Treasuring What Matters
You ... dear friends are the great wealth and joy of our lives. We are in awe at God's goodness to us in giving us you.
In December many of us gasped our way through the largest fire in California history. As someone said about the earlier Santa Rosa Fire "We were inhaling the lives of our neighbors." At one point it spread one acre a second, and burned an area beyond the size of New York City, Boston and San Francisco. As I write this over 1600 firefighters skipped Christmas and fought this fire that on day 22 still burns in mountain ranges.
The Thomas Fire gave all of us in Ventura and Santa Barbara County the gift of perspective. Stuff is replaceable. People are not.
We are so thankful for each of you who have tenderly held our hearts in your hands, who have championed us as we sought to embrace, encourage and educate emerging and existing leaders these past two decades.
This is the time of year many write out vision statements and pour over past longings that they crave to see fulfilled. Resolutions, intentions are good, but I have decided on just one holy ambition.
In 2018 we are longing to follow the Lamb where ever He goes.
In the past following the Lamb where ever He goes has meant many things including-
We hope to continue following the Lamb where ever He goes in Ojai.
In the past this has meant leading INSPIRE! www.InspireOjai.com challenging the entire community to give one hour a year to a public school.
It has also meant praying once a week with some remarkable people through the book of Acts, and now Ezekiel and John, turning the Scriptures into prayer for Ojai. We send 5 days a week to over 400 people a scripture turned into prayer for their city. You can opt in at www.PrayThecity.us
We were delighted when the Los Angeles Times ran the banner Miracle in Ojai! regarding the Thomas Fire. 140 homes were destroyed in Ojai, and we grieve for the over 700 homes lost in Ventura and Santa Barbara County. The expectation was the entire city of Ojai would be destroyed. God has holy ambitions for this tiny city with a megaphone to the world's ear.
In Ventura a few days ago pastors at a gathering of all 27 principals gave each principal $1,000 worth of gift cards to distribute to families devastated by the Thomas Fire. They received a teary eyed standing ovation.
Inspire! through the generosity of many of you has been able to give over $2,000 in goods and cash, to fire victims. If you're interested in how to partner with a school, watch Undivided on Netflix, for a good start. We'd be happy to answer any questions as well.
We want to follow the Lamb wherever He goes, by mentoring exceptional leaders.
We are blessed to invest our lives in emerging and existing leaders in many contexts.
We want to continue to host dinners for International Students getting their Masters degree., Many of them we believe will go on to bless the world with discoveries in stem cell research, bio-infomatics, math, and computer science. They are precious to us.
We want to follow the Lamb wherever He goes with the International School of Reconciliation Studies.
In 2017 our residency school on Creativity and Peacemaking was in Ventura. God met with us wonderfully through the teaching of Jamie Winship, who we are inviting to return in April 2018 to meet with leaders in education and law enforcement. We are praying about Wales as well in 2018.
We want to follow the Lamb where ever He goes, which in the past has meant speaking to various faith communities.
We were honored to host and speak for a YWAM DTS on the Holy Spirit, and speak in various churches, schools, retreats and gatherings .
We want to follow the Lamb in serving Saticoy.
We hope to continue to seek Jesus together with Saticoy, a small leadership community who are serving the greater body of Christ through their gifts. As a church we have been blessed with many musicians and artists as well as seasoned leaders who are quickly deployable to bless the larger body of Christ.
We hope to follow the Lamb wherever He goes in producing Creative Resources for many peoples.
We are just about finished with my 7th book, titled Bettina, it is a memoir about my mentally ill mother, who was wonderful and terrifying. It is a resource for those sitting by the bedside of a difficult person trying to decipher their life.
Our beloved friend Andrea Bocks has been the creative inspiration behind www.storypier.com a pod cast of remarkable stories from around the world. We invite you to give a listen and tell us what you think.
Pediatricians some in well known hospitals we can't mention, continue to give out There Is No Spot Where God Is Not to their foster children patients.
Mama Shekinah which you can watch on Amazon Video on demand, is being shown in 7 nations in 9 languages. It is a powerful story of forgiveness.
We'd love to give you a free fast story driven read www.LivingALifethatOutlivesYou.com to inspire you to follow the Lamb in new ways.
Following the Lamb where ever He goes we know means two things for sure-
Listening carefully, living in our true kingdom identity, and treasuring what matters in seeking to love Jesus We pray to love and encourage people near and far.
May you deeply cherish Jesus in 2018, treasure people, and bring your true identity and all your gifts to the table to see God's great goodness and kindness flow to your city.
Where will the adventure of following the Lamb where ever He goes in 2018 take you?
Joey and Fawn Parish
on behalf of Reignbridge