brokenness, and separation from God.

We long to see Revival at UCSD, to see students receive abundant life in relationship

with Jesus Christ!  With roughly 30,000 students on the campus of UCSD, there’s a huge need for students to  experience God. As we look forward over the next 5 years, we long to create more spaces where students can do just that. We believe the best way to do that is through planting small groups.

By empowering student leaders to plant new small groups to reach their immediate community, we’re seeing the potential of reaching the entire campus become a reality! Each small group effectively reaches about 10 students. This past year we ended the year with 32 small groups. Over the next 3-5 years, we’re hoping to increase to 100 small groups, expanding our reach to 1000 students.

pic1How Can You Help?

Prayer

Your prayer is crucial to supporting us in our work on campus! Join our newsletter list to receive monthly updates and prayer requests. [click here http://goo.gl/forms/XTKwli6ckbpBno2m2]

Financial Support

Our ministry is fully funded by individual and church partners. By committing to give monthly or annually, you help provide tangible needs that equip students and staff to reach the next generation of world changers. For more information on financial partnership and specific needs contact us

[click here http://goo.gl/forms/XTKwli6ckbpBno2m2]

Volunteering

We need volunteers to help with various events and outreaches throughout the year. If you’d like to hear more about volunteer opportunities [click here http://goo.gl/forms/XTKwli6ckbpBno2m2]

A Celebration of Hate 

This is my response to the recent tragedy that has taken place worldwide and that no one is talking about. Many of you may have seen that there was a tragic massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL.  You may have seen there were people killed and families destroyed.  You may have seen people devastated trying to piece their lives together.  It has been a nightmare to so many people.  However, we have missed the greatest tragedy to hit our nation and its all because of this event – and others like it.

We have a nation in serious and radical celebration of hatred.  It is affecting millions of people nationwide.  It is destroying families, hurting those we love, tearing down strong homes and strong communities. Fireworks of flaming words are bursting in our skies and we are blind.

Many people are shouting THANK YOU to the recent tragedies in Orlando.  They have provided reprieve from boredom and an opportunity for celebrity to so many people.  Keyboards have been worn down to the core, throats are sore and the word count in the blogosphere has even outdone the Ellen internet break.  The veil of the internet has been set on fire and we are witness to the nightmare sure to destroy our future hope.

This recent tragedy in Orlando – while heartbreaking for some families, is a celebration for people who hate – people who hate guns, hate gays, hate muslims.  This tragedy brought about a trifecta of hate celebration.

I have read multiple articles from each group manipulating this scene for their own personal benefit.  I see people crying because of gun violence, crying because gay people are evil, crying because muslims have destroyed our world.  Crying because there might even be gay gun carrying muslims walking the streets!!

If this is you your eyes are probably so glazed over from the war path you’ve been blazing that you can’t hear this next part – but I sorry to have to tell you that guns, gays and muslims are actually not the problem. Honestly, they aren’t even a problem at all.

*breathe* *take deep breaths*

I would like to be very clear with the truth – HATE is destroying our world.  Each one of you who threw your own brew of fire on this tragedy – no matter how noble – has grown the flames of death and destruction.

To those of you who have developed opinions about the people involved based on a label they have – I ask you 3 questions:

1.) Why do you hate gay people? Or Muslims?  Or Gun violence?

Oh I know this one some of you are feeling good about skipping – You say you don’t hate them. You just care about them and others.  You say its because God cares.  You say its because you don’t want to see anyone burn in hell.  You say its because you want to protect our country.  You say its because you can’t stand to see violence. You say guns, gays & muslims are hurting people, killing people.

My response to you is if you believe these things are truly killing people – what are you doing to save people?

Have you gotten to know any of these people?  Here is a better question, have you gotten to know ANY people? Have you gone to your neighbors house and asked how they are doing?  Have you spent time asking questions and listening? Have you prayed for anyone sincerely to have their lives radically changed by the LOVE of Jesus?  Have you taken a meal to someone in need?  Have you sent a letter to someone encouraging them?  Have you spent as much time trying to save people as you have hating the people you are afraid of?

I would like to ask that we all stop focusing on what might be terribly wrong with this world and instead ask what we can do to make something terribly right in this world.  Each one of us has been equipped with some measure that can be poured out into the world to make it better and I guarantee you it isn’t in the form of hate or judgy opinions.  And just for the record any of the prayers that include “bless their heart” is a special form of hate with some lipstick.  Let’s just stop.

2,) How long have you lived like Jesus?

I mean I assume you are perfect and have not struggled with anything before.  I have to assume this because the velocity with which your spears are flying in the air suggest to me that you are standing firm on a foundation of perfection ready to field any spears that may fly your way.  Im sure you looked deep inside yourself and came up empty handed when looking for times of self doubt, insecurity, loneliness and fear.  I am sure when you dug really deep before you shared your hate filled opinion you were remiss to find any times you were living a life someone didn’t agree with.  I am sure if I came and examined your life I would find that you live wonderfully, full of encouragement, never gossiping, never looking at porn or overeating, overspending or over sleeping.  I am sure that your life is lived with the utmost for his highest and you are slaving over saving lives.

The truth is every single one of us is living a life that we weren’t created to live.  Romans 3:23 say ALL have sinned.  EVERY ONE OF US.  None of us can look at another person and say – you have sinned – without looking right back at ourselves and saying the same thing.

But guns kill people.  Muslims kill people.  Gay people kill people.  My sin doesn’t kill anyone.  Or does it? What do you think your sin is doing inside of your own heart? Is it birthing life or slowly creeping toward the death of joy and happiness?  What do you think nasty words do inside the heart of others.  What do you think those “small” sins are doing in every cell they are infecting?  Trust me, because I have done this to myself, they are tumbling over and over eachother waging a much uglier and more private war than the ones we see splashed all over the media.

I would like to encourage us to all take a mirror, look deeply at the log shoved in our own eye and try to wrench that thing out before we get busy trying to pluck splinters out of someone else’s.

3.) What can you DO today?

Reading this blog post, even writing this blog post, takes very little effort on our part.  We sit down and look at black letters typed on some screen.  We are probably comfortably waiting in a chair, probably with air conditioning blowing on our faces and maybe have a nice afternoon snack.

The most important thing to do today is understand that each one of us is broken.  No one is alone on an island. Every insecurity you and I have has a community of people thinking they are alone. WE ARE BROKEN, BUT WE ARE NOT ALONE.  

So maybe our hearts changed a little, maybe our minds changed a little but what should our bodies do?

We are broken BUT we are useful.  Even in the very depths of tragedy you are useful to someone else.  You may feel like you have nothing to give, I promise there’s a penny you didn’t know about in your other pocket.

Today you can text someone and tell them you love them, ask how they are doing and if you can pray for them. Today you can get to know your neighbor.  Today you can pray for someone whose heart may be broken.  Today you can pray for the gun owners and THEIR safety.  Today you can pray for LGBT people and THEIR relationships.  Today you can pray for muslims and THEIR fears.

I know its scary but if we truly care and truly want to see an end to violence and destruction, LOVE is the only way.

Moving Forward in Love,

Mikala Janse van Rensburg

***For more articles from Mikala visit her blog at www.peaceloveandchurch.com

 

A Neighbor to Orlando

A Neighbor to Orlando

In the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando, the media sound bites, the posts, comments, more posts, some of us are trying to engage, but seeing the frenzied activity online leaves us asking “Where do I even start?” Or perhaps the flood of agendas and click hungry headlines has left us even feeling apathetic.

For some of us our engagement in the bigger picture conversations around gun control, terrorism, or LGBTQ issues comes from years of experiential learning and academic thought. For others of us, our “likes” and “shares” are simply a distraction from actually allowing ourselves to let what happened in Orlando affect our hearts.

The painful reality is that 50 children of God were senselessly murdered, that in fact people are targeted because of their sexual orientation and identity, and at large, targeted violence, injustice, and oppression happen to various minority communities on U.S. soil everyday. It’s sad, terribly sad, and overwhelming.

This is a call to meaningful response. A type of response that honors the humanity of the individuals that lost their lives, their families, their friends, and the LGBTQ community at large.

When asked about receiving eternal life, life abundant, free, loving, vibrant, humanity at it’s fullest potential, Jesus draws out a clear answer. That is to “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Luke 10:27)

The story goes on as a parable, a fictional story meant to communicate something about God and humanity, and in this parable a man is robbed, beaten, and left for dead on the roadside. The people you’d most expect to stop and help, the priest, religious leader, the ones meant to lead others to know and experience God’s love for them, cross the street to avoid him. Yet one person, the most unlikely perhaps, a Samaritan, chooses to engage in the most incredible way. Prompted by the question “And who is my neighbor?”, Jesus’ response turns us toward what it looks like to BE a neighbor! So what does it look like to be a neighbor to Orlando?

What made the Samaritan stop, when the other two walked right by? I think there was a fundamental choice the Samaritan made to truly SEE the man on the roadside. In his setting perhaps that looked like not only physically seeing the man laying by the road beaten and bloodied, but seeing him through the lense of his humanity. Empathizing with his pain, entering into his grief, sharing in his anger at the injustice that allowed this to happen, sitting in his fear of dying alone while watching people pass him by. “Love your neighbor as yourself” starts with putting yourself in your neighbor’s shoes.

In the case of the shooting in Orlando, it could mean, reading the names of each person that was killed, attending a vigil for the victims and the LGBTQ community, empathizing from your own experience of losing a loved one, or imagining the fear of being targeted for some aspect of your identity. Or perhaps spending a few minutes in prayer asking God to help you enter into the grief, pain, fear, and anger of those directly connected to the tragedy and community at large. Some of us may need to disengage from media for periods of time to make more space to process things intentionally. Others of us may need to engage more fully by reading articles that give name to each victim or that help us see the hateful responses and lead us into greater empathy and solidarity.

It most certainly doesn’t stop there. Truly choosing to see someone demands action. But action built on listening to and learning from the person or community that’s hurting. It means moving to meet specific needs, out of generosity, no agenda other than to love. It takes dedicated, ongoing, commitment to sharing their burden. How might God be inviting you to respond? What step do you need to take to better engage your heart?

Why not begin with prayer. Would you consider praying this prayer with me.

“Lord lead us to truly see the people in our world that are hurting, those directly impacted by the shooting in Orlando and the LGBTQ community as a whole. Lead us to “go and do likewise” and truly be a neighbor to Orlando.”

Neighboring with You,

Jonny Gose

Existence Church Family,

I hope your week is going well and you are looking forward to a restful and refreshing summer. We want to take a moment each month and share a few points of celebration from the previous month as well as some key areas we need further help. So please take a moment to watch this short video from pastor Josh, read through some points of celebration and finish by praying for our church family.


STATE OF EXISTENCE – WATCH THIS SHORT VIDEO FROM PASTOR JOSH

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5 KINGDOM WINS WORTH CELEBRATING

***Make sure to watch the video. These are in addition to what we share on the video.

#1 – We finished our message series Jesus Stories! If you missed it, jump online and listen to it click here.

# 2 – We hosted our first Safe House Parenting Conference. It was an amazing time. Over a hundred folks joined us. To find out more click here.

#3 – We launched Real Life our new Student Ministry with 30-40 student coming on Monday nights. Incredible! So proud of our the Real Life leadership team! To find out more click here.

#4 – We finished our Spring round of Life Groups and MOPS. There is nothing better than watching others gather to be encouraged, supported and pointed to Jesus! We will launch again in the Fall.

#5 – Lacey Wallis shared with us God’s incredible story of supernatural healing in her life. Take a moment to watch it and be encouraged that God still does miracles!

Thank you for being an inclusive missional community!!!

Pastor Shawn

Let’s face it, we live in places where people share walls, but rarely share stories or struggles. Most of us know very little about the people we park next to each night. Yet, when Jesus was asked what is the greatest command he replied, “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and and love your neighbor as yourself.” What does it mean to love your neighbor? Is Jesus just implying a general population or does He have something else in mind? Well come and join us as we spend five weeks working through these questions and more in a series titled, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” 


CENTRAL VERSE

Genesis 12:2-3 says, “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.


SERIES LAYOUT 

MESSAGE #1: WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR: B – BEGIN WITH PRAYER

Date: June 19th Speaker: Shawn Kennedy / Scripture: Luke 6:12-16

 

MESSAGE #2: WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR: L – LISTEN WELL

Date: June 26th   Speaker: Josh Hotsenpiller / Scripture: Luke 18:35-40

 

MESSAGE #3: WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR: E – EAT TOGETHER

Date: July 3rd   Speaker: Shawn Kennedy  / Scripture: Matthew 9:9-13

 

MESSAGE #4: WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR: S – SERVE

Date: July 10th   Speaker: Josh Hotsenpiller  / Scripture: Mark 7:31-37

 

MESSAGE #5: WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR: S – STORY

Date: July 17th   Speaker: Shawn Kennedy / Scripture: John 3


SUGGESTIVE RESOURCES

The Art of Neighboring by Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon

A Meal with Jesus by Tim Chester

Discover Your Mission Now by Dave Ferguson

 

We asked one of our church family partners, Nick Janssen, to share about a mountain biking ministry he and others from Existence Church are involved with called Linked Cycling.

“Linked Cycling began in 2008 in Orange County, expanding to a San Diego chapter in 2013. A group of Christian cyclists realized that the sports of mountain and road biking were a great way to get together and bond the way guys do. I heard about Linked Cycling from a mountain biking friend who invited me to a ride that ended at a men’s breakfast at his church. On the ride, I learned about a few of the guys riding with us who were part of a mountain biking ministry called Linked Cycling. These riders were highly skilled, easy to talk to, and generally very fun guys who seemed to genuinely love one another. I was invited to ride with them on a weekly group ride after work one night a week. As that year went on, we all grew closer and we would discuss deeper things like our walk and testimonies. It was clear that these guys were not just spurring me on to get better at riding, but were intent on asking about how I was doing in all areas of my life. They asked about church and Bible study, but also asked how they could be praying for me and my family. I decided a year and a half later to pray about my role in the group, and I felt led to begin leading a group ride each week. I had seen how impactful the group had become in my own life and I wanted to be available for others to ride with our ministry more often. I am overjoyed to see new riders at one or more weekly rides each month. Some guys are new to the area and just want a group to ride with, others are believers who are closely following Jesus and are looking to be sharpened while riding with a group of other believers. The impact the Linked Cycling ministry has made in my own life is tremendous, but I am so encouraged to see  some of our riders who were just looking for a regular riding group finding an invitation to grow in their walk or begin walking with Jesus. Some of these same riders have even decided to visit Existence Church and bring some friends with them. Please pray for the riders who are coming to ride with us and come join us if you have a mountain bike!

We devote the time on our bikes to our Creator. One day we will all pass away from this life, and we’ll be face-to-face with our Creator, who will evaluate us for eternity. As long as we repent from the sin which separates us from that Creator (God) and place our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, we can be confident that on the day of our meeting, he’ll say, ‘enter into the kingdom of Heaven!’ Linked Cycling is committed to sharing the truth of what the Bible says, and we hope that many people in this great sport respond to that message and begin to follow (become LINKED to) Jesus Christ!

The San Diego chapter has members from many local churches in the area. Monday night offroad rides start at 5:15pm with brief fellowship and a devotional discussion on a passage in the Bible. Riders can share how the passage applies to their lives and what parallels might be present in the realm of mountain biking. At 5:45pm wheels start rolling and the discussion continues as the ride begins. The intention is for riders to continue to discuss throughout the ride while also getting to know more about each other’s life story. The ride ends around 7:30pm. Anyone is welcome to ride with us. Believer or not, male or female, experienced or brand new riders, we are very inclusive and can’t wait for you to join us for a ride! Other destination and ‘epic’ rides as well as a weekend retreat at Mammoth Mountain occur throughout the year.

The San Diego chapter has links on www.LinkedCycling.com to the Facebook group where many discussions are posted along with plans for other group rides throughout the week and ride reports from rides that have happened recently.

For more information, contact Nick Janssen at NickJ@LinkedCycling.com

MEET JENNA

My name is Jenna. I started attending Existence when I was a student at PLNU and it’s been my home church ever since, about nine years now! You may have seen me behind the coffee house counter, until my life started to overflow with graduate school, I’m seeking my Master’s in Nurse at SDSU. I am a highly motivated person who loves to serve others and give back to our community! I love a huge bowl of ice cream for dessert and backpacking through the wilderness when I get the chance. One way God has been working in my life missionally is by serving with an organization in our city called CAPS.

MISSIONAL OPPORTUNITY

CAPS is a ministry who aims to serve young women (and sometimes men) in our community who are facing unplanned pregnancies. CAPS is a medical clinic offering counseling sessions, pregnancy testing, ultrasound, and health care education for topics like healthy pregnancy outcomes and STI’s. The core values of CAPS include Life, Love, Integrity and Impact. We exist to affirm the value and dignity of all human life, love without exception, follow biblical principles, and transform our culture by educating, encouraging, and empowering others. My favorite part about serving at CAPS is the look of hope and relief a woman experiences as she walks away confidently in her ability to face her greatest fears. We are able to meet women in the midst of their fears and uncertainties and show them their strengths, while fostering who God made them to be! CAPS is opening a third clinic this fall;  what an honor to meet with this population of women and share with them the love  of Jesus. Volunteers just like you make this possible!

There are several opportunities for individuals to get involved, whether you have clerical skills, a listening heart, nursing skills, an overflowing bank account, or just a  passion for women and infants there is an opportunity for you! We are always  looking for receptionists, counselors, or nurses. But even more than that, we need  partners like you to pray for us! There are several opportunities throughout the  year to get involved in a fundraiser as well; bottle drives and our annual “Walk for Life” are some examples.

ARE YOU INTERESTED

So you have an interest in CAPS? That’s GREAT!!! Please contact me at jenna.e.neal@gmail.com and we can plug you in, even if you are just interested more in what we do. I would love to share my stories and hear your passion as well, there is some way for you to get involved, I assure you!

Blessings to you!
~Jenna

Summer at the Park

Every Summer, we offer several unique opportunities to enjoy community as a church family. In July, you are invited to be a part of a BBQ and Ultimate Freesbie time in the Park. This is a great opportunity to enjoy building community together. We will provide the grill, burgers and hotdogs. We encourage you to bring a side to share. We will have Frisbee’s, but feel free to bring any lawn games, etc. The location is still to be determined. Stay tuned.  


What:
Church Wide – Ultimate Frisbee and BBQ

When: July 30th from 11:00am – 2:00pm (Saturday)  

Who to Contact: If you would like more information, volunteer to bring your grill or want to help plan the event please contact Sam our Community Coordinator at sam@existencechurch.com

Summer VBS

Join us on July 25th as we embark on an adventure like no other, deep within the sea! As our divers submerge themselves in God’s Word, they will discover that Jesus didn’t just see what’s on the outside of people; He looked deep down on the inside. So come along, strap on your flippers and dive in with us to find the truth below the surface! Each day will include a Bible story, yummy snacks, games, awesome crafts and much more!

MAIN DETAILS

+ Ages 3 yrs thru 5th grade

+ July 25th-27th, 9am-12pm

+ 10960 Via Frontera Road, San Diego 92127

For more information or to RSVP – CLICK HERE

Summer Open Table

Every Summer, we offer several unique opportunities to enjoy community as a church family. In June, you are invited to be a part of what we are calling, “Open Table.”  Open Table is a perfect way to meet people who call Existence Church home all while sharing food and stories together. It’s simple and easy. You sign up to either host an open table full of eight to ten folks for lunch or dinner at your home or you sign up to be a part of an open table at someone house. The host provides the entree and the guest bring sides or drinks. Again, it’s easy, simple and a great  way to grow in community.  

When: June 26th (Sunday after Church)

Who to Contact: To sign up, ask questions or become and Open Table host please contact Sam our Community Coordinator at sam@existencechurch.com