Posts Tagged ‘mars hill church’

On October 14th it was announced that Mark Driscoll had resigned as Lead Pastor of Mars Hill Church. Then on November 9th it was announced that Mars Hill Church in Huntington Beach would be dissolving at the end of 2014. These announcements grieved my soul to the core and have left me in tears each and every day. For me, Mars Hill Church wasn’t a church I read about online or gossiped about with people who had never been part of Mars Hill. For the last 3 1/2 years, Mars Hill Church has been my church, my family, and a place where I have experienced so much of God’s grace.

My Experience
While I know that many people have been hurt by Mars Hill Church, and many people have had bad experiences at Mars Hill Church, this just wasn’t my experience. I am certainly not trying to diminish what some people have been through. I believe that the leadership of Mars Hill did sin against many people and my prayer is that at some point there will be repentance and reconciliation for those who have sinned and were sinned against. I wanted to write this to share my experience and have this serve as a reminder and an encouragement for those of us who did not have a bad experience to rightly remember our time at Mars Hill and remember all we saw Jesus do in us, through us, and in our midst. My time at Mars Hill was nothing but a blessing and full of God’s grace.

When I showed up to Mars Hill 3 years ago, I was a broken, prideful, arrogant, poor example of a man claiming to be a follower of Jesus Christ. I had hurt many women that I was in romantic relationships with because of my inability to be a godly man and treat them as they ought to be treated, but God used the preaching of Mark Driscoll and the men of Mars Hill Church to help me see my sin, repent of it, and set my life in a new direction. For this, I am eternally grateful.

I had led various ministries and groups over the years and had become extremely prideful and arrogant, thinking I was God’s gift to the church. When I came to Mars Hill, I was taken aback by the humility of the Pastors and leaders of the church, how they continually pointed me to Jesus, and Jesus humbled me through those men as I watched them lead our church and lead their families. For this, I am eternally grateful.

Prior to coming to Mars Hill, I would have told you I knew the gospel, but it just wasn’t true. Sure, I knew that Jesus had died for all my sins when He was crucified on the cross, but there is so much more. God used Mars Hill Church to help me see that the gospel is the lens in which I must look at everything. That my past, present, and future sins have all been paid for by Jesus on the cross. For this, I am eternally grateful.

The Fruit
I have seen Jesus do miraculous things in the last 3 years, both in my life and in the lives of those around me. Not just people I knew well, but in countless people I didn’t know at all. There was rarely a Sunday gathering, a meeting, or people from church hanging out on the weekends where you wouldn’t hear a story of God’s grace and mercy in someone’s life at Mars Hill. I watched over 100 people get baptized. I watched countless single men in their early 20’s sacrificially serve the church, lead community groups, keep their pants on, and grow in their relationship with Jesus. I watched young men date and marry godly women in a way that honored the Lord and the gal. I watched countless men humbly lead their wives, their children, and our church. It was a beautiful thing to see.

As for me, it is hard to describe all the Lord has done in my life through Mars Hill Church. The gift of confession and repentance was given to me through Mars Hill Church and it had a profound impact on every area of my life. I have grown in my understanding of the gospel in such a way that I don’t know how I ever lived without it. I could literally go on and on with stories of God’s grace and mercy in our little church family in the short 3 1/2 years we were together. Here are two stories I will share. They are two of the greatest things Jesus has done in my life and they both came through the ministry of Mars Hill Church.

One Sunday morning I noticed this stunningly beautiful woman standing at the entrance of the church greeting people as they walked in. I literally couldn’t keep my eyes off of her. I asked a few of the gals at church who she was and quickly realized that this was not just a beautiful woman, but a godly woman who was way out of my league. I was soon introduced to her and found my assumptions to be more than true…. this was the most beautiful and godly woman I had ever met. It took me well over a year to finally get enough courage to ask her out. Her name is Jen and she is now my wife. She is the most godly, beautiful, sweet, and humble woman you will ever meet. I sometimes kick myself in the rear for not asking her out sooner! I mean, what in the world was I waiting for, right? Time and time again, the Lord has been faithful in showing me that I wasn’t ready for marriage. There were so many areas of my life and in my heart that Jesus wanted to do some work. Now I, of course, have not arrived at some pinnacle place in life nor have I been sanctified to the point where I am deserving of my wife… But it was God’s grace that Jesus did a work in me before I ever asked Jen on a date and changed me in the deepest places of my heart before I married her. I am thankful for the way Jesus worked through the men and women of Mars Hill Church to help me prepare for marriage and to better understand the meaning of marriage.

A year and a half ago my little sister fell on hard times. It was really the lowest point of her life, as she had nothing and was going to be living on the streets any day. All she had known was a life of drugs and trying to come up wherever she could. I let her move in with me and began to see her changing for the better almost immediately. A few of the girls in my community group started inviting her out with them and spending time with her. Realistically, this was the first time in a long time that my sister had been away from the drugs and around people who didn’t do them. I could literally see a smile on my sister’s face everyday that I had never seen before. Then while I was on one of my trips to Seattle for school, I got a phone call from my sister that she wanted to get baptized! The girls from my community group took her to church that Sunday and she put her faith in Jesus, then three weeks later I got to baptize my sister! She has been off of drugs ever since and is doing amazing! I am one proud brother to see my sister doing so well and I am so thankful for the grace of God in my sister’s life.

Let Us Remember Gods Grace
My hope in writing this post is that the people of Mars Hill Huntington Beach will rightly remember all we saw Jesus do in the last 3 years. My prayer is that as the months and years pass, we would look back on our time at Mars Hill not as a dark time, but a time where we saw the grace of God on a daily basis. Let us write down for ourselves all we saw Jesus do in our lives and in the lives of those around us. Share it with others from our church, talk about it amongst our families, tell the stories to our kids, talk about it often, praise Jesus for it all… because it was grace upon grace. Most of all, remember that we have a faithful God who sent his Son to save us, bringing us to Himself, and that He is faithful to complete the work He began in us. Amen.

The day I asked Jen to marry me


The joy of getting to baptize my sister


Riverside Community Group


Sending out a dear friend to LA from our community


Orange community group with 30+ people


Praying over new leaders as we started 3 new community groups in Orange



The breakup
Several months ago I was asked why my x-girlfriend and I had broken up. I explained that it wasn’t because of any sin, there was no animosity between us, and that we are actually still friends. Matter of fact, I went on to explain why she was such an amazing girl, but ended with saying that she is an amazing girl for someone else. I had ended the relationship because I felt that our lives were going in different directions and that The Lord had placed much different callings on our lives. The Lord has burdened my heart for cross cultural missions, church planting, and adoption. These are things she had never considered. Not because she was complacent or not a godly woman, but as a single gal, those things are very out of reach and hard to do being single so they were hard to become a reality for her. But at the time, I came to the conclusion that we should break up because of our different passions and callings.

My sin
The truth of the matter is that I was in sin. The most important calling in my life is not to be a missionary, its not to become an adoptive parent, and its not to be a church planter. The highest calling on my life is to make much of Jesus, to be a reflection of his glory to the world, and to worship him in every part of my life. Not only is this my highest calling, its the very thing I was created for. Somehow I had lost sight of that. Instead of worshipping Jesus, I was worshipping what I wanted to do for Jesus. I had placed my desires to be a missionary, a church planter, and an adoptive parent, as more important than fulfilling the very thing I was created for…. to glorify Jesus and make his name great. So when I considered the relationship I was in, I justified breaking it off with her because I wanted a girl who would help me worship doing things for God, instead of worshipping God himself. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I was in sin against God, and against his daughter.

Repentance and reconciliation
During the same time as my friend having this conversation with me, I was having conversations with my Pastors about planting a church in Riverside and going through the process to become a Pastor. It was in these conversations with my Pastors, being pursued by other leaders in the church, and much time in prayer, that I was able to see how I had lost track of what life was all about…. to worship Jesus and make his name great.
As I came to see things more clearly I became aware of a deep sin I had committed. I had broken up with an amazing girl because of my inability to see what was most important in life. I didn’t use these exact words, but when I broke it off with her I basically told her, “we can’t be together because you are not good enough. I want a girl who is just like me so that I don’t have to make any sacrifices. A girl who will help me worship myself and accomplish all the things I feel The Lord wants me to do”. I was cut to the heart and flat out broken. Broken over the fact that I had sinned against God and sinned against this wonderful woman. I spent weeks in agony over it and literally in tears every single day. I had taken it before The Lord and in his grace and mercy he of course forgave me. I knew I needed to confess my sin to Jen and ask her to forgive me.
I had finally come to a point where I couldn’t handle the weight of my sin against Jen any longer and asked her to meet with me. The day I met up with her was one of the worst days of my life. My stomach was tied in knots, I couldn’t eat, and I was so scatter brained I could barely put a though together. I picked her up and we went to a nearby park where we could talk in private. I shared with her all my sins against God I had come to realize in the weeks prior. Then I confessed to her all of the sins I had committed against her. I let her be honest with me about how I had sinned against her. As she responded I quickly realized that I had caused way more hurt and committed way more sin against her than I could have ever imagined. We both just sat there in tears. Me broken over my sin, and her broken over the hurt I had caused because of my sin. Being the kind, sweet, loving, godly woman that she is, she of course forgave me. I didn’t just meet up with her to confess my sin and ask her to forgive me, I was there to reconcile our relationship. I honestly just can’t imagine life without her. After hours of talking through everything, hours of tears, prayer, and her soft heart, she was kind enough to give me another chance!

A celebration
A few months have now passed by and things have been amazing between the two of us. We have worked through all of the things from our past and things are better than we could have ever imagined. We are closer than ever, there is more trust than ever, and we can both see how Jesus used all of this for good. Not just for our good, but more importantly for his glory. Jen is the most kind hearted, sweet, loving, giving, generous, smart, and God-fearing woman I have ever met. There is simply nothing better than worshipping Jesus with her each and every day. She is truly a gift from The Lord. A few weeks ago I did something I wish I had done a long time ago….. I asked her to marry me and she said yes!!!!!

A love story, not just of Jen and I, but of The Lord for Jen and I
In the title I led you to believe you would read a love story and that is what this is. Not just a love story between Jen and I, but a love story of Jesus relentless pursuit of me. Jen and I were broken up for 8 months before I was able to see my sin. Was The Lord slow to convict me of my sin and lead me to repentance? Of course not! But because of his great love for me, he was patient with me and extended grace to me until I was at a place of repentance. As I look back now I can see how the Holy Spirit was convicting me months ago and how I was being led to repentance the whole time. The gift of confession, repentance, and reconciliation is Gods greatest gift to me as it has allowed me to be engaged to the love of my life, but more importantly it has allowed me to be reconciled to the creator of all things, the giver of life, the example of love and grace…. My Lord Jesus Christ.



Today I am realizing that one of Gods greatest gifts to me has been the men who are leading my church. I am just overwhelmed by God’s grace in providing Elders to lead his church. They have been such great examples of what it looks like to be humble leaders and servant leaders, while at the same time fully exercising the authority God has given to them as leaders……. Just as The Lord Jesus did. There is something so profound about having Godly men in my life who have been so faithful in serving Jesus, their families, and our church. I trust them with every aspect of my life, even with the very breath in my lungs. I don’t trust them because they are perfect and without flaws, I trust them because they have given their lives to following a perfect God… the man Christ Jesus. I know that they care more about my well being, than I care about it myself at times. Their lives reflect nothing except for the fact that Jesus has saved them from their sins and because of Jesus saving grace they are compelled to live differently, to love differently, to no longer live for themselves, but to live for Christ. In the midst of celebrating the great things Jesus is doing in our church, they just keep boasting in the cross! In the midst of tough situations, sin, and conflict…. they just keep boasting in the cross! They just keep pointing to Jesus!! It is all about Jesus!! I am eternally grateful for the impact these men have had on my life and the life of those around me. I can’t help but follow them as they follow Jesus….. because it is Jesus I follow and it is Jesus I trust.

I want to encourage those of you in a church to submit yourselves to your Elders, serve them, and follow them as they follow Jesus. If your not in a church I want to encourage you to find one. I know there are many messed up churches out there but there is also no such thing as a perfect church. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. The Church belongs to Jesus, he loves his church, he died for his church, and the church is beautiful. There is simply nothing like it. If you need help finding a church I would love to help. If you have questions about church please don’t hesitate to ask me I would love to help in any way that I can.

I woke up this morning just overwhelmed by the generosity of Jesus through His people. A few months ago when they first started announcing that Re:train Re:train website check it out was starting soon I knew I wanted to go. I took it to The Lord in prayer and I got a clear answer of YES! I was so excited to get to attend the classes but almost immediately realized that I really can’t afford it. But i knew that the Lord told me yes, so I applied and was accepted. My buddy John from Mars Hill also found himself in the same situation. He knew The Lord was telling him to go but didn’t know where the money was going to come from. In faith he also applied and was accepted.

Two weeks ago we get an email from one of the admins in Seattle telling us that a family is going to let us stay at their house the entire time free of charge! Praise Jesus! This saved us a ton of money. Then 3 days ago the same family decided to postpone selling their extra car so that we could use it while we Were in Seattle. Praise Jesus! Yet again, this saved us a ton of money that we really didn’t have to spend.

My buddy John was going to meet up with a lady from Mars Hill in Seattle to buy an Apple laptop from her. She was selling it for $600 dollars but agreed to sell it to him for $400 to help him out, knowing that he needed it for retrain. John was stoked she was going to sell it for so cheap. Yesterday morning when we arrived to pick it up, the lady gives it to him for free! She prayed about it the night before and she said that Jesus told her to give it to him. John is tearing up. He calls his wife and she spent the morning crying. When I thought things couldn’t get crazier, we find out that the lady who gave him the laptop is in the midst of her own financial hardship. Her husband lost his job and she is now working 2 jobs to help make ends meet. She needs the money but still found herself knowing that she was suppose to give the laptop away.

I’m just overwhelmed by the generosity of Jesus through the hands of His people. The people of Mars Hill have been so generous. We are able to be generous because Jesus has been so generous to use. He gave us the most amazing gift of salvation and He has blessed up more than we could have ever imagined. Lets be a people marked by our love and generosity. Not because we have to, but because we get too. We get to be a generous people because we have a generous God. We get to be a generous people because of what Jesus did on the cross on our place. In Jesus we have more than we could ever ask for.