Easter Service at Placerville Family Campout

Our family has an annual family campout on private property near Placerville. We are committed to our church, Thrive Christian Community Church in Mesa, Arizona pastored by Bob and Sandy Lenz. We are usually involved with Easter celebrations there and our 11 year old granddaughter who lives with us.

This year we determined to join the 25+ family members. As we planned the trip, my husband, Reggie, felt God lead him to prepare 3 songs on his guitar, copies of the lyrics, some words regarding Jesus's sacrifice and triumph over the grave and a communion service.

Sunday morning came and we were uncertain and a little nervous who would join us. We prayed and turned the attendance over to the Lord. Encouraging each other with, "If God leads you to it, trust Him to do it.

It was a busy morning, people preparing breakfast and starting to pack up knowing rain was headed our way. When breakfast was over, we invited family to bring their chair and join us.

Reggie played Amazing Grace, the Old Rugged Cross, and Above All. He shared Bible verses regarding the Easter story and personalized it by telling about Christ's importance to him and Christ's availability to us all.

Portables (wafer and juice) were passed out giving help to those having trouble with the two different layers. Then Reggie read Matthew 26:26-29.

26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

Reggie said, "And today we do this following Christ's instruction. Let's eat the wafer in unison."

27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the[a] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

Reggie said, "Drink in remembrance of Christ's sacrifice and glorious resurrection."

By this time, everyone in camp had joined the service. Praise God. Reggie closed in prayer. As people found their voice again, many asked Reggie to do this again next year. Many asked if they could keep the lyrics.

Reggie and I stood there, our mouths a little open and both of us wondering how we could ever forget we worship a mighty and majestic God in whom all things are possible.

The scariest people to whom you might share our Lord and Savior are our family members. Remember our story and be confident that, "If God leads you to it, trust that He will do."

Hoping you all had a wondrous Easter.

Love love,
Dottie Townsend

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Pastor Linda Moser "Kingdom Influence over the City of Mesa"

Pastor Linda Moeser recently accepted a position on staff at Thrive CCC. Linda is a major leader in the City of Mesa currently leading, the “For Our City”, ”Hope Women's Center,” and part of the Mesa United Way impacting the Mesa Homelessness focus. Yesterday she spoke at the Mayor Giles Interfaith Breakfast to an audience of City, Non-Profit and Interfaith community leaders.

I personally joined the “For Our City” team of faith-based and non-profit organizations last year and after a few months invited Pastor Linda to join Thrive CCC as an Assistant Pastor. She accepted and is our Thrive Women’s Ministry, Local Community Serve Ministry and Leads our Thrive Women's Bible Study Connect Group. A solid teacher of the Word and committed to touching the needs of the community.

The bottom line is, Pastor Linda is a reflection of commitment ministering to a community and not just a church. She has great influence in the city for the Kingdom of God. Linda’s influence goes beyond the city borders into the local surrounding communities of Chandler, Queen Creek, Gilbert, Apache Junction and San Tan Valley. She is highly respected and valued.

I believe her story is one of diligence and commitment to her calling to overcome the challenges she faced being a female Pastor and when she faced any rejection, she kept moving forward. God opened many doors for her remaining faithful. To see the level of her Kingdom influence in the City of Mesa and part of the DNA leadership of the city is totally God using her in a way that I believe can inspire others to get involved.

We feel extremely blessed to have Pastor Linda Moeser serving on staff at Thrive. Both Linda and her husband Brian are a blessing to us all. They are both excited about their new journey with the Wesleyan Church and PSD.


“For Our City”

http://www.forourcity.org/Mesa.html


Short Video Pastor Linda Speaking

https://vimeo.com/211524399

"Cup Cakes by Joile and Lola" A Thrive Partnership with Our Youth

We are so proud of our Thrive Mesa youth, Jolie and Lola Hopkins. They started their own "Cup Cakin Aint Easy." business. This week, they will be delivering cupcakes to both " Apache Junction Hope Women's Center" and "Apache Junction Women's Shelter." A monthly Thrive partnership with "Cup Cakin Aint Easy," outreach of love through cupcakes. This is so special and A huge thank you to Chad and Melissa, Jolie and Lola! The love of Jesus being spread through a gift of baking God has blessed both Jolie and Lola with.

Pastor Bob Lenz

Christmas Cows

During the month of December our church took on a missions project to provide something tangible and lasting to those less fortunate. We chose to provide cows to a village in Mozambique, Africa. The cows cost $500 each via World Hope International. The goal of providing five or six cows was initially discussed and it was decided that our church could probably reach that goal of $3000 reasonably. However, one of our senior saints challenged us to believe in a bigger God and a bigger goal or $5000. to purchase 10 cows. The cows are given to villagers for use in farming and milk. Each villager receiving a cow signs a contract that they will give the first offspring of the cow to another villager, or member of a nearby village. If they do not, the cow is taken away and given to another family.

Our loving and generous church family at El Cajon Wesleyan Church, listening to God's direction and believing in his provision, raised $10,450.00 and were able to provide the entire village of Xai Xai with cows!!!!! The funds also provided training for a vet in a rural community, seeds and other farming necessities, and some rice seed bushels for six families.

What a blessing it was to see our entire church embrace and believe in this project. From the youngest of children who dressed in cow costumes and sold milk and cookies each Sunday to raise money, to the oldest who gave generously with their finances to support this project. God moved and we can't wait to see pictures of the villagers when they receive their herd of cattle this Spring! God is doing great things as ECW and we are grateful for His presence.

 

Christine Hughes

Cuba: A People With Nothing, Who Have Everything

I just returned home from what I hope is the first of many trips to Cuba. I was part of a team that trained 18 people for three days on a curriculum called “Church Planting Essentials.” I was trying to explain this to a couple on one of my flights home and I told them, “Its like creating a business plan before you start a business.” Church planting essentials gives the church planter a systematic approach to church planting. We found out while we were there that this was the first time that this course was taught outside of Havana. It is very exciting to train a group of students who are so eager to learn and who have a vision to transform their country through church planting
While we were in country Brian Craig shared with us a C.S. Lewis Quote from, The Screwtape Letters. Lewis said, “Prosperity knits a man to the world. He feels that he is finding his place in it, while really it is finding its place in him.” I think this quote resonated with each of us who were on the trip. It only took one cold shower for me to realize that prosperity had found its place in me. One of the things that I learned in Cuba is that what we think is essential to “do church,” really isn’t essential. What we think we need in our society that is accustomed to a certain level of wealth would be seen as a luxury in Cuba, and much of the developing world.
Cuba has inspired me to get back to the basics of church. Because of my time in Cuba, I have come home with a new resolve developing the essentials of church. We can make the name of Jesus great without bells and whistles, we can disciple others and gather in community for free, it doesn't cost anything to share the gospel with others. Cuba reminded me that when prosperity is woven into my life it could easily become a distraction to my calling. I hope to return to Cuba soon, I think I learned more from the church there than they learned from me!

Dave Johnson

Cuba 2016

I had the privilege of participating in a team comprised of Dave Johnson, Brian Craig, Joe Martin, and Abel Ledezma. We went to Cuba to train leaders in both leadership and church planting. In total we equipped 27 Cuban Leaders. The material we gave them will be used by them to train others.

The Cuban people are resilient, joyful, and hungry to learn. It was a joy to be with them. The life they touched was mine. They modeled for me what it was to Be OPEN, READY, & BRAVE.

Phil Stevenson

Bridge Moment

I want to share how God’s hand was at work at our women’s retreat regarding racial reconciliation within our denomination. Joyce Howell was the speaker, not because we thought this was a good idea due to racial issues, but because God put her on a few of the planning committee member’s hearts as the best person to speak on this year’s theme, “Chosen”.
When Joyce brought her culture with her, through ladies doing interpretive dance and singing, the whole body of women enjoyed, celebrated, participated, and supported the invitation to join in. Joyce didn’t mention anything about racial tensions, we were just one heart learning about the truth that we are all chosen by God to live and fulfill our calling.
A couple months before, after hearing Pastor VanHook speak at our church regarding how to come together through racial reconcilliation, God placed it on one of our member’s heart to set up retreat sponsorships for some ladies at his Oakland church. Two ladies graciously accepted the sponsorships and attended. Traycee, our women’s director, connected and continued in conversation with them for weeks, telling them how excited we were to be with them and inviting them to our “night gatherings” in our room. They joined with us and we had the best time laughing and praising God.
After retreat, attendee Kris Lindsey said, “I’m so proud of the Wesleyans for their heartfelt, inclusive spirit!”

Liz Martinelli

Thrive Christian Community Church First Youth Camp Tonto Rim Payson Az.

This was an exciting week for our Thrive youth. This was the first Thrive CCC youth camp adventure for our church. They Tonton Rim Christian Camp in Payson had competitions, tons of fun free-time activities, and inspiring chapel sessions with amazing worship and teaching from God’s Word. Tonto Rim Arizona summer camp provides a year-round recreational options and Christian camp activities that you can integrate into your camp experience.

• Paintball
• Climbing Tower/Zipline
• Outdoor Basketball
• Volleyball
• Ping Pong
• Archery
• Downhill & Scooters
• 18 Hole Frisbee Golf Course
• BB Guns
• 9 square in the air
• Carpet Ball
• Cave & Stream Hikes

In addition to bordering the Tonto National Forest, the camp is conveniently close to some great seasonal as well as year-round recreation spots.
• Canoeing (provided by TRCC)
• Fish Hatchery
• Mountain Lakes/swimming
• Horton Springs
• Zane Gray Falls
• Horseback Riding

Excellent price, $189.00 per child. http://tontorimcc.com Two hours from Mesa Az.

One of our youth stepped forward for the first time and accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior. The other three girls re-dedicated their lives to Christ. Pastor Sandy and Lisa were instrumental in making this camp experience exciting. Our Church joined three other local Arizona churches during the camp. There were more than 160 youth in attendance. Praise God. Our kids came back all fired up for Jesus!

In His love and grace,
Pastor Bob

100 STORIES OF PEOPLE SHARING JESUS

On May 22, San Dimas Wesleyan celebrated 100 stories of people sharing Jesus with others. We decided to be like the church in Philadelphia in Revelation 3:8 and refuse to shut up about Jesus ("I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name."). The challenge was simple: Say the name "Jesus" in normal conversations with people outside of our church. You could say, "Jesus helped me....," "Jesus is good," or even "Jesus bless you" when someone sneezed. People wrote their stories on boards we set up on our sanctuary. It was amazing to read how young people and old people were talking about Jesus with their F.R.A.N.Cs (Friends, Relatives, Acquaintances, Neighbors and Co-workers/Classmates). One of our senior ladies boldly asked people, "Do you know Jesus Christ as your savior." Some of our "Jesus bless you" statements opened the door for conversation and witnessing. We celebrated with delicious homemade cookies after church. We are praising God because He is changing our DNA to be a church that is not afraid to talk to others about Jesus.

Tim Kirkes

"Almost Elvis" Thrive Christian Community Church Apache Junction Chamber of Commerce Student Scholarship Fundraiser

A fantastic night as Thrive CCC uses every gift and talent to meet the needs of our community. Last nights "Almost Elvis" performed live by Pastor Bob Lenz, senior pastor of Thrive CCC raise $1,000.00 in ticket sales and presented a check to the AJ Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Larry Johnson. Next Wednesday night April 20th 6PM at the AJ Performing Arts Center, , six local high school students will receive $1,000.00 each toward their higher education journey. A short video created by Pastor Lisa Amann gives you a quick look into last nights event at Thrive CCC. Meeting the needs of the Community! What could church be?

Almost Elvis video link: https://youtu.be/ITYpFPYuQF0

Pastor Bob Lenz

The Bridge and Invite Sunday

It all began with us once again asking what breaks the heart of God? It is really not what, but whom? If people matter to God, they really should and do matter to us.

God provided an opportunity in our calendar to clearly make a special day for what we simply called "Invite Sunday." The vision was cast for this to be an across the board vision for all areas of our ministry - children, students, and adults (or “big” church as some like to call it :-)).

We started several weeks out as a part of our Vision 2020 for what we prioritize as important - life transformation, because people matter and should break our hearts like it breaks the heart of God. We simply asked our people to pray for people God laid on their hearts. We also asked them to write down those names, and we would join them in praying for these people, as well as, for their own boldness to make the ask and invite them to this “special” Sunday. We prayed along with our people as the list of names was long. We wept as we prayed for each of these that represented an individual, a soul, who is loved by Christ.

And then we helped our people with invite cards to hand out and encouraged them with ways to make the invite. We have all seen and heard of the numbers of people that would attend church if someone would just ask.

The Bridge Illustrated Sermon is a visual presentation, based somewhat on The 4 Spiritual Laws. We simply built a couple of platforms with a large cross and used these props throughout the sermon to walk through what God has done for us who choose to receive and “walk” across The Bridge from death to life. Click on link below if you would like to view one of our presentations.

On that Sunday in November we had 31 “Yes for Christ” commitments with two- thirds of those being adults. In every ministry that day we presented the gospel and invited people to pray to experience forgiveness and freedom in Christ. For our “big” church we offered an altar call where people literally walked forward and walked across The Bridge of the Cross. They walked from death to life as Jesus says in John 5:24, “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.” (emphasis mine). They walked from darkness to light, from bondage to freedom, from eternal separation from God into eternal relationship with God, from hell to heaven, and changed their eternal zip code. We like to say it sincerely was an eternal game- changing day for many. What a powerful picture of people literally walking across The Bridge and saying Yes to Christ!

I would challenge us as churches to ask the question, “What breaks the heart of God?” If we honestly seek this and ask does this break our heart as well, then I think we can do nothing else than provide an opportunity for us to help others step across The Bridge into an eternal game-changing invitation. It doesn’t need to be done this way. You can come up with much better ideas and opportunities I am sure, but what will you do? What, or for whom, does your church’s heart break? What are you going to do about it? We can manage ministry and church business, or we can “be” the church and serve people by offering the life- transforming power of Jesus Christ that we all truly believe is real and alive and available to all. #madenew #eternalgamechangingday

The River Church Team: Sacramento, CA

Friday Morning Prayer @ Denny's and Three Divine Appointments

We experienced a powerful and truly blessed morning of prayer time at Denny's this Friday morning. Myself, Georgana, Pauline, Mike and Pam were blessed this morning as we soon realized we had a few divine appointments with three women at Denny's and why we show up, and God does all the rest. We trust Him. We glorify God when we walk through doors he opens up.

Lindsey's Story -
Lindsey our first waitress, I asked how could we pray for her? She was reluctant and said she did not want to burden us with her problems. We all shared, this is what we do and why we do it as we come to pray. Lindsey is a mother of five in her twenties and shared she has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. She shared her brother died suddenly of a heart attack on Thanksgiving Day and her father is devastated and also suffering with illness. We held her hands and all prayed diligently over her. She was so grateful. She has been invited to join us at Thrive and Georgana gave her # to connect with her. We shared we are here for her and her children as she is on this journey of illness and needs love, prayers and encouragement. She shared she had not attended church in a long time. Through her tears, we could see how touched she was by God in this very moment He ordained.

Josie's Story -
Josie, our second waitress of the morning also in her twenties shared when we asked how can we pray for her needs. She is seven months pregnant with "Nicholas" We became so excited to know we could pray over Josie and her child that God keep His hand on both of them, provide all needs and could only be excited as to what God has planned for Nicholas as he is in her womb preparing to make his way into the world. She was so excited to have been prayed over and a first for her and baby.

Shawntae's Story -
Shawntae, who is a part of the Thrive family but has been away and very busy with life moving forward with her life as we discovered she is working at this Dennys location also came over and shared her update with us. We became excited and prayed over her and we so excited to hear about her progress with Christ. She shared her early morning devotion and shared her struggles. God is at work! She needed encouragement and prayer.

In only two Friday mornings of prayer at Denny's, we have come to know the manager and some of the employee's by name and needs. We have been welcomed and accepted and God has certainly opened provided these divine appointments.

A powerful morning to say the least! Join us Friday mornings at Denny's at 6:00 A.M. next Friday and be prepared to witness what the Holy Spirit will do when you show up.

Pray for Lindsey, Josie and Shawntae. God is awesome in power and unconditional love.

In His love and grace,
Pastor Bob

Decisions for Christ @ The Altar and Connecting with our new Mesa Community

God continues to open doors for Thrive CCC. Mesa Morning Live TV is produced and airs monthly. We joined the Mesa Chamber of Commerce during October and have attended the Mesa Morning Live Chamber of Commerce mixer each month. It has already proven to be a blessed experience networking with the Mesa Community business owners and sharing who we are and the Wesleyan Church movement. I was invited to entertain this month and honored to do so representing Thrive CCC. The link below was sent to me by the Mesa Morning live production. We started our Saturdaynight 6:00 PM Mesa Worship location at desert Ridge High School that has embrace us and so exciting to witness what God is doing. 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWZuS5vYzsY


Then this past Sunday, we had four decisions for Christ only ten Minutes into our worship service before we were able to sing our first praise song. Earlier Sunday morning, I felt the Holy Spirit tugging on my heart to bring a new Bible with me and set it on the altar as I felt I was being prepared for someone that was going to make a Kingdom decision during our worship service. When I shared this with the congregation after opening prayer, four came forward to accept Christ as their Lord and savior! Amazing! We had to gather up three more Bibles. 

Loving what happens when the Holy Spirit is outside the box and free to move. 

Blessings
Bob Lenz