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:

(For donations,
Or call (800)777-6658)

To find John on Facebook: use his yahoo email: (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: 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.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

My Father has passed on...

John Watson Sr,
received his last rites from Father Vincent (Russian Orthodox Church)
10:40 AM — July 5, 2009
and died peacefully in the presence of several family members.
Thanks for your thoughts and prayers,
John and Jude

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Conversations and Keeping Jesus in the Mix...

Jesus said, I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE...

I am priveleged to have the core of my day to day life wrapped around three important conversations...

THE WAY... "How are we going to meet OUR daily needs and what does it mean to allow God to help us with this?" This is not a departure from good theology into economics... rather it is at the heart of good theology... As seen in Acts 2, The Lord's Prayer... "Give Us this OUR daily bread"... What does it mean to "Consider the Lillies of the field and the Birds of the Air... and to SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD??? Matthew 6..

THE TRUTH... "What is of real value & how do we enter into our personal and corporate "Purpose" for our lives?"

THE LIFE... "What is the good life?" A life worth living with contentment, joy, satisfaction and significance...

Jesus Christ wants to be a part of all this...
and helping people include God in all of their lived life is what is at the core of my life journey.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Musing worth Further Reasearch

I have been thinking becuase of my work context on realities that impact brain chemistry in a positive way and the mind, body, soul, spirit, / Holy Spirit interactions.

In a admittedly fragmentory way...

There may be more to the Admonision to "Sing to the Lord a new song than we might imagine."
Recent Plasticity of the brain studies show that the brain continues to grow and recover over most of our lifetime if the conditions for brain growth are right.

Key to the right conditions is continued learning. The brain being challenged to learn, remember, retain, and use new ideas, concepts and exercise new actions. The more wholistic the learning the better.

Music also has the power to alter brain chemistry.

Communal actions have the power to redefine a persons sense of slef & Selfhood.

So maybe the churches in my community that feature hours of worship serveral times a week are actually providing a kind of healing community that is "transforming the minds" of many of the participants.

Here is a tension...

Anthems feed the sense of communal life. Their stability and not changing helps set the anchors for a community or culture/sub-culture.

New songs will adnvance change.

So we have the need for both the old and the new in any worship context.

If we only have old songs... or songs that no longer fit our world and context... boredom sets in and we lose the power that music and learning can have on the brain. Anthems are only meaningful if deeply felt.

all of these thoughts are fragmentory and in the raw...