Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Church as a Safe Place for a Fellowship of the Broken (which is all of us).

Birthday Breakfast Bible Study on II Peter 1:3-11 a Real Experience of Fellowship for us...
I am concerned that we have developed a culture that is fixated on Sex and Gender while failing profoundly in intimacy and love.
in contrast...

I John 1 is about the kind of fellowship that puts God at the center -- humble, honest, and healing... In the whole book of I John the words light & love are inter-changable for agape' love, and as my Orthodox friends would say... "Love rightly held in the heart is an expression of the energies of God and is part of God's very presence with us". It is God's presence that we desire and this is what is most desired in the Christian understanding of "Fellowship".

God centered love... "Agape' " is focused on the ultimate good of the other. or as my friend and mentor Dr. James Loder use to say, "Love is the non-posessive delight in the uniqueness of another". While orgastic pleasures have a place in culture... it should not be the center piece of any culture because it will create patterns of binding and bondage rather than freedom. It is the truth that love does not turn the other into an object to be possessed that is essential to being in relationship with one another... that makes agape' love what it is... Even "my wife" does not want to be treated like an object. She is a person of profound value and worth. And we together never escape the presence of God who is with us always and wants to be included in all of our intimacies.

Instead of creating environments that nourishes being... we have created environments that encourage consumption and focuses on desires... even love is something to be consumed in what ever flavors you want it to be packaged in... The idea of abstaining for the good of the other is alien to our current cultural climate. The idea of the gift of celibacy for the sake of love feel like it belongs to another time or era and needs to be reclaimed by the church.

Thus...
We have created an environment that violates the core Biblical principles of protecting those who are most vulnerable among us...
(symbolically seen in scripture as the "Orphan and the Widow" and Jesus' use of the word "Children") and instead we have supercharged our social environment with a culture of sexuality that increasingly promotes it as something to be consumed.
Without reguard to sex, gender, or personal preferences ... our current pattern of over focus on the wrong things will not lead to the satisfaction and peace that only God can provide. The most valuable realities of life can not be bought or sold.

Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit.

What we need in general is not more sex... but less... and far more selective and limited in scope. A hug should be a safe gesture. A look should be an invitation into friendship. It is hard to imagine in our culture the idea of a "Holy Kiss". We need more healthy touch and less sexualized touch.
Can we create an environment in our communities that is safe for those who have experienced sex as a form of violence? Human trafficking, the trade of humans as objects to feed our consumer society, is on the rise... in our current cultural ways of being... and this trafficking is most commonly for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Can we stop this?

This is where I believe the church needs to draw the line and why sexual exploitation is the human slavery issue of our time... this is also why sexaul abuse inside the church is such a violation. We are to be a safe place for those who are broken...

Jesus was most gentle with those he encountered who were broken by sexual brokenness. He never promoted it or encourage more sexuality... rather he engage in humanizing the people who were otherwise defined by this brokenness.

Biblical reality measures the health of cultural patterns by the fruit that transpires through them for 3 or more Generations and by the blessedness it is to others. Ask the question... will through this ... will all the nations be "blessed"? The truth of each of our live will actually play out in history... and the generations after us will be faced with whatever we actually live. Will love remain? Will we have an ecological environment that promotes physical, emotional, and spiritual health? When the answer is no... we are called to developing a pattern of profound repentance. We must start with ourselves and become the pattern of change we hope to share with others. To do otherwise is hypocrisy.

The patterns of Friendship and fellowship that we so desperately need... needs to learn from the wisdom of I John and transcend our current patterns of consumerized friendships. It will have to start with all of us being able to face our brokenness together and to stop trying to pretend to be any better than anyone else. Hypocrisy falls when humility rises. God persists in the light that exposes us all for who we really are... and we all need God's healing grace desperately... to think otherwise is simply a form of self-deception. (I John 1:8)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

When I was young. I learned a lot about sales from two groups. Amway & Cutco. Both taught me about the value of a social network and sales. Many of the folks that live in the Westlake / Pico-union area have had their social networks damaged by things that have gennerated miss-trust.

It both encourages me to see what Father Greg Boyle has going and discourages me that our culture values a lot of things over people.

http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-0126-lopez-homeboy-20140126,0,3300815.column

Father Greg often says "Nothing Stops a Bullet like a Job". This is true and quite dramatic. I would add... Nothing gets a person out of depression like meaningful work with some kind of dignity. That is what we are trying to do here as part of the La IC Book Collective.

If you want to buy Amway and need a source for their products contact Andy A Hernandez.

If you need a book and would like help finding it... and are willing to pay a fair market price for the book. Give us a try... Contact me at: Jtierwat@earthlink.net   We are learning to be book scouts and we have access to millions of titles now. Wow... it is amazing to be able to say this with confidence.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Holiday News from J&J in LA


 
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Dear Friends,                                                                                     December 2013

Advent greetings. This year marks Jude’s 25th, and John 20th year in ministry in Los Angeles. We certainly never expected to be here this long, but this city has become home, a place we have come to love, the context where we share our lives and God’s grace.
A snapshot from the neighborhood:
The LA IC Book Collective has continued to serve our neighborhood through providing books in various locations, mostly in quiet ways. One place where they give books is at the Day Laborer Center, operated by CARECEN, a local non-profit. A few weeks ago, CARECEN invited John to their anniversary dinner.
Andy and Chris, two members of the LA IC Book Collective, came with John and Jude to the dinner. We were among the honored guests because we have shared hundreds, if not thousands, of books with them, including basic dictionaries, magazines, how-to books on everything from landscaping to house construction. It is amazing how much gratitude can flow from simply, wisely sharing what we have in abundance. To know that some people credit you with helping them either learn English a little better, or helping them secure a job that made a difference in their lives, simply by giving books that other people were discarding – is an example of the simple and amazing power of stewardship and gift-giving.
We would like to thank you all for your support, prayers, and gifts of books. It is an honor to be honored, but it is a gift to be able to be a witness to the love of the child Christ that came some two thousand years ago, that still inspires us to find what gifts we can bring that can somehow honor his love and presence in our world.
A few other moments of gratitude for 2013 (there are many more):
*John’s mom, Nancy, was able to visit us in July.
*Jude’s mom continues in Sierra Village Assisted Living. She is taking medicine that has helped her significantly for which we are grateful.
*Jude’s brother Peter, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 2012, has been gifted with more months than we expected. We had Thanksgiving at their home. He reminds us to be grateful for each day-we don’t know how many days we will be given.
*We continue to love our multi-ethnic church. Jude is co-captain for New City Church’s Team World Vision, walking/running the LA (half) Marathon to raise money for clean water for east Africa. (Jude is walking:-0)
*We continue to be surprised by joy in sharing our lives with others here in Los Angeles.
Ways to stay in touch with us:
Find us on Facebook, including the LA IC book collective. “Friend” them to learn more about John’s work and the collective.
Send Jude an email if you would like this letter in email, including photos, or if you would like more updates (judetw@innerchange.org).
John’s blog – www.jawpoetry.blogspot.com.
We would appreciate your prayers for us in the New Year, as we wrestle with how to most wisely invest our time, our energy, and our resources to advance the Kingdom of God. May peace and grace flow through your lives in 2014.
John and Jude Tiersma Watson
InnerChange Los Angeles
Donations Welcome: 1-800-777-6658 or www.crmleaders.org/support. Our personal fund number is 5101. We also need help with our mentoring initiative fund 9712.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Reading for the Grand Story...

Dear Friends,

This coming year (2014) I am planning to be paying attention to the Narrative / History in the Bible while following the 1 year Bible program.  http://www.oneyearbibleonline.com/  What that means is If I do not have time to follow the non-narrative or Historical parts of the Bible reading this year... I will not worry about catching up on those parts of the reading.  I will go back and really try to take in the amazing Story / History as presented in the Bible.  I invite you to join me in this... we are all part of God's story and the better we know the God of history the more equipped we will be in seeing God work in our own personal histories and stories.

Join me in this... and let me know that you are joining me in this...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Why I am a Christian, Part Three

It is one thing to choose to follow Christ. It is another thing to encounter Christ in the midst of following Christ. It is quite another thing to find that God’s loving agenda is at work and that it is to conform our character more and more towards God’s redeeming love. See Hebrews 12:1-14
Having come as far as I have on the journey of faith following Jesus, I find more and more, a growing awareness of my humanness and my human flaws. And I find a growing gratitude in my heart for God’s redeeming grace to challenge, correct, redeem, and refine my character. I continue to watch my capacity to love grow, and I look back and perceive how hardhearted I was in the past, even as I know that God continues to work in me in the present. This action of God that continues to work in me and on me is more persuasive than any argument for or against faith because I know, that because of my choices and God’s work in me and my character, that I belong to God.

I am a Christian because of God’s redemptive power at work in me, for which I am eternally grateful.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Why I am a Christian #2: In my journey in the Christian Faith I have encountered a love that is much bigger than my own heart. An ocean of love. What I now know as the true source of all real love. It is a love that embraces all people everywhere. I first encountered it in my baptism. Later in what some people call the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I learned to access it more frequently through a tradition in the Orthodox Church called "The Jesus Prayer". I found a love that never leaves me and the wisdom to live in it through a little book called "The Practice of the Presence of God" by brother Lawrence.

Now encounters and even God's love for me and everyone else in no way automatically make me mature enough to love like God loves. But I find I am stretched a little more in that direction every day.

Ephesians 3:14-21 is a prayer that Christians would enter into and know the love of God. Immaturity at this point is the cause of a lot of people having problems with the church. We teach and show people how much God loves... and then disconnect from it in some way. Still this love sustains me every day in a grace that calls me to love more deeply everyone around me... and in the world at large. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+3%3A14-21&version=NIV

"Love is the only power on earth that can turn an enemy into a friend". Martin Luther King Jr.
Here are links to 3 books that have been useful to me in my journey:
The Practice of the Presence of God
Disciple by Juan Carlos Ortiz
Strength to Love by Martin Luther King

Saturday, October 26, 2013

I am going to start a simple series of posts of "Why I (john tw) am a Christian". I am not aiming for the popular apologetics that is aimed at proving the Christian faith is reasonable and evidence based... I believe others have done that better than I could do. But rather I want to make explicit some of the gems that I have found in living into my faith that has made my life the good of what it is and has become.

1. I have found that God pursues meeting me in the deepest places of pain in my heart and personal history and then works to transform and give meaning to that suffering. Like the cross of Christ. There is nothing in torture or suffering that we would choose for... Only in God's hands can real evil or suffering be transformed into a life giving force of grace. As the Prophet Isaiah said: "He gives beauty for Ashes, The Oil of Joy for mourning, and a Garment of Praise for a Spirit of Heaviness".

This is my experience of walking the Christian life out. It is only possible to experience this kind of life giving grace if one is truly open and honest enough to face one's personal pain and willing to turn to God for help.
This grace of inner healing and forgiveness is an experience that is shared around the world by Christians and is essential to the future of our communities.  I can not think of a better example of this than what is found in the struggle for healing and justice as expressed in the book -- No Future Without Forgiveness by Bishop Desmond Tutu.
The simplest door into this experience beyond the healthy initiation rite of baptism is found in this little book -- The wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen  .

Monday, June 03, 2013

Reflections on the Movie "After Earth" moving towards the real question of Character Development.

I Went to see the Movie After Earth with Andy A Hernandez and another friend. For the younger folk there was too much talk between father & son... and not enough action. The trailer sold the movie as more fast-paced than it really is...

I was fascinated by it trying to tackle our relationship as human beings to fear.
Later I realized that it seemed to have a stoic kind of anti-emotional response that connects with L Ron Hubbard's teaching in Dianetics: http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2013/05/is-after-earth-influenced-by-scientology

or is it just taping into a larger vision of the Hero myth and a coming of age story.

I liked the movie because it puts character growth back on the big screen as something that matters. This is also true for the movie Karate' Kid and its remake. Also there is a concrete effort to pass on a legacy from Will Smith to his son. Jealousy and advantage... in Hollywood can be the color of coffee.

What matters to me most is how we as Christians approach teaching people to live transformed lives. Christ does not walk the path of the Roman triumphant hero... but that of a Suffering Servant. If victory means facing your fears and over-coming them... Love & Compassion require even more strength.

In the movie the father keeps calling his son back to his mind and his senses. We as Christians draw on something deeper. The Holy Spirit of God.

If any handful of Christians would live into the grace found in the prayer of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 3:14-21. Then... We would not be retreating from the challenges in the world... we would instead be positioned to be in that great company of those who overcome and stand in this world through faith -- Hebrews 11. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+3%3A14-21%2C+Hebrews+11%2C+II+Peter+1%3A3-11&version=NIV

I agree with Martin Luther King. What we really want is "soul force"... the grace of God at work within us constraining us and carrying us through our fears. This can transcend what the mind knows or the heart feels because we enter into a sustaining fellowship which is rooted in the love of God. I John 1: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=I+John+1&version=NIV

I find it interesting that this movie openly displays the deep wound that exists between so many men and their sons. Something that the church needs to explore and provide much more solid answers for... I am looking forward to reading Gordon Dalbey's new book: Sons of the Father: Healing the Father-Wound in Men Today to draw on the wisdom he has to offer on this topic: http://www.amazon.com/Sons-Father-Healing-Father-Wound-Today/dp/0615521304/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1370285338&sr=1-3&keywords=gordon+dalbey

In contrast to Iron Man, The Hulk, and Spider Man... Will Smith plays a man of Character & Integrity rooted in the history of experience and and learning. When was the last time you saw a real call for discipline of any sort on the big screen? Sadly some of my friends said they would have rather seen Hangover 3 or Fast & Furious 6. Wake up People... who you are on the inside is who you live with 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year... and this is also who you share with everyone else. Maturity matters. Generations matter. And We Need to Pay attention to the struggles involved in growing into mature & wise adults.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

My favorite passage of scripture on Character development is II Peter 1:3-11.  It is worth noting that much of what is popular out in culture ends with "Faith or Confidnece" as the end goal... when actually that is only the beginning of growing in character.  Much of the wounding in religious communities comes from a core lack of humility in our culture.  Confidence or Faith not brought into maturity by discipline and action.  It is interesting to note how concerned the Apostle Peter was about this before he was martyred.   See Peter's emphasis on this in verses 12-15.  Who we are is what we live on the inside 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  Growing on the inside is learning to have a life.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Download Here
 News Letter 

It is very exciting to have reached a goal of turning the need to afford our own textbooks for school into the asset of being able to be book stewards and dealers.  This Newsletter covers some of the details of this progress.

And Here are some prayer Requests:

– Jude's mother loses strength each week, pray for wisdom and encouragement for Jude and her mom. Her brother has lived a year since he was diagnosed with cancer, and is doing fairly well.  Each day is a gift!

–We are praising God,  It is both a joy and a challenge to be granted a whole new level of spiritual authority within our networks. Pray that we would use this trust and authority to strengthen the Body of Christ.  What a privilege and joy it has been to serve God in our small part of LA for almost 20 years...and the grace and work continues...

– For the Book Collective to be learning stewardship well in the face of deep personal need – particularly the disciplines of giving, saving, investing, and thinking in terms of the greatest good rather than just personal need.

– Praising God for the provision of a van! 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Newsletter for The close of 2012


Dear Friends,                        December 2012

The people walking in darkness have seen great light;
On those living in the land of deep darkness, a light has dawned. (Isaiah 9:2)

We’ve used this passage before in this Christmas letter. But with the
events this December in Connecticut, we have been drawn again to the
promised hope in Isaiah. We have been reminded (again) that the awe
and wonder of the incarnation happens in the midst of sin, unspeakable
sorrow, and deep brokenness.  Emmanuel, the Prince of Peace, entered a
world in deep need of peace and restoration. We witness this same need
and longing in the lives of our neighbors here in Los Angeles.

A few words about us:
Last year we did not send a Christmas letter. Jude’s mom had moved
into an assisted living village, and we emptied her home last
Christmas, sorting through many memories. My older brother Peter was
in much pain during that time, and was diagnosed with pancreatic
cancer early in 2012. We have not done much to keep in touch with you.
We hope to do better in 2013.

Highlights of 2012:
Emmanuel Peter was born in July to Chris and Roxy, our second
delightful grandson.
Jude’s brother Peter made it through many treatments and is still with us
Jude enjoyed leading several retreats, and hopes to do this more.
John and his book collective continued to develop and grow to address
the economic struggles we daily see around us.
New City Church (NCC), a multi-ethnic, multi socio-economic church in
downtown is growing and impacting our city in many positive,
gospel-centered ways.
NCC is sponsoring a new church plant in our neighborhood, Praise
Chapel. The InnerChange team here is partnering with them.
We have the privilege of living lives of joy and worship in our city.

Ways to stay in touch with us:
Find us on Facebook, including the LA IC book collective. “Friend”
them to learn more about John’s work and the collective. 
Send Jude an email if you would like prayer updates (judetw@innerchange.org)
John’s blog – http://www.jawpoetry.blogspot.com.
This year we will begin posting video updates, as well as sending them
via email.
When you hear about LA in the news, pray for us!

We are so grateful for each of you and your part in our lives. May
peace and grace flow through your lives in 2013.
John and Jude Tiersma Watson

Donations Welcome: 1-800-777-6658 or www.crmleaders.org/support. Our
fund number is 5101.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

McMannus & Morgan

We Partner with McMannus and Morgan.  The LAIC Book Collective has a book store in their store as a way to support this Historic Paper store that supports local artists.

Pray for us in LA as we seek to find ways to create jobs and reduce the loss of work in our neighborhoods... Initially through books...

Thanks!!!
John TW

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

A Rare Book Opportunity

A Rare Book Opportunity:  http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=140653387278

When can you support both a local historic art store and someone who has a call on his life for urban ministry... & get a Rare Book at the same time. My friend John Tallacksen has faithfully served The First Evangelical Free Church of Los Angeles for some years now.  I can truly say he is both a brother in Christ and a brother in need.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Music & Wisdom to be shared...

Thinking a lot about the roll of music in the life of Faith. Also thinking about II Peter 1:3-11 & Ephesians 3:14-21. Will be getting ready to preach / or teach on these passages where ever the door opens and the Peace and Grace of God compels me to do so...
To get me back into the habit of blogging I am going to start posting a song, artist, or Album a week to stir my reflections and to encourage my soul to take the Psalms of life as seriously as the Bible does.
Who are the Real Girls by Daniel Amos
Daniel Amos was key in my High School & College years in helping me escape the traps of consumerism and materialism.
Mall all over the World

I am convinced that anything that I have worked through deeply in my soul is connected to both thought through concerns and Music &/ or Poetry or some other form of art. 
 

Monday, August 01, 2011

Baptism 77 and the healing in the family grows deeper...

Roxana did not dare to believe for many years that her mom would change.  Chris, her husband continued in faith to witness and serve his mother-in-law even when her actions and words were unreasonable and hurtful.  After many years, after Martha's 77th Birthday Martha, Roxy's mom, got Baptized at New City Church.  Coming out of the water... and looking out and waving to the audience with tears in her eyes... Roxy shared her heart openly with her mom and with us... "This is your spiritual family now...".

Watching the grace of God invade and penetrate into the hurt and pain of families and turn them around is a privilege of being part of God's family the church.  Having that as one's life work is the privilege of serving as an ambassador of God's grace.  In 1994 Roxanna and Martha came with Jude to pick me up at the LAX airport.  I have been part of their extended family ever since... and have watched Roxy move from being a tough girl at the edge of a local gang to being a well respected mother, wife & teacher for LAUSD.

When I joined InnerChange... I joined a community that was determined to make the love of God at work in us and through us as tangible as possible in a context where religious attitudes often conveyed judgement rather than love and grace.  Be sure judgement will come... but the task needed here is to make the love of God known.

Yesterday was very satisfying evidence that I have participated in God's amazing love and grace.  I too had almost stopped believing that Martha could be reached by God's love... Chris never Gave up that hope.  Yesterday we (Jude & I, Chris & Roxy, Martha, Salvador/ Roxy's Dad, Lance Mark/ Chris & Roxy's son,) went to Clifton's Cafeteria near 7th & Broadway to celebrate Martha's baptism and birthday.  And "Andre'" came with us... He's the next young man that Chris & Roxy have recently adopted into their family to mentor.  I got to know him a bit and to hear how he was touched at church by all of the baptisms.  The cry in his heart was simple... "I could relate to some of the stories people shared... they did not have a good relationship with their fathers... and they struggled with pain in their hearts because of that..."  Love continues to flow and touch hearts... often one heart at a time... it is a privilege to be any part of God's love.

Friday, April 01, 2011

A short reflection on the Nture of Spiritual Experiences and Traditons

Luke 9 ... Reflections from the one year Bible reading for today...

"32 Peter and the others had fallen asleep. When they woke up, they saw Jesus’ glory and the two men standing with him. 33 As Moses and Elijah were starting to leave, Peter, not even knowing what he was saying, blurted out, “Master, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials[a]—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 34 But even as he was saying this, a cloud overshadowed them, and terror gripped them as the cloud covered them."

I find in almost every tradition of the Christian Faith some of this propensity to turn experience... not fully digested and understood... into doctrine.

Richard Foster does a good job in my opinion in his book Streams of Living Water of honoring various Christian traditions... showing how we need the balance offered by the rest of the body of Christ and noting the tendencies towards distortions in the the different traditions he takes the time to explore.

There are a lot of people having powerful religious experiences these days. and there are debates about what all this may mean. If in the end we do not hold what we have experienced with great humility... we are in danger of becoming like Peter in this text. Confused at best...

I Corinthians 12 is clear... we need the whole body of Christ together and we need to be rooted in love and patience with each other.

There are others that when insecure about whether or not a movement of the Holy Spirit... and if it is from God... seem to me to be like the apostle John latter in this text:

49 John said to Jesus, “Master, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he isn’t in our group.”

50 But Jesus said, “Don’t stop him! Anyone who is not against you is for you.”

Truth is tested best when it comes against evil and is able through good to over come it... If you see that going on in a tradition of the Church that is not your own... support it and do not tear it down.

By saying all this I am not saying that we should be lazy about discernment. Instead I am saying that we need to pursue discernment with the counsel of other and do so with humility trusting that God is both working in our communities and outside of them.

The last thing that I will mention from this text is that it is centered on what everyone else except Jesus, Moses, and Elijah were focused on. Jesus going to finish his sacred work for us by going to die on a Roman cross for our sins... and to rise again that we might have life in him. The is no good Christian theology that is not Christ centered and centered on the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. This is the focus that God will call us back to again and again ... whatever tradition of the Christian faith we have encountered and are learning from:

While everyone was marveling at everything he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, 44 “Listen to me and remember what I say. The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies.” 45 But they didn’t know what he meant. Its significance was hidden from them, so they couldn’t understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dec. 2010 Newsletter


Dear Friends, December 2010

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness, a light has dawned. (Isaiah 9:2)
This year the world’s attention was focused on the physical earthquake in Haiti. Here in Los Angeles, the economic quake continues to shake people’s lives. The struggling economy has meant continued hardship for our neighbors. Many cannot pay their rent, and it has become common for families who already live in tight quarters to share their space with another family. It is more than cozy. Every day becomes a struggle to survive.
This verse from Isaiah reminds us that Jesus came into this world not because everything was going great, but because there was “deep darkness.” The promise is that into this deep darkness, the light dawns. We don’t always notice the dawning of the light. Sometimes we have to look for it. The waiting of Advent reminds us to pay attention, to look for the ways that light and hope break into our world and into our everyday reality. We are finding more people directly asking us for guidance and direction in these times than ever before. We are ever grateful for Immanuel, God with us. The darkness is not the end of the story.
A few words about us:
John invited others to join him in reading the one year Bible, starting this past January, enhanced with you tube videos of John reflecting on some of the passages.
The book collective initiative has flourished and grown, and is a great source of life to John – not just the books, exactly, but the ways he can live out mentoring/discipleship relationships in the process. He expects to continue to move forward on this in 2011.
Jude continues to explore what it means to be an urban contemplative. She enjoys her part-time teaching in Fuller’s School of Intercultural Studies.
Together we are moving into more of an “elder” role in InnerChange, as we think through what our contributions will be for the next generation of mission workers among the poor. We had the opportunity to travel to Malaysia for CRM’s Worldwide Conference held every four years, where we each gave a presentation. Afterwards we spent a fun few days in Kuala Lumpur, visiting a Fuller alum who now runs a bible college (thanks Tess). Jude enjoyed watching John’s gift for connecting with people take place in a very different context.
Ways to stay in touch with J&J in LA: Find us on Facebook
John’s you tube channel -- youtube.com/jaw1LA
Send Jude an email if you would like prayer updates – judetw@innerchange.org
Our blog – www.jawpoetry.blogspot.com (Including links to Jude’s writings)

We are so grateful for each of you and your part in our lives and ministry. In the midst of the challenges of life, may the grace of kindness be abundant in this New Year.
John and Jude Tiersma Watson

Donations welcome: 1- 800-777-6658 http://www.crmleaders.org/support/support-staff

Saturday, August 21, 2010

IC Sandimus from San Francisco / A call to practice more silence before God.

Here is a short musing on my time with the SF IC Sandimus Team. Let me say that I am glad for the time that I had with them. It is theirs to share what they learned from me... Rather I am going to focus on some things that God brought to my attention about my own life.

Jose, the current leader of this team, was trained up under the Base community model of Bible study while living in El Salvador. He later came went through our formation. Still some of the strengths of his former training comes through in a profound way. (and no we are not from the Liberation Theology camp... but we don't stick our fingers in our ears either...)

Jose models a deep discipline of listening to God. a good part of this is learning to regularly take silent retreats. His modeling this inspires the rest of his team to practice the careful listening to both God and their own souls. This also impacts the quality of their sharing together. They know their own hearts, souls, & thoughts ... and the various ways in which God seems to speak to each person on the team. Because of this practice and the reality it grounds each member of his team in... Jose has a deep trust in each persons ability to follow God and contribute to their community's process of discernment. The team has a deep sense of loyalty to one another... deeper than I have recently seen anywhere else... and even a deeper sense of loyalty to God.

The groups openness to God drew out of me a capacity to hear God that is unusual for me. In the first 10 minutes of meeting with them God called me to give a small financial gift to one of his team members. I saw the need before they said anything about it... and it was the last thing on my mind... For me it was a call to obedience. (Jude - my wife / I am her husband - she is the one who has the gift of giving [between the two of us]... and any impulse in that direction I attribute to God's grace and the impact she has had on my life.) Our lives in very simple ways... and direct ways touched one another. (I can tell sometimes when the grace of God flowing in my life is coming from my own rootedness in God / Eph. 3:14-21, or from Grace that is at work in and around others... The Grace at work wise profound to me and largely not from my spiritual well.)

The result of this time and the re-reading of Henry Nouwen's book "The Wounded Healer" (encouraged by Jeff Man)... I have promised Martha & Jose that I will try to go on my own silent retreat and try to listen to God and his initiative in my heart for 3 hours... before the end of the year... I am putting this in print for the sake of accountability.

I should draw up again some of the basic literature on this practice... Like Richard Foster's Book Celebration of Discipline. I am sure that Jude will celebrate and encourage this movement in my life. She also will have articles and other lit. to give me to enrich my focus in this work.

I can not say enough of the Caya's hospitality. Simply put, they were very kind to us for all the time we were with them.

There is more to share. But I must rest here because my plane has just arrived... late... but it is here.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Story of Stuff

I am finding that there is a growing desire among my friends to find an alternative to this narrative. THE STORY OF STUFF ... AND many of them find Acts 2:36-47... A far more attractive narrative to live into.

Pray for us in Los Angeles. A major Import / Export city...

A friend of mine... Lyndy sent me this email...

"If you are a lady in the LA area, this email is for you, if not, please disregard this email....

My church is having a Clothing Exchange this Saturday, June 26th from 2-4pm. I wanted to invite you all to attend.

Bring clothes to donate and hopefully someone else will take it home with them and you can take whatever you like as well. It is a good way to clean out our closets and re-use things. (think this is perfect in line with our creation care in learning community.) Something you are tired of might be someone elses new gem.

If you can not make it, but would like me to donate clothes, please bring it to Tuesday prayer or give me a call so you can drop it by my place this week and I will take it on Saturday.

I will be going early around 12 pm to help set up, so see you there.

Thanks,
Lyndy

Kairos Hollywood (building we share with Hope International Church)
4903 Fountain Ave
Los Angeles, CA, 90027"

This is just one example of this impulse...

A good friend of mine Evelyn has a website called: EarthCaringArt.com
She has pursued and built this website out of her own passion for "Creation Care".

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tire Swing... Check this out...


My Friend and Colleague Alastair Rundle has figured out a way to turn some old tires into new useful Tire Swings for the youth in our neighborhood. He's now got one up for sale on Craigslist. Check it out.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Disaster Preparedness...

Well... I have some work to do... and I intend to begin to post some of the basics here...
Resolve after a day workshop in Los Angeles:

Friday, June 04, 2010

The Practice of the Presence of God

Here is Kevin Ha's sermon referencing Brother Lawrence's Book, "The Practice of the Presence of God". One of my favorite Christian Spiritual Classics.

I am finding New City and it's vision very compelling for my context in Los Angeles. Come and visit sometime if you are in the area.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Birthday Party

Hello Folks,
Well it is coming soon, John Tiersma Watson’s May Day birthday. This year his Birthday is on a Saturday. As always, there is a lot going on that day, but we invite you to join us for a cup of coffee to celebrate John’s birthday. We are starting early, as some folks have a workshop at 9:00. Feel free to come say hi even if you can’t stay long. For those who have more time, we will enjoy your company a bit longer.
When: Saturday May 1, 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM. Come when you can,
Where: Ollin Café, 1325 W. Venice Blvd, just east of Hoover.
Street parking, or come on MTA bus 200.
Why: Because we want to see you.

Looking forward to seeing you there!
John and Jude

Note from John -- I am asking people to bring a wise saying, Poem, or Bible Verse that you like. Gifts should be limited to anything Re-cycled or bought second hand unless it is art supplies. The greatest gift will be seeing each of you.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Jaw1LA

I am committed to sharing my life with a network of young people in Los Angeles. First they asked me to join MySpace (which I hardly use any more). Then they asked me to join Facebook. Then some of them asked me to consider joining Twitter or YouTube. I have decided against twitter because it would rob me of the need for silent spaces... once on twitter and connected with a phone one can report any small fragment of thought at any time. This is too intrusive for me to do right now. Now that I have a MacPro. I can both do the reflections & interviews that I want to do.

Help me by giving me feedback whenever you are moved to do so...

And thanks for joining me on this journey.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Our Christmas News Letter. Please note Prayer requests.

Dear Friends, December 09

“Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,
To give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.”
Luke 1:78-79, from Zechariah’s song

This year marks Jude’s 20th Christmas here in the Westlake/Pico Union neighborhood of LA. For John, it has been 15 years. Each December, during advent, we have pondered what it means to wait in hope and expectation for the in-breaking of our Lord into human history, into our lives, into this neighborhood. Each Christmas we remember that the light has dawned, and will break through the darkness. What a joy it has been and continues to be to remember anew that the Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood – our neighborhood and yours too.

This 20th year marks a transition for the LA team and also for Jude’s role in InnerChange. Jude has (finally!) been released from the role of leading the team. She will be moving into a new role in staff formation within InnerChange. She is hopeful that her new role will allow her more room to breathe and pursue the things that matter most to her in this season of her life. John continues to lead the team, but alongside Alastair, who came through a stem cell transplant for lymphoma this past year and is now doing well.
Meanwhile, John continues to enjoy his role encouraging young people in micro-enterprise and artistic endeavors. We both truly enjoy mentoring young people, investing in the next generation of leaders.

Recently I (Jude) had lunch with a young mother who was in kindergarten when our team first moved into the Cambria apartments. She shared that she had been wanting to see me and found me on facebook. She wanted to say thanks to our team for being there for her when she was growing up. She is working and doing well in raising her son. She thanked us for showing her a different way to live than the chaos she knew in her own home. She also asked if I knew of a church where she could continue to grow. What good news that New City Church will be a good place for her to be and belong.

One other major life transition this year was the death of John’s dad in July. We are still processing how this loss impacts us, and his family.

Prayer requests:
  • • For Chris Albisurez as he travels to Urbana mission conference, to lead a workshop with John Hayes on using art in ministry with the poor. Pray for safety, protection and blessing for Chris, and that many lives would be impacted.
  • • For the network of young adults who are struggling to move forward with their life goals due to economic realities in our city, and struggles within their own families.
  • • Pray for our team’s vision as we pioneer a new neighborhood and seek to continue a legacy of effective ministry in our context, as well as preparing missionaries to serve throughout the world.

Thank you to all of you who have journeyed with us, supported us, and believed in us for all or part of these years. We would love to hear from you.

Peace and Joy,
John and Jude Tiersma Watson
InnerChange LA
Box 17367 Los Angeles, CA 90017

John’s Blog: www.jawpoetry.blogspot.com

(For donations, http://www.crmleaders.org/support/support-staff
Or call (800)777-6658)

To find John on Facebook: use his yahoo email: jawpoetry@yahoo.com (I check this email less than 2 times a month).

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Two New Links

I have added two new Links to my Blog, My Friend EVE and her Website: EarthCaringArt.com and my friend and companion in ministry Catherine's Weekly Collum called: Back Alleys By Candle Light.

Just wanted to share them with you...

Monday, December 07, 2009

Cook it, Bag it, Ship it... Good Coffee for a Good Cause.

Some of us are former meth cooks, some of us are former gang members, and some of us are young pastors. And some are a mix! All of us have been involved in the Bible studies with Bob, Chris, Ryan and pastors from Tierra Nueva at the Skagit County Jail in Washington State. Many of us get out, and due to our criminal histories, our huge debts in the system and with collectors, with former using buddies and gang homies around us, starting a new life “on the outs” can be almost impossible at times. Most guys stay in the “underground” life, make money on the streets, and only find a church where we feel comfortable once we’re back in the jail Bible studies.

Jail Bible Study

But a few years ago...



If you are looking for a unique Christmas gift that does a lot of good for all that are involved... Let me recomend this for any Coffee Lovers in your networks...

I got to know these folks while on Sabbatical... They are street level legit and sold out to God...

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Travels down Memory Lane: Rez Band

I am preparing to share my life story with my team mates. I am remembering today how wonderfully influential was some music that came out of the "Jesus" Movement. The Band Rez Band and thier community Jesus People USA has fueled my journey with hope and vision. Rather than press into a potentially destructive lifestyle in my teens... I am glad for the grace that allowed me to become a "Jesus Freak".

I have not turned back... and the adventure has just gotten more rich and more full of grace and wonder. My tastes in music have gotten broader and have changed. My love for God is now fueled by a deep gratitude... all of what is good in my life... I see the hand of God in it... all I can do is Thank God for his love and faithfulness.

I guess this response is why God kept on telling Isreal to "Remember all that the Lord Thy God has done for you."

Saturday, November 07, 2009

I Am Second

Here I have found a great resource in simply people telling their stories...
about putting God first and being OK with being "second".

A great relief from a culture that constantly pushes us to be Number one.

Thanks to Fin who turned me on to this...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Return to the basics

I am glad to finally be back into a mode and mentality where I can begin again. Here I will begin again to share what really matters to me.

Communication and time set aside for that is part of it.

I am currently on vacation. Much needed and glad for it...
I am at peace with my father's passing...

I am anxious about my own health and body image. Exercise will be a new daily priority.

I am very aware that I am now an elder in a number of communities that I am part of... My Family, InnerChange, My community of Westlake, and Some parts of the church. The call to press into the wisdom I have learned while keeping an open learning posture... The call to consider generativity and what I will leave behind when I too am gathered to the "Triumphant Church" risen with Christ.

I can not imagine what my life would be like if I did not have certain commitments in place:

1. A commitment to pray. I am currently reviewing the history of my life with a view on how prayer has impacted it. The more I reflect on this... the deeper my commitment to make prayer a priority becomes. I have had an amazing extraordinary life. Prayer and the vision birthed out of prayer has been key to many of the good decisions I have made. Many of my less than good decisions could be seen as a lack in this internal commitment to turn all matters to matters of prayer. How long will it take me to really agree with Christ that, "Without Christ I can do nothing".

2. Reading the One year Bible... It has gotten me out of the habit of reading just what I like. It has gotten me into the scriptures in a fresh way. I have a growing company of friends who are reading the same scriptures along with me. I am finding this an amazing tool for discipleship.

3. Gratitude for the grace I have found in my marriage to Jude. Her love, wisdom, and gracious accountability has been key to my lasting as long as I have in the work that I do in Los Angeles.

4. I can not just work to help the poor... I must work to change the conditions that keep the poor impoverished. Francis Ogorman's book Charity and Change has some priceless wisdom to offer anyone committed to Biblical transformation.