Posts written by communityfaithinaction

Summer in the City

I know, it has been a long time since my last post! Thanks for all of you who have been asking me to write more. Great things going on this summer that deserve some ye ha over! First and foremost Jen and I just celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary, it has been an amazing ride! In September we are heading to Italy to celebrate in style. Cannot wait to spend two weeks with her exploring the land; Rome, Florence, Tuscany, Calabria etc.

Summer in Golden has been great:


I had the great privilege of accompanying my daughter Courtney at the Golden Police Department Youth Academy where the students learned a lot about the role, work and mindset of law-enforcement. Courtney won the

top gun

award. Yes I am proud of that, watch out gentlemen! I am so honored to be a part of the Golden Police Department, they truly do a great job at involving this community in understanding the significant role they play in our city.

2012 Buffalo Bill Days

Another great year at BBDays! Saturday our chaplain team pulled out the BBQ and grilled up some good meat, thank you Custom Made Meals! Many from the congregations donated side dishes and desserts. It is such a blessing to serve the fine men and women at GPD!

Sunday morning we celebrated our 7th Annual Worship Service in the park! It was a great privilege to be the one who spoke this year! I spoke about “Seeking the peace of the City” from Jeremiah 29:4-14. Challenged the church to accept the circumstances of their lives and bloom where they are planted. We are designed by God to live in the midst of community and invest in the lives of those around us. Often times we find ourselves waiting for a better day, or when we have time, and that day or time never comes. God has plans for our lives and often times we feel like the people in Jeremiah’s day who are in bondage in Babylon. But the truth is God knows and has designed the very time and place where you live and invites you to be involved in the peace and prosperity of the city.

Mayor Marjorie Sloan shared with the church, the Cities decision to give us a matching grant of $2500.00 toward our September 8th neighborhood rehabilitation projects. We will be helping homeowners across our city that day with projects around their homes that focus on creating safe, warm and dry environments. This will be for those who would not otherwise be able to fix up their homes. If you would like to volunteer that day please send an email to Neighborhood Rehabilitation with your contact information and we will get you on the list. We need people of all skill levels. If you would like to donate a tax deductible gift you can mail a check to Community Faith in Action at 1224 Washington Ave. Unit 105 Golden, Co. 80401 and let us know it is for Neighborhood Rehab.

This years BBDays worship band was great, made up of youth and youth leaders from across our city, they did such a great job leading a very diverse group of people in worship of our God!

I am very excited for the future of Golden, and believe we as a community are being called into a new season of serving together. The kind of service that not only gives away fish to those in need, but also teaches people how to fish and find dignity in being a vital part of this city! Until next time, engage your community and practice the values of your faith by moving them into action!


The weaving together of great stories…

Weave to be or become formed or composed from the interlacing of materials or the combining of various elements, so as to form a fabric or material. (Webster Dictionary definition)


My wife Jen and my son Josh are reading a book together called, “Half Upon A Time” by James Riley. The book is a weaving together of all the famous children’s stories into one story filled with adventure. This is very similar to the way I see life within community. Every day looks a bit different for me, though at times I long for a consistent view of the landscape, I have come to love the view of the community through the eyes of a lot of good stories blended together.

A man’s Journey back into his community.
There was a man I blogged about in the past who ended up in my path years ago, his name is Dave. Dave lived homeless on the streets of Golden for many years after loosing his close family members to death and then turning to the bottle to find an end to the pain. In 2008 I picked up my phone to call 911 after running into Dave passed out under a tree near the Golden Library. After some shaking and prodding I realized he was alive and just once again had drank himself into la la land. Shortly after this time is when he got court mandated into the Salvation Army rehabilitation program, where he found hope, a purpose and a new lease on life. Dave went through the program with flying colors and re-entered society with a new perspective. He has been living in Denver at a safe house,(good movie by the way, saw it this weekend) working at one of Golden local restaurants and meeting with me regularly to sort through this new life. It has been a long journey of wrestling through the systems of society while trying to get back on his feet. I am so proud of Dave, he has been clean and sober for almost 4 years. He longed for the day he could move back to Golden and experience this community from a new hope filled view. This past Month Dave signed the papers to purchase his own 2 bedroom trailer home in North Golden. He is so excited and blessed by the new start and a place he can call his own. Sometimes our stories take us out of what seems best, leading us to others who can help, shaping new things within our hearts only to return to the places we love and communities that make sense. Dave has been a true inspiration and evidence that with God’s help all things are possible! He is one who’s eyes I have seen a story of hope unfold.

Other great things I see weaving a fabric as I look around…
There is so much in this little community called Golden that stirs my heart and impacts my story. It starts in my home and my own little neighborhood. It is so wonderful to live in a home with such amazing people. My wife is always challenging the things that matter in our home. Her comment the other day was, “how can we truly start a revolution and impact the poor and needy around us?”, and then went on to write about where this thought came from. (future blog to follow). My oldest son turned 18 yesterday and I see a young man alive with passion. I see him pursuing a deeper calling and living with purpose. My two girls are being incredible friends and advocates for what matters in life, they are very sold out to finding the best in life and living in it, I am so proud of their commitment to an adventure larger than the normal flow of a 14 &16 year old. My youngest son is such a model of boyhood to me, he reminds me daily of the warrior spirit in every boy that should be in every man, and I only pray I can help shape his battles in life to be meaningful and ground taking in nature. I move out my front door only to find neighbors who are all about doing life in community, from great times in the street playing, to watching football or just finding great places to go together,(mostly country concerts…oh ya) I truly feel blessed by my neighbors and love that we have all ended up on the same block. Oh and then downtown Golden, what a special place to office and hang out, from all the familiar faces in the coffee shops, to the meetings with people whom truly want to seek out the well being of our community. In one conversation of late, we were discussing the needs of our city youth with many who care from our government, police department, pastors, businesses and non-profits. Later, I am sitting in a room full of the business community celebrating a lot of great collaboration and thriving businesses in the midst of an economy that is not ideal. Oh, and how can I forget sitting in church the last couple weeks, taken back by the passion I see in so many Christ followers who are genuine. I have been in church all my life and have not seen what I see now, not religious people but people of passion who live out their faith, hope and love in such a way it changes culture. I looked over yesterday a saw the teenage daughter of a dear friend of mine with folded hands praying with a passion and that touched my heart. The thought went through my head, what teenage girl prays like that? Not the norm now a days, but it is in this church, I am so thankful. I would go wrong to not highlight the awesome men and women at the Golden Police Department, they celebrated their annual awards this week. I got the chance to sit by one of our officers 4 year old sons who is just so cool, love that little guy. Prayed a pray of invocation over the group, had great conversations and heard Chief Kilpatrick and my friend Officer Hart share incredible stories of cops who saved lives, took risks and live each day with a true sense of calling to protect and serve.

So, I share all this to ask you a question. What is the weaved story you need to tell? This is so important to articulate, it is in the midst of a community story that we are challenged to become all God has created us to become. We are designed for impact, touch and a together journey. Find it, ignite it and live intentional in it!

Here are a few things you should be aware of:

We are partnering with Habitat for Humanity in North Golden, over the next few months, if you would like to volunteer for a day and rub shoulders with people of Golden please email me the date you would like to serve.
Dates and times available 9:00AM-4:30PM
March 9th
April 14th
April 21st

Interns from Horn Creek Camp coming to spend a week in our city March 19th-22nd, want to learn more about community transformation, and tag a long for a day let me know. We will be visiting inner city Denver, businesses, police department and faith community. With this question in mind, “what does it look like to live out the values of your faith in the midst of the different sectors of society.

Don’t forget keep looking at your community from a God’s eye view!


From the SKY to the CLASSROOM

This is the bird we flew on!

From the SKY
Perspective is so important in the journey of an individual. We tend to be either destination people, journey people or a combination of both. Some love to set their sights on the goal and never look back until the destination is conquered. Others, enjoy the process of the journey looking around them at the things on either side of the path, taking it all in. There is no right or wrong way to gain perspective, but a combination of both is key to a proper perspective on life. We never want to miss the moments day in and day out with those closest to us, but we also need to set our sites outward toward the destination we long for. I had the great privilege of flying in the PrayerOne Helicopter this month with some of my dear friends. Christian, Bethany and I were invited by Jude DelHierro and Jeff Puckett who pilots to take the sky and gain perspective of our city. We left Centennial Airport and went around Downtown Denver and back. I was shocked by how small and together the Denver Metro area seemed from 500 feet in the air. It was hard to see the boundaries of the differing neighborhoods, cities or counties. It seemed as though this is how God sees a city. We are so quick to divide and label everything to line up our perspectives based on our experience. I just wonder if often times we make these boundaries based upon our own path, verses the truth gathered from the right perspective and a God’s eye view? I found myself praying through the headset that morning, “God forgive us for only seeing through the eyes of our own cities and experiences, please allow Denver to be known as a place where people work together for the wellbeing of the city.” I believe this is beginning to happen in two ways, people and organizations in cities are really taking serious the importance of working together for the common good and they are also beginning to cross-pollinate with other cities to share needs and resource with one another. We in the faith community across Denver are beginning to catch this wave as well. It has been such a privilege to sit with pastors from all over this metro area who are asking, “how can we do a better job of working together and caring for the people in our cities”? A wave of collaboration around common belief systems and values is surfacing and challenging our perspectives. Lets be sure to never forget some of the basics principles of the faith!
– To love God with all our mind, heart, soul and strength
– To love our neighbor as ourselves
– How beautiful it is when God’s people dwell together in unity…it is there He commands a blessing
– The world will know who we are by our love for one another

See the co-pilot, the smile tells it all!

One of the great opportunities I get throughout the year is working with students from Youth With A Mission who are preparing and training in leadership. I just came off of a great week with 29 of these students studying leadership. We looked at life in the trenches and discuss together a perspective on leadership and the daily habits of a leader. We studied a healthy balance for character development and gift/skill utilization. We examined the life of Queen Esther for our character study and looked at many principles of leadership that is built over time, faithfulness and integrity. We ended the week with 6 real life leadership scenarios for them to work through and a panel of the Hillside Community Church leaders for great practical Q & A’s with discussion. A few of encouraging things that stood out this week:
– We nailed the truth that, “often times our gifts and abilities take us places our character cannot keep us.” As a leader I don’t care how gifted you are, if your home life is falling apart, your integrity is always in question or you just seem to always be to busy for what matters in life. Leadership in earned through trusted relationships and developed with time and intentionality.

-I asked the students to go around the classroom and share with us the answer to this question, “who has had the most influence on your life and why”? It was so eye-opening for them to see that 90% of them said it was a Dad, Mom or grandparent who had the most influence, and it seemed to alway boil down to the fact that they were present and involved. I followed this question with, why then do we as young people underestimate the opportunity to one day become a “great parent”? When asked what you want to do when you grow up, how many young people say, “I just want to be a really great dad or mom”?

-I gave the students an assignment this week which had a big impact on their lives. They had to leave the classroom Wednesday night and go find or call someone close to them they trusted, who knew them well and ask this question, “what area in my life do you see as the most vulnerable to the enemy’s attack, where does he (satan and his forces) seem to mess with me the most”? This was after we studied about King Saul in Israel’s history. Saul was asked by God to completely destroy the Amalekites in First Samuel, and he disobeyed God, leaving some, even King Agag alive. Later at the end of his life in Second Samuel it was an Amalekite who finished him off in his depression and shame. The principle is, “the enemies we don’t destroy in our strongest moments will be the ones that destroy us in our weakest moment.”

I hope this challenges your perspectives on life and leadership!

Leadership Panel discussion at GIHOP

Steve Jobs, “OH WOW, OH WOW, OH WOW” I am inspired

This is the eulogy steve jobs’ sister, Mona Simpson gave at Steve’s memorial service. This inspires me to live with greater passion for life! Read through this eulogy and ask yourself, “what memories will I leave behind and people reflect on my life?” The love, romance and work ethic I see in this eulogy calls me out and challenges my heart in the midst of my family and community! Enjoy

Published: October 30, 2011
I grew up as an only child, with a single mother. Because we were poor and because I knew my father had emigrated from Syria, I imagined he looked like Omar Sharif. I hoped he would be rich and kind and would come into our lives (and our not yet furnished apartment) and help us. Later, after I’d met my father, I tried to believe he’d changed his number and left no forwarding address because he was an idealistic revolutionary, plotting a new world for the Arab people.
Even as a feminist, my whole life I’d been waiting for a man to love, who could love me. For decades, I’d thought that man would be my father. When I was 25, I met that man and he was my brother.
By then, I lived in New York, where I was trying to write my first novel. I had a job at a small magazine in an office the size of a closet, with three other aspiring writers. When one day a lawyer called me — me, the middle-class girl from California who hassled the boss to buy us health insurance — and said his client was rich and famous and was my long-lost brother, the young editors went wild. This was 1985 and we worked at a cutting-edge literary magazine, but I’d fallen into the plot of a Dickens novel and really, we all loved those best. The lawyer refused to tell me my brother’s name and my colleagues started a betting pool. The leading candidate: John Travolta. I secretly hoped for a literary descendant of Henry James — someone more talented than I, someone brilliant without even trying.
When I met Steve, he was a guy my age in jeans, Arab- or Jewish-looking and handsomer than Omar Sharif.
We took a long walk — something, it happened, that we both liked to do. I don’t remember much of what we said that first day, only that he felt like someone I’d pick to be a friend. He explained that he worked in computers.
I didn’t know much about computers. I still worked on a manual Olivetti typewriter.
I told Steve I’d recently considered my first purchase of a computer: something called the Cromemco.
Steve told me it was a good thing I’d waited. He said he was making something that was going to be insanely beautiful.
I want to tell you a few things I learned from Steve, during three distinct periods, over the 27 years I knew him. They’re not periods of years, but of states of being. His full life. His illness. His dying.
Steve worked at what he loved. He worked really hard. Every day.
That’s incredibly simple, but true.
He was the opposite of absent-minded.
He was never embarrassed about working hard, even if the results were failures. If someone as smart as Steve wasn’t ashamed to admit trying, maybe I didn’t have to be.
When he got kicked out of Apple, things were painful. He told me about a dinner at which 500 Silicon Valley leaders met the then-sitting president. Steve hadn’t been invited.
He was hurt but he still went to work at Next. Every single day.
Novelty was not Steve’s highest value. Beauty was.
For an innovator, Steve was remarkably loyal. If he loved a shirt, he’d order 10 or 100 of them. In the Palo Alto house, there are probably enough black cotton turtlenecks for everyone in this church.
He didn’t favor trends or gimmicks. He liked people his own age.
His philosophy of aesthetics reminds me of a quote that went something like this: “Fashion is what seems beautiful now but looks ugly later; art can be ugly at first but it becomes beautiful later.”
Steve always aspired to make beautiful later.
He was willing to be misunderstood.
Uninvited to the ball, he drove the third or fourth iteration of his same black sports car to Next, where he and his team were quietly inventing the platform on which Tim Berners-Lee would write the program for the World Wide Web.
Steve was like a girl in the amount of time he spent talking about love. Love was his supreme virtue, his god of gods. He tracked and worried about the romantic lives of the people working with him.
Whenever he saw a man he thought a woman might find dashing, he called out, “Hey are you single? Do you wanna come to dinner with my sister?”
I remember when he phoned the day he met Laurene. “There’s this beautiful woman and she’s really smart and she has this dog and I’m going to marry her.”
When Reed was born, he began gushing and never stopped. He was a physical dad, with each of his children. He fretted over Lisa’s boyfriends and Erin’s travel and skirt lengths and Eve’s safety around the horses she adored.
None of us who attended Reed’s graduation party will ever forget the scene of Reed and Steve slow dancing.
His abiding love for Laurene sustained him. He believed that love happened all the time, everywhere. In that most important way, Steve was never ironic, never cynical, never pessimistic. I try to learn from that, still.
Steve had been successful at a young age, and he felt that had isolated him. Most of the choices he made from the time I knew him were designed to dissolve the walls around him. A middle-class boy from Los Altos, he fell in love with a middle-class girl from New Jersey. It was important to both of them to raise Lisa, Reed, Erin and Eve as grounded, normal children. Their house didn’t intimidate with art or polish; in fact, for many of the first years I knew Steve and Lo together, dinner was served on the grass, and sometimes consisted of just one vegetable. Lots of that one vegetable. But one. Broccoli. In season. Simply prepared. With just the right, recently snipped, herb.
Even as a young millionaire, Steve always picked me up at the airport. He’d be standing there in his jeans.
When a family member called him at work, his secretary Linetta answered, “Your dad’s in a meeting. Would you like me to interrupt him?”
When Reed insisted on dressing up as a witch every Halloween, Steve, Laurene, Erin and Eve all went wiccan.
They once embarked on a kitchen remodel; it took years. They cooked on a hotplate in the garage. The Pixar building, under construction during the same period, finished in half the time. And that was it for the Palo Alto house. The bathrooms stayed old. But — and this was a crucial distinction — it had been a great house to start with; Steve saw to that.
This is not to say that he didn’t enjoy his success: he enjoyed his success a lot, just minus a few zeros. He told me how much he loved going to the Palo Alto bike store and gleefully realizing he could afford to buy the best bike there.
And he did.
Steve was humble. Steve liked to keep learning.
Once, he told me if he’d grown up differently, he might have become a mathematician. He spoke reverently about colleges and loved walking around the Stanford campus. In the last year of his life, he studied a book of paintings by Mark Rothko, an artist he hadn’t known about before, thinking of what could inspire people on the walls of a future Apple campus.
Steve cultivated whimsy. What other C.E.O. knows the history of English and Chinese tea roses and has a favorite David Austin rose?
He had surprises tucked in all his pockets. I’ll venture that Laurene will discover treats — songs he loved, a poem he cut out and put in a drawer — even after 20 years of an exceptionally close marriage. I spoke to him every other day or so, but when I opened The New York Times and saw a feature on the company’s patents, I was still surprised and delighted to see a sketch for a perfect staircase.
With his four children, with his wife, with all of us, Steve had a lot of fun.
He treasured happiness.
Then, Steve became ill and we watched his life compress into a smaller circle. Once, he’d loved walking through Paris. He’d discovered a small handmade soba shop in Kyoto. He downhill skied gracefully. He cross-country skied clumsily. No more.
Eventually, even ordinary pleasures, like a good peach, no longer appealed to him.
Yet, what amazed me, and what I learned from his illness, was how much was still left after so much had been taken away.
I remember my brother learning to walk again, with a chair. After his liver transplant, once a day he would get up on legs that seemed too thin to bear him, arms pitched to the chair back. He’d push that chair down the Memphis hospital corridor towards the nursing station and then he’d sit down on the chair, rest, turn around and walk back again. He counted his steps and, each day, pressed a little farther.
Laurene got down on her knees and looked into his eyes.
“You can do this, Steve,” she said. His eyes widened. His lips pressed into each other.
He tried. He always, always tried, and always with love at the core of that effort. He was an intensely emotional man.
I realized during that terrifying time that Steve was not enduring the pain for himself. He set destinations: his son Reed’s graduation from high school, his daughter Erin’s trip to Kyoto, the launching of a boat he was building on which he planned to take his family around the world and where he hoped he and Laurene would someday retire.
Even ill, his taste, his discrimination and his judgment held. He went through 67 nurses before finding kindred spirits and then he completely trusted the three who stayed with him to the end. Tracy. Arturo. Elham.
One time when Steve had contracted a tenacious pneumonia his doctor forbid everything — even ice. We were in a standard I.C.U. unit. Steve, who generally disliked cutting in line or dropping his own name, confessed that this once, he’d like to be treated a little specially.
I told him: Steve, this is special treatment.
He leaned over to me, and said: “I want it to be a little more special.”
Intubated, when he couldn’t talk, he asked for a notepad. He sketched devices to hold an iPad in a hospital bed. He designed new fluid monitors and x-ray equipment. He redrew that not-quite-special-enough hospital unit. And every time his wife walked into the room, I watched his smile remake itself on his face.
For the really big, big things, you have to trust me, he wrote on his sketchpad. He looked up. You have to.
By that, he meant that we should disobey the doctors and give him a piece of ice.
None of us knows for certain how long we’ll be here. On Steve’s better days, even in the last year, he embarked upon projects and elicited promises from his friends at Apple to finish them. Some boat builders in the Netherlands have a gorgeous stainless steel hull ready to be covered with the finishing wood. His three daughters remain unmarried, his two youngest still girls, and he’d wanted to walk them down the aisle as he’d walked me the day of my wedding.
We all — in the end — die in medias res. In the middle of a story. Of many stories.
I suppose it’s not quite accurate to call the death of someone who lived with cancer for years unexpected, but Steve’s death was unexpected for us.
What I learned from my brother’s death was that character is essential: What he was, was how he died.
Tuesday morning, he called me to ask me to hurry up to Palo Alto. His tone was affectionate, dear, loving, but like someone whose luggage was already strapped onto the vehicle, who was already on the beginning of his journey, even as he was sorry, truly deeply sorry, to be leaving us.
He started his farewell and I stopped him. I said, “Wait. I’m coming. I’m in a taxi to the airport. I’ll be there.”
“I’m telling you now because I’m afraid you won’t make it on time, honey.”
When I arrived, he and his Laurene were joking together like partners who’d lived and worked together every day of their lives. He looked into his children’s eyes as if he couldn’t unlock his gaze.
Until about 2 in the afternoon, his wife could rouse him, to talk to his friends from Apple.
Then, after awhile, it was clear that he would no longer wake to us.
His breathing changed. It became severe, deliberate, purposeful. I could feel him counting his steps again, pushing farther than before.
This is what I learned: he was working at this, too. Death didn’t happen to Steve, he achieved it.
He told me, when he was saying goodbye and telling me he was sorry, so sorry we wouldn’t be able to be old together as we’d always planned, that he was going to a better place.
Dr. Fischer gave him a 50/50 chance of making it through the night.
He made it through the night, Laurene next to him on the bed sometimes jerked up when there was a longer pause between his breaths. She and I looked at each other, then he would heave a deep breath and begin again.
This had to be done. Even now, he had a stern, still handsome profile, the profile of an absolutist, a romantic. His breath indicated an arduous journey, some steep path, altitude.
He seemed to be climbing.
But with that will, that work ethic, that strength, there was also sweet Steve’s capacity for wonderment, the artist’s belief in the ideal, the still more beautiful later.
Steve’s final words, hours earlier, were monosyllables, repeated three times.
Before embarking, he’d looked at his sister Patty, then for a long time at his children, then at his life’s partner, Laurene, and then over their shoulders past them.
Steve’s final words were:
Mona Simpson is a novelist and a professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles. She delivered this eulogy for her brother, Steve Jobs, on Oct. 16 at his memorial service at the Memorial Church of Stanford University.