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Two Cities: GROW 2018

December 8, 2017 — Leave a comment

Dear Two Cities Family and Extended Family,

I can’t believe 2017 is almost over! We’ve seen so much happen in the life of Two Cities Church over the past year, with the single most significant thing being the people who have gone public with their faith through baptism.

Let’s recap some of the things we’ve experienced over the course of 2017:

  • We baptized Timothy Salcedo, Trisha Route, Noah Shepherd, Hope Shepherd, Brittany Williams, Gabriel Williams, Madison Mckenna, Jessica McGrail and Desire Mendoza!
  • We’ve had more guests over the past year than our previous two combined.
  • More than 60 people participated in Community Groups throughout the year and we’ve experienced community like never before by hosting the weekly After Party.
  • We’ve given over $600 in aid for the victims of the Santa Rosa fires to get everyday essentials while they put their lives back together.
  • We’ve raised over $1,800 to benefit City Without Orphans.
  • We’ve pledged to volunteer over 100 hours to several other community non-profits.
  • The Who Needs God? series created a social media buzz that brought guests who were Christians and had given up on church, atheists and skeptics to explore faith.

We are accomplishing our mission and I want to thank you for being a part of it. As you know, our mission is to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and it doesn’t stop with those already in the room. Our mission actually expands to every one of our relational networks, as our vision continues to be a church that unchurched people love to attend.

The #1 question I get these days is some variation of this: “How do we grow from here?”

The reason, as you are very aware, people ask this question is because our rooms are full. We had two services for a season to accommodate that, but that cut the energy and bodies in the room by almost half for each service. Also, capacity for our kids is an issue. It gets really crowded in Waumba Land and UpStreet.

So, for the sake of our financial health and to enable us to grow, we are moving on. Our Board, Stewardship Team and Leadership Team have searched the options and we all unanimously agree that the place that gives us the best visibility, financial stability and options for growth is the Clovis Veterans Memorial District Building, 808 4th St, Clovis, CA 93612… where we launched the church!

What does this mean?

  • Using a different arrangement of rooms than we have previously, we will be saving the church around $3,000, just in facility related costs, every month. That’s big for us!
  • Our Road Crew needs to beef back up because we’re going portable, but we’re thinking creatively on how to streamline and make the process easier and faster.
  • Our first Sunday at The Vet will be January 7, 2018 and our final Sunday at our current space will be the morning of Christmas Eve. We will not have a service on December 31.
  • We will take the week after Christmas to move our gear out and put the building back into the condition it was when we moved in.

Our goal is to raise $20,000 through this campaign to cover our moving costs, refresh some of our portable environments and start to build up our reserves again.

Please consider how you can contribute to our end-of-year GROW 2018 campaign. As a registered 501(c)3 non-profit corporation, every dime you donate is eligible for you to use as a charitable tax-deductible gift on your 2017 tax returns. Here’s how to give:

  1. Give online through eGive
  2. Smart Giving: Text “GROW (insert the amount here) to (559) 745-7009
  3. Mail a Check made out to Two Cities Church, with GROW in the memo:
    Two Cities Church
    1865 Herndon Ave K304
    Clovis, CA 93611

Sincerely,

Micah Foster, Lead Pastor

micah@twocities.church

You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 2 Corinthians 9:11

There are many myths we live by that God never ordained. Honestly, I’m still discovering them. They’re just things that unknowingly become ingrained into us without us ever making an active decision to accept it as truth. Things we might have grown up thinking, by inference, not necessarily teaching. It’s what wasn’t said, sometimes, that impacts us more than what was.

One of those myths is what I call…

The Perfection Before Presence Myth

Here’s the basic idea.

  • I know I’m not perfect, I’m a sinner.
  • My sin separates me from God.
  • I want to follow Jesus, but…
  • In order to approach Him, or be in His presence, I need to turn my life around… be perfect.
  • Once I get my life straightened out, I will be able to truly follow Jesus and approach God.

You’re probably looking at that saying, “That’s so wrong” or “Yep, that’s me” and maybe you’re saying both at the same time, because there’s this tension we don’t know how to resolve.

Last night I went to the Fresno County Juvenile Hall with people from several different churches, including Two Cities Church, to put on a Christmas Party for the boys currently living there. The situations and life track many of these boys are on, are heart-breaking. Many of them have been in there 2 or 3 times and one young man I spoke with is in for the 9th time! Can you imagine that, 9 times?

While talking to one of them about their belief in God, he said, “I want to follow God, but I’ve gotta get my life together first.”

I said, “That’s a common misunderstanding. The fact of the matter is, none of us, volunteers, are here because we were able to get our lives together. We’re here because we gave our broken and messy lives to Jesus. And Jesus has been cleaning house.” 

He didn’t understand, as most of us don’t, God isn’t up there handing out judgement, he’s handing out mercy. The reason this young man was in there is because of robbery. I reminded him that God’s mercy has already been on him because all it takes is on citizen with a concealed weapon, all it takes is one person willing to shoot one bullet and he’d be dead.

You can’t get clean and then come to God, you’ve got to come to God to get clean. The walls of the church won’t cave in on you if you show up with your life in shambles. Don’t let the enemy of your soul convince you otherwise. Here’s the truth.

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17 NLT

So here’s the truth…

  • I know I’m not perfect, I’m a sinner.
  • My sin separates me from God.
  • I want to follow Jesus, so…
  • I approach Him to surrender my life to Him.
  • He loves me, accepts me and cleans me so that I can fulfill the true purpose He has for me.
  • I am an adopted, royal-child of God, co-heir to the throne and there’s nothing that can take that away.

What myths do you accidentally live by? Are those myths holding you back from truly living a life of freedom?

 

At Two Cities Church, when we say our mission is to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, what you’ve got to understand is that’s not an easy thing. There’s often pain involved.

It’s like learning to swim. This summer we welcomed a foster-son into our home. This little 3-year-old boy, in the month and a half he’s been with us, has learned to swim! He wore floaties a handful of times, but doesn’t want them anymore. He actually never really did want them. He would get into the water and immediately want them off. So I’d take them off and he’d shove off from the step. Well, what happened?

He sank.

Thankfully, he held his breath and I was right there with him. I can always see when his eyes go from, “I’m doing it!” and transition to “Uh oh!” And that’s when I’d bring him up and he gasped for air. But he learned quick!

My point is, before we grow, we often experience some sort of pain and we might even have a panic in our yes, but God is right there and he knows when we need to be pulled out and when to push us a little so that we can grow our capacity for holding our breath.

Whatever pain your experiencing, God is growing you in some way. He’s growing your…
  • capacity for empathy
  • trust
  • skills in managing something small, so you can handle something bigger
  • parenting patience (Am I right?)
  • and many other things

And the amazing thing is, one day what you’re struggling so hard with, if you face it again, you’ll fly through it with greater ease.

I mean, when you finally learned to swim, it was amazing… it’s like flying, through water. It’s gliding, it’s smooth and easy movement… you’re no longer frantic or flailing. You understand physics, buoyancy, and the mechanics of how to move through the water with minimal effort.

Think of it this way. God gives you more than you can currently handle, contrary to popular belief, so that you will lean on Him and he’ll grow you.

Timothy was baptized at Two Cities on Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017 by his father, Gilbert.

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Trisha was baptized at Two Cities on Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017 by her ex-sister-in-law. She shares her beautiful story and baptism in the video below.

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Baptism: Allison Schindler

October 29, 2016 — 2 Comments

Allison was baptized at Two Cities on October 16, 2016. She is a student at Clovis High School and a volunteer with our UpStreet kids.

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thank-you-for-changing-my-view-on-what-church-can-be

Two Cities Church just hit our Two Year Anniversary at the beginning of October. If you’ve been tracking with us for very long you may be asking, “Wait, it’s been like 4 1/2 years since you started talking about Two Cities Church.” You’re right. We spent just over two years building our team before holding regular services, before officially launching. So it’s been two years since we launched every week services, that’s when we were born.

I get calls and emails from would-be church-planters asking about our experience and I love talking to them. It really fills my cup when I can pour out whatever I’ve learned through this process and what I’ve learned from others. So if that’s you, don’t think, “Oh, he’s probably too busy to talk to me.” I’d love to talk with you.

Every few months I write a post about why it, church planting, is worth it. These are moments of clarity. These are events or WINS that help redefine and underscore why what we’re doing matters and I got an email last week that reminded me and our entire team why we work so hard to create a church that unchurched people would love to attend. Here’s a portion of that email:

Attending your church was an amazing experience. I’m feeling a little lost and in a weird place in my life right now. When [my friend] was struggling, she found Two Cities Church and I saw the difference that you made in her life. On Saturday night when she asked me if I wanted to go to church with her, I was hesitant. I was born and raised Catholic but I struggle with some of the stories and beliefs. I haven’t practiced my faith in a long time because I felt that Mass was always so somber and I also wasn’t sure what I truly believe in. [My friend] described your church to me and it was so different from my past experiences. She convinced me to attend. I am so glad that I did. The love, sex, and dating topic is something that I can actually relate to. Your talk really resonated with me. Two Cities is a wonderful, supportive, caring group of people. Being in the weird place that I am in life right now, I feel that a group like yours is exactly what will help. Thank you for changing my view on what church can be :).

That right there. That’s why we do what we do and that’s why church planting and creating churches that unchurched people love to attend matters.

That’s the mission. That’s a win.

If you wish you could bring your skeptical-haven’t-practiced-my-faith-in-a-long-time-friends to church with you. I got some good news, there’s a bunch of churches around the world trying to be a place, just like that. And if there’s not one in your area… start one.

See where they are here: North Point Network Churches.

MicahFoster.net
It wasn’t too long ago that I was having a conversation with someone who was upset that we were baptizing someone. When I inquired why, they said that this person was:

  • Not really a Christian
  • They were still sinning
  • They didn’t know enough about God
  • They didn’t know enough about the Bible
  • and so on…

I couldn’t help but chuckle a little, knowing this person pretty well and the fact that these things could easily be said about them as well. And I simply said this…

“Big scandal, we’re baptizing sinners!”

Needless to say, they did not like my response too much. But it’s true. At Two Cities Church we believe that every person matters and we believe there’s only one who’s ever been perfect, Jesus. We are made perfect in Him, not on our own. If we waited until every person stopped sinning, and had enough knowledge of God and the Bible for them to begin following Jesus, we’d have no church… anywhere… globally. Think about that for a second.

If you waited until you had stopped sinning, cleaned yourself up and had all the knowledge you could ever know about God, Jesus and the Bible– you’d be dead before you could follow Jesus. You can spend your whole life trying to be perfect enough for God, or you can confess your imperfectness and be made perfect through the grace of Jesus Christ.

When Simon (Peter) first came into contact with Jesus he said, “Go away from me, Lord; for I am a sinful man!” (Luke 5:8). Peter later confesses that Jesus is the Messiah, the son of God and Jesus says that upon that confession he will build his church (Matthew 16:13-20).

You think you’re too big of a sinner to follow Jesus? So did Peter. Don’t put it off any longer and don’t judge someone else’s effort to follow, begin with you and begin to follow because God’s grace is a huge scandal and it’s a scandal you need.

Rachel Lewis is a Student Impact volunteer at Two Cities Church. She’s a student at Buchanan High School and this is the story of how she searched for and found Two Cities online. Came with her mom and eventually decided to be baptized. Here’s her story:

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I got my family back.

January 6, 2016 — 1 Comment

Missy McGrail has an amazing story of how she got her family back. Missy started hanging around Two Cities Church just over a year ago and now she serves as one of our Guest Services captains and her kids serve in our children’s ministry environments every-other-week. They are now a vital part of our church family. It is because of stories like these that we continue to push forward the mission and vision of Two Cities Church, to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and create a church that unchurched people would love to attend.

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