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In the wake of so much tragedy, my best friend, Paul Haugen has released a song that he wrote a few months ago. It is meant to bring hope and inspire and I pray it does those things for you. Enjoy.

“I wrote this song a few months ago after the divisiveness on my Facebook feed had reached a high point. I had this sense in me that in spite of all of our differences and strongly held beliefs there was and is a connective tissue that holds us together; that there’s this thing inside of us that makes us so much better together than we could ever be apart. I believe that connective tissue is hope. I think we all want better. We all want change. We just are really bad at listening sometimes. I remembered a time in my life where I felt safe and I really want that for my kids. What really scared me was thinking about how long it had been since I felt that way and the thought that my kids might grow up in a world without that feeling of safety. I wanted to write this as my stake in the ground declaring that I believe we can be more; that we can be better. So this is me hoping that we find a way to love one another and maybe find a little bit of hope.” – Paul Haugen

 

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.

Here’s episode 6. It took me a couple of weeks to get around to posting it, but here it is. My #FiatFriday videos and other Go.Do videos will be slowing down in releases for the summer. It’s just because I’m doing stuff, ya know? And there’s something really big and exciting happening in our family… which you will hear about in due time. How’s that for suspension?

In this vlog I talk about:

In this episode, we go to the Fresno Chafee Zoo with 3 other families and we are completely outnumbered. Have you ever tried to herd 14 kids through a zoo? It’s a little crazy. Josiah’s favorite part was Sting-Ray Bay. It’s awesome because you can pet the sting-rays and some sharks too! We’ll be back next week, since we bought a family pass, to shoot a video for a school project. Enjoy and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more regular updates.

This year, Easter was a little crazier than usual. We put on our 3rd annual community-wide  FREE BBQ and Easter Egg Hunt at Dry Creek Park in Clovis, CA and people showed up in droves. The first year, it was basically for Two Cities Church. The second year we were able to invite a couple of hundred people to participate with us, but this year… this year was a different ball game. This year well over 800 people, maybe even 1000, came out to the hunt and it clarified for us that this event is for the community and not at all for our church. So next year, we’ll have that mindset as we enter into it.

Our kids walked away from that hunt with ZERO eggs, because it wasn’t about us. So we had a little hunt at a family gathering and then a third at our friend’s house. Here’s a short video highlighting all three from our Go.Do Youtube Vlog. Subscribe to the YouTube channel for more regular videos.

 

In this episode, Josiah and I explore Woodward Park in Fresno, Ca. It cost us $5 to drive in, but you can always park across the street and walk, run or bike into the park itself. Subscribe to our channel and see more Go.Do videos!

Your local public park can be a great source of adventure. Most people take their kids and sit on a bench while their kids play. They (we… I’m guilty too) use the time to catch up on email or Facebook. But what if we helped their imagination bloom? What if we became part of their games? What if we participated with them? We’re making these YouTube videos to encourage people to play together and Go Do Something. Life is actually pretty amazing and my kids are growing up fast, so I’m trying to be more proactive in enjoying each day with them. Sometimes it’s little and simple and sometimes it’ll be bigger, but it’s something.

What kinds of things do you do with your kids to create memories together?

 

 

In our second episode on Go.Do, our new YouTube channel, we go to a brand new pet store in Fresno called Lost Realms Pets. It’s awesome and you should go! Check it out:

 

THE PROBLEM WITHWhat’s the real problem with Fresno?

I grew up here and I grew up hearing your words. In many ways, your words have shaped what the people who grow up here, think about here. Do any of these statements sound familiar?

  • Ugh, it’s just so hot! I hate it here!
  • The only way to survive is to never go outside.
  • Fresno is the armpit of California.
  • Nothing good comes from Fresno.
  • Fresno, the drunkest city in California.
  • Fresno, the meth capital of the world.
  • I can’t wait to graduate and get out of Fresno!

And maybe you graduated and left. But like many of us, maybe you found yourself being pulled back by a gravity you did not understand. And maybe you acted on that gravity or maybe you stay away. Either way…

We need to change our verbage for the next generation. If we continue to talk about how hot it is, how miserable, how awful Fresno is, the best and the brightest will pick up on our scorn and they will leave and they will take their talent and their insight and their drive with them. They will build and contribute to the economy, the industry, the art, the humanity, and the aid of some other people in some other place.

I lived in Malibu for five years and Sonoma County for almost four years and surprisingly, I met a lot of people from the Fresno and the Central Valley area. At the church I worked at in Santa Rosa, we joked about how so many good people come from the Fresno area. We routinely said, “All good things come through Fresno.”

Now, since I’ve moved back and lived here for four years, I’m in love with our cities, with Fresno and with Clovis. There’s so much to love. From a great education, to a police chief that talks to the people and pleads with them to make wise choices, to a mayor who desperately believes in the revitalization of our downtown area, to local restaurants trying to make a genuine impact, not just a dollar. And the list goes on…

I’m not saying we’re perfect, far from it, but we have a strong community and we’ve got people working hard to make a real impact on our problems. People like Feed Our Future Fresno and the Pinedale Impact Center (more on this later).

So, back to my original question, “What’s the real problem with Fresno?” Well, it might be how you think about it.

If you’re going to continue to contribute to the defamation of Fresno, you should probably go find some place to live that you’ll be proud of. I mean it, we don’t have the water or the jobs to support you, so go find someplace that does. Life is too short to live in a place you despise. What’s holding you back? Sell everything, uproot and go. I don’t want my kids to grow up hearing about how awful you think their hometown is. I want them to love it and be motivated to contribute to it. We don’t need to be defeatists, we need to be optimistic and hopeful.

So if you plan on being here, let’s make here the best here it can be.

Let’s be generous and lend a hand to the things that need fixing.
Let’s be active and positive about the future of our great cities.
Let’s be educated and proud of our heritage.
Let’s be supportive and loving to the disenfranchised and marginalized.
Let’s do the things we know we need to do to make our cities even better.

My family and I moved back here to contribute and partake. That’s what being a good citizen is about. You add value to your environment and you engage in the richness of its culture.

But here’s my hunch; a high percentage of you who will move away in the coming months and years, you’ll find yourself in a similar situation, a similar mindset as you have here. You may like the summer temperature in your new location or even the air quality. Those things might be significantly better for you, but in a year or two you’ll find yourself complaining again. The complaints may not be the same, but they will linger. Because your attitude about your city is more about your attitude than your city. Changing your perspective, changes your life and you don’t have to move cities to do that. You may have to move away from relationships or situations, but you may not have to leave your city.

Feel free to disagree, but I love these two cities and I think you should too.


Related Content: 8 Things I learned about Fresno from @HiddenCash