Immediate needs for helping Houston and Galveston

From Chris Seay, re-posted from Facebook/Emergent Village (as a note – you’ll hear Chris Seay’s name mentioned several times in our latest something beautiful podcast):

My Brothers and Sisters,

I am not sure how clearly the national media is telling the story of the devastation in Houston and Galveston, but I can tell you that the rare combination of a massive storm that filled the Gulf of Mexico and the fact that it struck Houston and Galveston (a combined population of close to 5 million people) has created a disaster of immense proportions. The majority of the city is still without power and clean water and almost everyone has some kind of damage to their residence or business. Houston, which became known as a city of generosity and hospitality after Katrina, is now experiencing what it is like to be on the other end of that kind of generosity.

Ecclesia is thrilled to be able to represent the broader church as a source for light and love to so many hurting in the devastation of this storm. We will continue to need teams skilled in debris removal, demolition, and construction for much of the coming year. If you are willing to send a team, we will work to provide lodging and logistical support for your teams. We are longing to have brothers and sisters that will demonstrate the love of the Liberating King as they help families in a time of dire need. In addition to those that will come and labor alongside of us, there are some immediate financial needs that would help us to serve the region and share the hope of the gospel. There are three areas of immediate needs:

1) Relief Support — any donations to relief support will go to purchase chainsaws, tools, food, van rentals, water, generators, temporary employment for relief coordinators, and necessary items to support relief teams. We are estimating the immediate need for relief support to be more than 25,000 dollars. If you are able to purchase any of these items in your area and have them delivered to Houston, this would be preferred over local purchasing. However both can be accommodated.

2) Financial Relief — for those suffering financially because of loss of property and income, we would like to offer a short term assistance package. For countless families and individuals struggling to make it financially before the storm (hourly wage employees, immigrants, and single mothers), the last week has often been devastating. We hope that the federal government will improve in their response time, but the church is able and willing to fill this gap. If you would like to give specifically to this package we will distribute the following on your behalf. In the case of single mothers we intend to double the assistance.
$150 Mortgage/Rental Assistance
$100 Grocery Card
$50 Gas Card
$20 Basic Toiletries
Gospel of John (VOX)
We will attempt to continue or begin a long-term relationship with all assisted families and will offer this assistance to as many as possible.

3) Taft Street Coffee as a House of Hospitality — You may know that Taft Street Coffee (the coffee shop owned and run by Ecclesia) is rated each year as one of the top 3 coffee shops in the entire city. This morning we had our power restored and would like to re-open the shop as a site for those still without power. We estimate that over the next three weeks many would benefit from a centrally located house of hospitality that offers air conditioning, a free lunch, coffee drinks, Wi-Fi, phone service, children’s play space, and spiritual support. If you would like to sponsor the food and operational costs to run Taft Street Coffee as a gift to the community, we estimate that cost to be $850 per day.

If you have any questions you can contact me (chris@ecclesiahouston.org) or our Mission Pastor John Starr (john@ecclesiahouston.org). I am grateful for the love and support of the entire church to my beloved City.

related ::
see photos of the devastation

ordinary radicals nearing completion


The Ordinary Radicals – Opening Title Sequence from Jamie Moffett on Vimeo.

as a followup to our great interview with jamie moffett (v 1.6) here’s the opening sequence for the upcoming ordinary radicals movie.

looking great!

follow along on the ordinary radical’s website.

view the latest trailer here.

FREE PREVIEW :: The Faith of Barack Obama

Thomas Nelson Publishing has just released “The Faith of Barack Obama” by Stephen Mansfield (the same author who wrote “The Faith of George Bush”.

As a special treat for our listeners (or just those who stumble upon us while surfing the web) we have a free preview of the book available for download.

Download the Faith of Barack Obama preview (pdf)

From Michael Hyatt, Thomas Nelson President and CEO:

Two years ago, virtually no one outside of the state of Illinois had heard of him. Today, he is a household name, not only in America but around the world. Millions find him to be an inspirational and articulate leader—just what we need at this moment in history. Others find him calculating and dangerous—the same old liberalism in a different package.

But love him or hate him, Obama is a force to be reckoned with. He is not going away any time soon, even if he’s not elected this time around. As Mansfield points out, he could run for the presidency as often as he likes over the next 24 years and still be younger than John McCain is today.

And at the center of his identity is his religious faith. As Mansfield himself says, “If a man’s faith is sincere, it is the most important thing about him, and it is impossible to understand who he is and how he will lead without first understanding the religious vision that informs his life.” Obama makes no bones about it: his faith informs every aspect of his political vision.

This is a slim book with a big agenda: to explain Obama’s faith, to put it in historical context, and to explore what it might mean for our collective future.

Download the Faith of Barack Obama preview (pdf)

Thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishing for the free preview.
Also, HT to John for the heads-up.

the light has come

From Pagan Christianity?:

“The Primitive Church had no New Testament, not thoughtout theology, no stereotyped traditions. The men who took Christianity to the Gentile world had no special training, only a great experience – in which ‘all maxims and philosophies were reduced to the simple task of walking in the light since the light had come.”

– B.H. Streeter, 20th century English theologian and biblical scholar.

may we each learn to walk in the light of Christ.

My creed

Thought I’d share this with the Something Beautiful community.

This has become a bit of a personal creed for me. Not as strong as the Apostles Creed or other important creeds of our faith – but it’s something that’s begun to drive me and lead me each day (especially at work).

imagine if suddenly…
rather than seeking revenge, you sought reconciliation
rather than repaying violence with violence, you sought creative transforming nonviolent alternatives
rather than focusing on external conformity to moral codes, you were internally transformed by love
rather than loving insiders and hating outsiders, you welcomed outsiders into a new “us” and “we”
rather than anxiety about money or security or pleasure, you trusted ourselves to the care of God
rather than living for wealth, you lived for God who loves all people, including our enemies
rather than hating our enemies and competitors, you loved them and did unto them not as they have done unto you – or before they do unto you – but as you wish they would do for you

What creeds or verses or thoughts challenge you and help move your forward each and every day?