Posts tagged community

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

Things I’ve picked up on the trail!


When I was a child I remember following my dad down the trail during a walk and I would always look for cool things to pickup along the way. My dad would have to work hard to see what I was seeing and often time he would say, you can’t bring that in the house. To me these sticks and rocks looked like a gun or a grenade, it was valuable and worth collecting but to others it might be just common until they look deeper. That is how I see this blog as well, I hope as I pick up things and show you, it can be inspiring and not just common. So take what you like from this trail and bring it in the house, I’m good with it!

New York City September 19-22
I had the privilege to travel with two great guys to NYC, Dave Runyon and Jay Pathak with one mission in mind, to look and listen together for guidance in our efforts to see Denver, Colorado become a place known for God’s people working together for the “common good” of the city. We choose to gather around an event called “Movement Day” hosted by Tim Keller. Prior to this gathering we attended a one day round table at the American Bible Society to meet with 9 other metro cities who are covenanting together to see a wonderful marriage between the good news and good deeds, the kind of heart and passion only God can give you for a city together with the kind of care and service that is transformational. We were challenged to create a culture where the DNA of a city is curious and willing to look deep enough systemically to find the pockets of hope and despair that needs to be highlighted and brought forward into a redemptive process. It was amazing to hear the reports of two cities which presented to the group, Boston and San Diego. Boston and the faith community have done amazing work in the area of “Applied Research” and helping the faith community engage in the right places to bring about true change. Read about Boston Here San Diego has really seen favor and impact within the business community and has engaged businesses all over to address the city’s needs. Read About San Diego here
We are working together here in the Denver area to see groups of pastors and civic leaders work together to address their city’s primary issues. We are currently reaching out and encouraging people all over the Denver area to keep unifying around the good news and service to the community!

4th Annual Jefferson County Prayer Breakfast October 6th
A friend of mine invited Christian Fiadonu (our prayer center director) and myself to be involved in this year’s prayer breakfast. It was wonderful to see both civic and faith community leaders in prayer for the major concerns of Jefferson County. It opened with the Lakewood Police Department Honor Guard entry, followed by prayer for government by Bill Armstrong from CCU, prayer for our military by Col. Chris Johnson, our families by Lynn Johnson Dir. Of Human Services here in the county, for businesses and the economy by Darryl Hudspeth, youth ministries by Mark Jay our area Young Life Director and the keynote speaker Stephanie Riggs from 94.7 KRKS. It was so good being a part of a collaborate effort of prayer for our county. There will be ongoing prayer opportunities within the county on the first Friday of every month. To see locations and learn more about these efforts, check it out here

Chaplaincy at the Golden Police Department
Many have asked me lately how things are going at the Police Department? It has been going very well in reference to our chaplaincy program. The department has recently hired some new staff in for their dispatch center, records department and as patrol officers. It has been great to see how the command staff has worked hard to prepare these staff members for law enforcement work here in Golden. They take them through a rigorous amount to background work, training and general preparation needed to work at GPD. One the things we have instituted over the last year as chaplains is meeting with new personnel and their family members to prepare them for the unique career they and their families are entering into. We have been doing some training around how to utilize a chaplain and our services to the employee and their families. We talk about keeping home life in check, taking care of yourself, debriefing tough work encounters and the numerous kinds of impacts law enforcement can have on a person and a family. It has been great to see how these new members of the department and their families see it as a healthy part of their journey to connect with a chaplain. There are four chaplains and we all feel very honored to be apart of these wonderful servants lives!

That is it for now, until next time, keep picking up things along the trail and telling people what they mean to you.


“Do you guys have to pay to do this” Neighborhood Rehabilitation Outcome part 2


September 10th was a great success. The day started with 80+ volunteers and several homeowners from the neighborhood gathering for a look at the scope of the project, a safety talk and prayer. In the middle of the talk a young boy from the neighborhood raised his hand to ask a question and said, “do you guys have to pay to do this”? This is when I realized it was a profound opportunity to be a volunteer in the midst of our city. This young man saw from the beginning a chance to serve that was valuable and worth while. The crowd broke out in laughter and I explained to the boy that we were here to volunteer and care for people because we love our city.
This boy spent much of the day passing out cold water to the workers, asking to run the power tools, yikes…and just talking to people.

The volunteers went on to refurbish seven decks, paint the exterior 4 houses, landscape, tree trim and much more. There were 35 different work sites being addressed and rehabbed. I was so proud of the Together Church volunteers, attitudes were amazing, people went above and beyond! The food provided by a few ladies from the church was so good and well done. The Golden City Parks Department came by later in the week and chipped up all the tree trimmings. EDS Waste solutions donated a huge roll off dumpster and portable restroom at their cost. This was truly a collaborative effort! Thanks to all who contributed financially, in your time and with materials!

This coming Saturday we have our second of three groups coming through to continue the project. These volunteers are coming all the way from Westcliff, Colorado to serve. They plan to do some more painting, deck refurbishing and general remodeling. Following them October 9th we will be partnering with Faith Luthuren Church of Golden and the Golden Home Depot to complete the project and leave this square block changed from the inside out.

The greatest joy we are experiencing in these endeavors is the relationships that are being established in this part of North Golden between the volunteers and the homeowners. It has been so good working with these folks and seeing so many hands make the burden light. Let’s together continue to see where we can serve and make a lasting difference in the city!