Tuesday, September 20, 2011

All God's Children

If you've never been in a room full of kids with disabilities, you haven't lived!

That wish may not be at the top your bucket list but, trust me if you ever get the chance it will tip your whole bucket upside down. Add music, worship or performance to that room and you approach an other-worldly experience that quickly becomes spiritual.

There is nothing quite so humbling or profound as watching people express themselves creatively without inhibition. I have had this experience a handful of times: at a Music Therapy Center recital, at Beyond Limits adult Sunday school class, and at the Young Life Capernaum Club Talent Show last June. Take a peek at what our friend Sean Horton captured on film.

My experience must only begin to approach God's delight at watching us, his children--all of us differently-abled--using the gifts He gave us freely without comparison or ego or pride to adulterate them. It's pure and true to a liberating extent.

"Looks aren't everything. Don't be impressed with his looks and stature. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart." 1 Samuel 16:6-8

To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey." Matthew 25:14-15

Photo credit: Bill Wilson

P.S. You're invited to visit a Capernaum Club every other Thursday night at 6:30 at Flood church offices on Ruffin Road in San Diego.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Last Thursday of all Thursdays, we experienced a power outage in all of San Diego. Perhaps you read about it. What the news didn't mention was that Paula Dawson and I had been working for months with Tobias Haglund planning our first annual San Diego Capernaum fundraiser. All that day, we had loaded, unloaded and shlepped belly bar tables, glassware, raffle items, and provisions from around the county up to the 5th floor rooftop venue for this "perfect evening." By 3:00 we were home to shower. At 3:38 the power was out. Regardless of the unforeseen problem, we were back on the roof by 6:00 unable to turn our enthusiasm off.

As Proverbs 19:21 says, "Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails." Following is the letter we delivered the morning after to nearly 100 guests who could not make it...and a few more pictures because we were just so pumped up to celebrate the first year of this ministry!

The people rubbed their eyes, incredulous—and then also gave glory to God. Awestruck, they said, "We've never seen anything like that!"

Luke 5:26 The Message

the namesake story of Capernaum matched our experience last night at the Rooftop Soiree when God said, “Let there be candlelight and a full moon.”

Have you ever planned something that didn’t turn out quite the way you planned it…yet it was still awesome?

Clearly, last Thursday night we were planning one thing and the Lord had another idea. Our preparations for you to hear the highlights of the first year of San Diego Capernaum’s existence were thwarted by the power outage. But not doused.

Twenty-five of us did make it, believe it or not. We have included the photos to prove it. We hope this goodie bag might be the next best thing to being there. When you have time, read on and we will tell you how it went.

Many of you have asked this morning after, “How can I help?” The short answer is: You could complete the enclosed giving card and return it to us. Our top priority is to increase monthly giving through electronic funds transfers of any amount. More on that below

Parents of special needs kids share an almost universal experience of finding God’s greater glory in the midst of what can feel like disappointment or loss at first. A son you thought you’d teach to surf never does. Instead God’s plan for him is to touch hearts through music and transform your family from the inside out. A daughter who may never live alone brings joy to hundreds of “typical” kids at camp with a highly contagious laugh. Last night was one more opportunity to practice flexibility, acceptance of whatever the Lord gives or takes away, and squint our eyes to recognize hidden blessings.

Who would’ve imagined how the Spirit would move amidst the more intimate crowd: the One Hope wine rep was clearly inspired; a volunteer catering assistant hugged us and said he’d like his daughter to work at the camp he heard described; one diehard couple came unshowered after cleaning their salt water aquarium that had flooded; and every single one of our faithful volunteer leaders stayed into the wee hours to fellowship.

We were blessed by your intentions of attending. It was an incredible setting. Liz Stiger told touching stories about the privilege of being the “best friend” to numerous teens with disabilities. She has walked alongside them as they face real trials and make life-changing decisions. She called us to bold belief like the four men who lowered their friend through the roof at Capernaum to get him to Jesus' feet. She told modern day examples of transformation that take place when we invite Jesus into our heart. And she testified to the benefits that inclusive camping offers to the typical kids.

Wonderful as it was to hear her, sample savory treats and and sip a cold Corona after braving the incredulous traffic to finally get there, our goal was not just to show you a night on the town with food, music and a spectacular view. Our goal was to communicate to you the vision of Young Life Capernaum, show you the mighty way God is working through our Area Director, Tobias Haglund and his team, and give you an easy opportunity to participate.

We are convinced God wants San Diego Capernaum to be healthy and self-sustaining. After just 6 months in operation we have grown from serving 8 families to 22. It gives us joy as a Committee that God lets us help Him collect the financial resources needed to sustain and grow this ministry. We have seen first hand the incredible things God is doing through Tobias and his faithful and unbelievably talented leadership team. You can too on our webpage or Facebook where we will post the slideshow and Talent Show video we prepared.

Our fundraising goal for the second year is $70,000. We need $40,000 to “keep the lights on” (pun intended). Another $15,000 would enhance the program (North County is begging for a second Club location), provide additional training, and send more kids to summer camp next year. We also think it prudent to have $15,000 in the bank going into year three. Praise God that we currently have $13,000 in monthly pledges, so we are on our way.

The enclosed card outlines three ways to participate with us; we need Prayers, Players, and Payers. We hope you will check one of those and return it to us.

Payers may give online or by mail. We have donors giving from $5 per month to $400 per month. The automatic withdrawal option is easy, maintenance free, and gives you an email receipt every month. Please consider this as you contemplate your participation. Other donors prefer to give one-time gifts. We appreciate both.

We praise God for the incredible memories of last night: the full moon, the safe arrival and departure of our speaker from Washington, our accident-free exit down five flights of stairs in the dark, the opportunity to feed the homeless of San Diego with copious party trays, the flashlight in Sally’s purse, 2 out of 4 Kingsmen singing Switchfoot's “This is Your Life” unplugged, the exuberant smiles of downtown dwellers who could walk home, the unforgettable memory of being above the fray as sirens sounded without ceasing and the Kingdom work God lets us help Him do.

Who would have thought God's saving power would look like this? Isaiah 53:1-3