Yesterday we had the privilege to serve the transient community of Long Beach at Lincoln Park near downtown. I had driven by this park many times in the past as I drove my wife to 2nd Street for date night. But yesterday I parked on Broadway & Pacific, paid $2 for 2 hours, and watched the Lord speak to me concerning the value of human life.
This is Mike, he is a Yankees fan. Him and his wife were addicted to heroin until 6 years ago when he lost his wife due to an overdose. From motel to motel, hands calloused from 20+ years in a wheelchair, countless reasons to call it quits, so I talked to him at eye level. After sharing the Gospel with him I asked him whats next? He took a gulp of his Vodka and said “I have to trust Jesus”. We had ran out of care packages, so I gave him a $5 Starbucks gift card so he could buy himself a sandwich. Twenty minutes later he comes back with a defeated look on his face. He had been rejected by the cashier and told that they could not accept that form of payment. After verifying that the card had funds, I realized something, it wasn’t a protocol issue, it was a cultural issue.
I looked to my right and saw a Dog Park with a group of about 15 “successful” Millennials who were proud owners of pure bred dogs. These dogs were very well trained, fed, and maintained.
On the left I saw Mike, and all of his buddies hanging out talking about past World Series match-ups and how awesome it was to see Christians give them food and socks.
“So here you go Hector, you have two groups of people, equally in need of My Son, yet they never communicate with each other because their profession prohibits them” whispered a still small voice.
If you follow me on any social network you probably already know that we have solidified our name as a Church, Vision Church Long Beach. Why Vision? Well having lived there for 10 years, 4 in unbelief, I can tell you that the Lord has spoken to me about this city. The more and more I talked to christians in Long Beach, the more I recognized that there existed a lack of Vision. As I was praying through the dream of planting a church in Long Beach, I had a Vision of christians coming together in unity to fulfill Colossians 1:18:
And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.-Paul the Apostle to the Colossian Church
The foundational elements of the Church can only be found in what Jesus Christ accomplished on the Cross. It should be practically designed and aligned with the Chief Cornerstone (Psalm 118:22), whom many have rejected. The Church and its congregants need to realize that the relegation of Christ by the Church has demoted its authority in culture. As we head into a new season, with a public venue, and an outlet for our core team to serve, the Vision will be simple, “Christ Before us, With Us, and Leading Us”. We are counting on him to make known to us His plans for this church that existed before creation. We will be reliant on a personal growth in Him for the edification of others. We will yield to his leading that in all things He would hold preeminence.
So there you have it, a little snapshot of my life in this journey of Faith. I want to thank those who have supported my family and I in this season, your generosity has enabled me to focus completely on what God is doing through this church plant.Our hearts our forever thankful and we are so excited that you get to partake with us in the fruit of His Kingdom in Long Beach, Ca.
For those of you who have asked about finances, we recently set up our church bank account as a Non-Profit Org, so if you feel led to support Vision Church Long Beach you can do so by visiting our giving page: Click Here
In all things,
PS I had a chance to write about how the Lord led me and my family to Long Beach, the article was featured in Church Planter Magazine, I hope you enjoy it: Click Here.