Where God Has Been, And Where God is Leading me

Where this past year has taken me:

I know in the past few months it seems I've made kind of a quick shift in my apprenticeship from all things Common Cupboard to Winemaking. This may have been a surprise to you; however, looking back at the past year and looking forward to my future in the wine biz, I don't think it was as fast of a transition as it appeared. In fact, I think I was slowly being prepared for part of what Mike and I envision for the vineyard's mission. (Tip of the hat to you God....) 

Over the past year having to do things like develop my Food and Theology course, and think through the importance of food. I've grown both in my biblical literacy and my understanding of biblical theology (biblical theology shows the unfolding of God's revelation as it progressed through history.) Basically I've grown to love a good story, and want to share God's story with others.....

I've kind of developed into a Bible nerd. Hell, I'd even say it's become my biggest passion. Just in advance: If you and I ever get talking about theology, forgive me... I tend to get little preachy/ranty. 

But I didn't used to be this way, so what changed? 

I think I have Anglicanism to thank for that. It's made me realize that "matter matters." I would of never known how physical Christianity is without it. For example, the importance of sacrament in Anglican worship. The classic definition of sacrament is: "an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace." In simpler terms Sacrament is an encounter with God and his people through something material. So take Communion for example. Through faith, God's presence and grace are imparted through the bread and the wine. How? It's a mystery - deal with it. 

Knowing this has changed the way I view the world. I often wonder what else God makes himself known through, and how I can live more "sacramentally." It's broadened the ways I interact with God, and helps me know how He interacts with me. I'm saying all this because all this theology has lead to a more of passion for matter, IE: Wine. I think it's made me a good fit for This new Vineyard project. And FYI, Mike Agrees:

"Last summer, when Jared asked me to be the “farm liaison” for the Common Cupboard, I had no idea this was the beginning of both a friendship and working relationship fueled by food and theology. Fast forward one year: I quit my cushy government job, launched a farm winery business, planted a 2-acre vineyard and have Jared working on the farm with me as my first employee, actually, “apprentice” is more accurate at this point. Lots can change in a year when you follow God’s leading and take a big leap of faith!

A bit of back-story: I grew up in the Okanagan around endless fruit orchards and back yard gardening. The wine industry hadn’t taken off yet in the Valley and wine was nowhere to be seen in my upbringing. I come from a long line of teetotalers (my Grandma was actually in the Temperance Union) so wine, or any alcoholic beverage, was absent from the dinner table. I was never much of a partier in my teens and pretty much followed my parents’ non-drinking policy until I graduated from my non-drinking Christian university. Ironically, I discovered wine at an art event in my last week of college. It was more of a cultural epiphany than anything. Red wine being served alongside some nice cheese while conversing with friends at a film screening… it was amazing! And it had nothing to do with getting drunk.

This was the start of a long journey discovering my passion for wine, food and farming. All the while, rebuilding a healthier theology around the abundance and beauty that God has given us through His Creation. I realized now that I grew up in a Christian sub-culture that was skeptical of the physical world and valued the spiritual world above all. My years at The Table have been transformational in helping me see how Christ’s incarnation brings meaning and value to both the material and spiritual aspects of our existence. I don’t have to feel guilty about enjoying a beautiful meal at a restaurant or spending hours in the “Wine Bunker,” aka my basement, crafting the next vintage to share with friends and family. I now see this as another form of worship. Through the creative acts of making wine, tending vines or making a meal I’m directly communing with God by both perpetuating and celebrating His Creation.

Taking the leap into farming and winemaking full time has become a form of ministry for me. The opportunity to do this work has only come through the blessings of a few key relationships God has brought into my life in recent years. These people have provided mentorship, land and financial support and ultimately made the dream of a farm and winery materialize far sooner than I could have ever imagined. Just as I’ve been blessed by these relationships, I see the farm winery business as a conduit for God’s blessings to flow into the world, whether literally into a glass of wine or through the relationships built with neighbours, customers, employees or the land itself.

This brings us back to Jared. I’ve started to refer to him as my CTO (Chief Theology Officer) or The Vineyard Priest. It’s been amazing to have someone working alongside me in the vineyard and cellar who deeply understands the concept of living out our lives sacramentally. That matter matters. The theological foundation Jared has received through his apprenticeship at the Table is so important to the work we are doing on the farm: Christ revealed in common life. I’m honoured and blessed to have Jared working with me at the farm as part of his apprenticeship. As he works more and more with his hands this coming year, may he experience God’s grace through grapes!"

~Mike Rathjen

 

Financial Update and Need

I became a Table Apprentice because I felt I had a calling to risk. This was unnatural for me. For example, before I started this journey even the word risk gave me a bit of anxiety. But just over a year ago I had to make a decision, and the option that seemed scarier also felt like the right one in my gut. So I decided to go follow it, and I became and Urban Missionary at The Table. Boy, am I glad that I did. The amount of personal growth over the last year has been staggering. Maybe you've noticed? let me know if you have, It's nice to get feedback. 

One of the major ways which I think I have grown is that I've become less selfish/self absorbed. This is due to a number of factors, but here's just a few:

1) Many of the people I've spent time with during the past year have been risk takers who have taught/shown me (knowingly or unknowingly) how to trust God. It's made me more aware of my need for others and for God. 

2) Being constantly vulnerable. This takes multiple forms in the apprenticeship. for example: speaking in front of people with little experience, leading/facilitating small groups with little experience, figuring out how to manage your time and self motivate with little or no experience. Reaching out to people you barely know and asking to spend time with them. I could go on and on, but basically everything I've done so far and can expect to do in the future is something new in which I can't rely primarily on myself or my skills. It's taught me to be humble. And it's taught me to have a healthy neediness for others and for God to help me. 

3) Having to fundraise has taught me a lot about my standing with God. Being financially dependant on others has been one big metaphor for learning to become spiritually dependant on God. God's grace has been communicated to me in this way.

So what does this have to do with my finances? I think God was calling me to risk a over a year ago because he knew was a leader(even when I didn't), and he wants me to lead in a particular way at my church in Victoria. But I needed time to develop some skills, and I needed the space for the Gospel to take hold of me. One of my favourite preachers/teachers is Tim Keller. I listen to him speak a lot. He once said "You know that The Gospel has taken hold of you when you go out into the world not looking to see "who if I hang out with will make me feel good about myself?" Oh no, you go out there and you say "who just needs someone to hang out with them? You go out there not looking to be affirmed but to be affirming." This one quote has stuck with me for about 6 months now. It's the thing that got the wheels turning in my soul. It confronted my Idols and began to change something that was extremely high on my list of values....me.  It's the reason that I started to consider moving out on my own, because I wanted to have the ability and the space to bless people. 

Well, As it turns out...I've found a place to live. I move in at the Beginning of July. (thank you for your prayers.) Not only is it a good place for some one on one mentoring and small group hosting, but it's also in the same building that fellow table apprentice Eric Guthrie is moving into as well. We are already plotting and scheming ministry and mission opportunities together for our new place, which is in a neighbourhood of Victoria not substantially populated by other Tablers. Loads of potential!

But with following where I believe God is calling me comes with some added financial cost. My Rent is increasing, So I need some help. Here is what I need:

I need to raise $2600 in order to cover these new living costs, either through one time gifts or monthly support, or upping your monthly support. Would you consider partnering with me again, as I continue to go where I sense God’s Spirit is leading, In order for me to live out The Table's desire to see Christ revealed in common life?

If you'd need more information reguarding donations or have any other questions at all, please feel free to contact me at 250-508-7372 or at jared@tablechurch.ca

Thank you for helping to supply my needs this past year. You've personally had a hand in my development as a person and child of God (that's pretty cool!). I deeply appreciate your support, and thank you for all your generosity. 

The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.

-Jared

 

Things you can pray for:

-Please pray for this new living situation. That God would be tangibly present there as Eric and I seek to bless others in this new way.

-Please pray that my financial needs will be met. 

 

 

 

 

 

May Update

Hey Fans, 

Jared here, checking in from The Table's office down at Church of Our Lord. It's June 1st, which in my mind is crazy! This year is flying by - Wouldn't you agree? The month of May seemed to go especially quick, so I'll do my best to recap it. 

Marking out the row's 

Marking out the row's 

-Vineyard work has officially begun, and so far it's been really great! We've successfully planted about 3000 new vine cuttings into the ground of the Saanich Peninsula. (although not without a lot of patient endurance - mostly on Mike's part.) Yes, the vines are in the ground, but there is still some work to be done to ensure that our little friends grow and thrive. We still need to place a milk carton around each vine to protect against pests, and we need to put some mulch on top of all the rows. Sigh...things are going slower than they were planned, but I guess thats just the way it goes. On top of that we've inherited another vineyard on the Peninsula....Kind of. We're actually just managing half of it. Yes it's more work, but it's actually a total gift for various reasons. I won't get into that now.

Even though I'm only doing this part time I feel like it's a big part of my life now. I notice myself thinking about the little vines all the time, worrying about the weather - that kind of stuff. 

This past month has been a pretty emotionally exhausting one, and I think I'm mostly to blame. for a few weeks leading up to May I was praying a lot to God about grace. I'd been asking him to help me understand it better, and take it from an abstract concept to something that I can actually sink my teeth into. Grace is something that I struggle with, and since it's integral to the Christian faith, I figured I better start thinking about it more. Well... I think he delivered, or at least go the ball rolling. Sometimes you've gotta watch what you ask God for... 

Anyways, this month I had 4 things happen that were full of conflict and conflict resolution. Some of the things were my fault, some of the things were the other parties fault. I got a crash course on grace. Not only on giving grace, but also on receiving it as well. I don't know which one is harder... But in any case It was a good start and God gave me a lot to think about. I still want to grow in this area and I think God still wants me to grow in this area too. I'm expecting more things to have to struggle through in the not to distant future. 

Tied into that last rant, I've been meeting with a lot more people. I'm trying to be a bit more "pastoral." Maybe that's the wrong word..hmmm...I don't know, more of a mentor? I feel that I'm turning out to be a pretty solid Christian, and there's a lot of people who need guidance... Some of these people are in the church, some have no church experience, and some are burnt out christians who are fed up with their experience of christianity so far. All of these people are in my network though. Since I'm pretty sold on this whole Christianity thing, I've been trying to meet with more people to listen to their stories and struggles. I'm really enjoying it, although at times it can get a bit tense. I think I'm learning the value of playing the "long game" with people. Often it feels like you have to say all the right things or have a really convincing argument. I think those moments are valuable, but it's also easy to forget that you most likely will have a bigger impact on a person if they know that you love and value them. And that means spending time with people...A lot of time. But I'm pretty sure that's the mission of the Church, or at least my church... we long to see Christ revealed in common life. 

There's one other thing that has been adding to the mental fatigue this month, and that's the anniversary of my brother's death. It's hard to believe it's already been a year. This time last year I had just gotten back from Utah for my mental break. Kinda seems like I need another one....I'm overstating how I'm actually feeling, I'm really not doing that bad, I'm just a bit tired.

Even though it's been a little bit draining it, takes a lot for me to get really upset about his death because I witnessed the life that came out of it. I'm apart of that life. I've been so enlivened by the hope that came from it and because against all odds Jordan decided to glorify God through his lot. It reminds me of John's Gospel when the resurrected Jesus is chatting with Peter in the last chapter:

"When you were young, you used to to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go." (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, "Follow me." 

For some reason I find great comfort in this. I get a sense of God's intimacy in this. Maybe I just picture Jesus saying these words to Jordan before he died. Maybe I just picture Jesus saying these same words to all of us. Part of following Jesus means following Jesus into death, and that's what Jordan did. Anyways interesting interaction between Jesus and Peter eh?

God doesn't heal every sick person is this world, he just doesn't. And look, we're all going to die one day, but Jordan was in Christ, so I know he will receive the only complete and permanent healing that God offers - The resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. The only complete and true healing comes through death. Jordan is just one step ahead of us all who are in Christ. That's how I like to think of it anyways. All is not lost. 

 

Prayer requests:

-Still looking for a place to live, although I have a few leads!

-Pray for the people I described vaguely in this email, and pray for my time with them. 

 

April Update

Hey folks,

I hope you're all enjoying this sunny spring as much as I am. I already have some impressive tan lines which unfortunately I'll be sporting for the rest of the year....

Spring is commonly thought of as a season of new beginnings, and that's exactly what April has brought me. New direction, new opportunities, new skills, the list goes on.... 

Here's some of the highlights:

I preached my very first sermon!

What a cool opportunity this was! It was scary, but I learned so much in the process. I had the pleasure of speaking on Revelation 1:9-20. Intimidating? Yes. Stretching? Yes. Fun? also yes. I'm the one to blame for our church doing sermon series on the book of Revelation, but so far I think our church is really benefiting from it. I preached my section two times in one day, and I'm glad I did. It was really helpful to make some tweaks heading into the second time through. I expect I'll be called upon to preach again at some point, but I feel a lot more confident now that I've gotten the first one over with. 

You can check out my sermon here:

 

I'm going to be a farmer!?

Yes it's true. One of the goals of the Urban Missionary Apprenticeship at The Table is to help you discern where you're going to be vocationally after the apprenticeship. You could end up in full time ministry or you could end up having nothing to do with the church at all after the apprenticeship. It's a focused time to learn about your giftings, your goals, and what you do want to pursue and what you don't want to pursue. It's best to go into it with open hands. That's what I've tried to do with my apprenticeship. I was hired on to see if I wanted to pursue running my own food based non-profit one day.  And, over the past year I've definitely discerned that I do not want to do that. But I did realize that I love Farming. I suppose this it was God had planned for me. I fell completely ass backwards into the farming world.

This time last year at my friend Mike Rathjen's spring wine release party I got re-aquatinted with his brother in law (and former Tabler) Mike Nierychlo. This was just after my brother had died, and I was in need of something to take my mind off of things. Mike Nierychlo and I got to talking, and he invited me up to the vineyard to get my hands dirty and to clear my mind. Trust me, Vineyard work is healing, in an exhausting way... I fell in love with the work, and as you know I eventually ended up going up to Emandare Vineyards frequently, soaking up all the wine knowledge I could. Since I gained some experience at Emandare I was able to help out Mike Rathjen with his wine project, and as it turns out He's also starting his own vineyard on the Saanich Peninsula.

I'm saying all of this because just last month Mike Rathjen asked he could hire me on part time to help him with his project. Of course I was interested in helping him out, but I didn't think I could balance Common Cupboard, church work and vineyard work. But interestingly, for the past couple months my pastor Josh has been reassessing his role at The Table. He's a total entrepreneur and he lovesdeveloping projects, so his role is shifting into creating a social enterprise with different expressions to help The Table with funding. He wants The Common Cupboard to be one of those expressions, but he wants it to look totally different than how I want it to look. He's always wanted to expand The Common Cupboard out, and I've always wanted to keep it small. So after Mike R and I talked, I went to Josh and told him about Mike's offer. Long story short, we thought it would be best if I begin to pursue vineyard work. Josh with the help help of someone else will eventually take over the common cupboard, and take it into a new place. I'm totally ok with that, I think it would be great if The Common Cupboard became something bigger than it is, but I don't think i'm the right person to do that. We both agreed on that. So for the next couple months I'll be managing the common cupboard while trying to find someone else to take it over and help develop it. 

In our meeting Josh encouraged me to go to Mike R and see if we could make this a long term situation. A Career. I met up with Mike R a few days later and pitched it to him, and it turns out he was totally on board. He was actually planning for a full time employee at around the time my apprenticeship is over, so the timing couldn't of been better! 

Here's what the rest of my apprenticeship will look like:

For the rest of this year: 3 parts church work to one part vineyard work.

Next year: 3 parts vineyard work to 1 part church work.

September 2017 (end of the apprenticeship): Full time winemaker.

 

There was one catch to Josh allowing me to shift focus', I have to continue to pursue some form of verbal proclamation role in terms of the Gospel. This could mean more teaching, leading groups, mentoring, or all three. I'm totally on board with this, and I want to continue pursuing this anyways. I think it would be really neat if the vineyard could be tied into a ministry of some kind in the future. I know how healing it's been for me, it would be amazing to help others heal in the future. I'm excited for the the future holds!

 

Things you can pray for:

-The right person to come along and take over The Common Cupboard. 

-I'm still looking for new housing. Please pray for the right fit. 

 

March Update

It's been an odd month for me at the Table. I've been in deep processing mode. A few weeks leading up to the Philippines I sensed that I was about to enter a new season personally. It was foggy, but it was there. Maybe something was just on my mind because three of my closest friends since becoming a Christian are leaving in a couple months for good. That has been on my mind a lot. It's caused me to reflect on the last 3 years and where God has taken me. I've really grown a lot. I never thought of myself as ever being a leader, but I guess it was inevitable. For the longest time I was uncomfortable with thinking of myself in that light. It's been a long process to accept it, and i'm still trying to accept it, but I guess that's what I am. Even just over half a year ago I was terrified to get up and speak in front of people. Now, I'll be preaching in two weeks. Weird.

I guess getting more comfortable with myself as a leader has caused me to feel more responsible for the people a The Table. For the past 3 years I've been on the receiving end of great community and relationships, But I haven't been the one pursuing people. I guess this is a direction God wants me to follow. I feel more responsible to be the one pursuing relationships. There's a lot of people who could use some mentorship and someone intentionally seeking relationship with them. Even in a tight-knit community like The Table there's still lots of confusion and loneliness. I remember being there and in some ways I still am, But I've had a lot of amazing people pursue and spend time with me in this community along the way. And Honestly, thats a big reason why I've grown. So I'd like to start paying it forward.

 Look at me...getting all soft and stuff.... who would of thought? 

In this processing, I've come to the conclusion that I need to make a few changes. One of the big changes I want to make is my living situation. I currently live with 3 other people in a small duplex around hillside mall. This has been great for the past year, especially financially, but it has no been great for the ability to invite people into my home. My current place is always buzzing with activity. The house feels very full, very fast. It's hard enough to have a private conversation, let alone cook someone dinner, or lead a small group. So I've got to make some changes. I'm not entirely sure what I'm looking for yet. I'm thinking either a place with one other person, or a one bedroom. I guess I'll just have to pray about it. In either case I want the place to have enough space to host. I currently don't have another person to live with, So thats makes looking for a place a challenge. Maybe a place on my own is where God wants me to go, or maybe God will bring someone. Worth praying about. 

 

What have I been working on? 

-Shelbourne Community Kitchen

A few weeks ago I met with Kim and Laura who work at SCK, along with a woman named Katie who attends another church in the Gordon Head area. We got together to chat about the possibility of combining our efforts to start up a pocket market in Gordon Head. (a pocket market is just a very scaled down farmers market.) Well, we decided to not go for it, but something positive did come out of the conversation. Kim really enjoyed the fact that tree different organizations could get together in a room and try to collaborate. She noted that one of the reasons that food based organizations have little impact in this city is because they have too big of a vision and not enough resources. Plus, they're isolated. Everyone is trying to do their own thing. So she was excited that the four of us were even meeting. Kim proposed the idea of having a semi regular evening where representatives from various food based projects get together connect on what everyone is doing in the city. I liked the idea. It would be good to have personal contacts from organizations around the city to support each other where we can, and possibly combine our efforts. Could be fun... I'm going to keep the conversation going with Kim an see what happens.

Beef "Meat and Greet."

As part of the beef order this year, my team and I thought it would be a good experience and opportunity for our community to meet the man behind the meat. In about a week's time we'll be heading to Colin, our rancher's, family home for a tour of his property and to meet the heard that we'll soon be dining on. We thought this would be a great educational experience for people, and a time to ask any questions about meat and food production direct from an expert rather than google....

-Sermon

Much of this month has been spent working on this upcoming sermon. I can tell you first hand, a lot of time and preparation goes into writing a sermon. I don't know how pastors do it every week. We (the table apprentices) have been taught 5 steps in preparing a sermon: 1) devotional, 2) exegesis, 3) Hermeneutics, 4)Homiletics, 5) devotional. 

This is not how every pastor does it, this just is my pastor's preaching professor's method of going about a sermon. Each step provides it own challenges. It's really stretching. I've spent hours reading the text, looking as atlases, lexicons, commentaries, narrative theology books, etc... All that to say, it's been time consuming. I've also re-written my sermon 3 times, and I'll probably write it again now that I've preached it to my peers and pastor Andy. They thought it was good, but I'm not satisfied with it. I'm still struggling to understand what my passage is really saying. I promise i'm not obsessing about it. I'm actually looking forward to preaching it.

I'll be preaching two times on April 17th. In the morning at 10am at Brentwood Table (7162 West Saanich road), and in the evening at 4pm at Table North (3460 Shelbourne street). Andy thinks its good practice to do it 2 times in one day, so I might as well. If you'd like to come, feel free to come to either of those. 

 

Prayer Requests:

-New living situation

I could use prayer for this new living situation. I've told my roommate's my plan and they're ok with it. There is not a huge rush to leave my current place. but please pray that God would provide the right situation. I'd like to move within the next 2-3 months. 

-The sermon

This is my first sermon, so I am a little nervous about it. Please pray that God would reveal himself to me and to my community in a new way through this text I've been studying. 

 

Thank you all for your continuing support and prayers. God bless,

-Jared

 

 

 

I'M BACK!

To say that this trip to The Philippines was great would be underselling it. It was much, much more than great. I will never forget the sights, the sounds, the people, and especially the food. (I'm still recovering.)  It great as it was, it was also exhausting. Two straight weeks of go, go, go. Most days functioning on 5-6 hours (sometimes less,) and 30 degree + weather in jeans, a dress shirt, and shoes. (Most Evangelical churches down there are quite conservative.) All that to say, it was a FULL trip. Full of exhaustive goodness. You may be wondering at this moment, "why did he go to The Philippines again?"  Let me explain:

November 2015

One brisk winter evening a few months back, I got a call from my friend of 15 years, Fraser Campbell. Fraser is a worship leader here in town, and also a touring worship artist. For the past 7ish years Fraser has felt called to focus on touring with his music in Canada, and he's done pretty well here. He's been nominated for a Juno and gotten to the point where the USA has taken some notice, and asked him to come down. For all you who don't know, if you want to actually "make it" or at least make a living doing music, you need to go to the states. It's a hard market to break into though.

After thinking about it for some time, Fraser declined. it wasn't sitting right with him. So after spending some time with God, He felt a stronger calling to go minister with his music to the Philippines. (which is not a smart business plan... HAHA) But that's not what ministry is all about. (trust me, you don't get into it for the money.....) So with obedience, he started putting some feelers out there to some churches. It was during this time that he gave me a call. I've played music on and off with Fraser for 11 years, I've gone on a number of tours, and been on more teams than I can count with him. He's also the first person to see my drumming potential and push me to share my gifts in front of people. Anyways, nothing was set in stone yet, but he needed to see who was available. When he called, I didn't even think about it. I said yes right away. I just had a good feeling about it. I had no idea how I would pay for it, but I knew it would be fine. Long story short, with lots of help from God, things came together perfectly. 

OK now on to the trip....

 

Schedule and Locations

Feb 17 - Manila

Feb 18 - Bacolod 

Feb 19th - Bacolod

Feb 20th - Bacolod/Manila  

Feb 21st - Manila/Cabanotuan City 

February 22nd - Cabanotuan City/ Manila

February 23rd - Manila

February 24th - Manila

Feb 25th - Manila/ Batangas City  

Feb 26th - Batangas City

Feb 27th - Batangas City/ Puerto Princesa 

Feb 28th - Puerto Princesa/ El nido 

Feb 29th - El Nido/Puerto Princesa

March 1st - Puerto Princesa/ Manila

March 2nd - Home

 

What did I do?

My view from the stage before a street ministry event in a mall.

My view from the stage before a street ministry event in a mall.

The primary purpose of this trip was to lead people in worship through music. This included regular Sunday morning music sets, but it also included concerts, and helping out with street ministry events. We played for a lot of people. Thousands actually. Not every night, but some nights we did! Christianity is everywhere in the Philippines. It's the polar opposite to Canada. The average church size in Canada is 80 people. That would be a dead church in the Philippines. It was really cool to witness. 

I forgot to get a picture of the class I took, so this is a picture of one of the classes that Fraser taught. There were just under 500 people there.

I forgot to get a picture of the class I took, so this is a picture of one of the classes that Fraser taught. There were just under 500 people there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      One of the Highlights of the trip for me was the chance to lead two workshops on how to play drums in a worship band . I had a great time sharing my personal philosophies on both technique and execution, but also on the spiritual side of things as well. Being a drummer on a worship team is no small task, and it's been a process for me. I got to share on how I've learned to listen, pride, obedience, humility, so on and so on. Basically I got to share my Journey with people. My struggles and my joy's. It was a blast. I hope that people benefitted from the time they spend in my class. I think they did.

 

 

At the end of the day though, the best part of the trip was spending time with people. Filipino's are an amazing people. They're (at least the ones I spent time with) so warm, hospital, funny, optimistic and loving. It was hard to leave. They were so excited that we came all the way from Canada to visit them. They honestly treated us like celebrities. There were certain points in the trip where I felt like one of The Beatles. We learned very quickly how much it meant to each individual when we would set aside time to intentionally get to know them. So we used our "celebrity status" to bless them, love them, and encourage them. Even a picture together meant a lot to them. It was a true gift so spend time with people. 

 

What did I learn?

I learned that the North American Church has a lot to learn. It was shocking to witness how much Filipino christians love to spend time with God. Their faith and their relationship with God is EVERYTHING to them. It's not like here, where being a christian is just another notch in your belt so to speak. Their lives are not nearly as compartmentalized as ours. I've heard many christians here say, "I'm a christian, but it's not all that I am." Lord have mercy.... 

The Filipino's I spent time with were so dependent on God for all things, and they fully expected him to show up. It was really amazing to witness the confidence and trust they had in God. 

I really enjoyed witnessing the abandon of each person's reputation for when they were worshipping in church. They didn't care what they looked like, or what the people around them thought. It was just them and God. It was really refreshing for me, and it allowed me to loosen up as well. I danced, I yelled, I sang. It was great. It was also really amazing to witness the boldness they have with their faith to non christians. They were not embarrassed to be identified as Christian at all. (unlike here) In fact, they were quite vocal about it. I asked a girl about her boldness to unbelievers and she said: " I like the lyrics of this song, 'light up the world.' The lyrics are 'For if we'll not tell them just how much you love them, then tell me how will they know?' " That's just the attitude of the Filipino christians. They understand the Gospel is to be shared, and they put themselves out there in order to do so.

 

It was a great trip. I actually feel quite refreshed even though it was so hectic. I'm still processing everything that i experienced and witnessed, but i know I've come back a changed person. Thanks be to God.

 

Things you can pray for:

-I've finally got a preaching date. Looks like I'll be preaching on April 17. Not sure of the time/location. I'll let you know when I know. I'm looking forward to it, but with anything new theres always a bit of anxiety. Please pray for focus, peace and thank God for him bringing me into this new place. 

-After being away for two weeks I've come back to some mild chaos at work. Please pray for patience and efficiency with getting through all the tasks I need to catch up on. 

-Pretty soon I'm going to be starting another round of the "Food and Theology" course that I designed and led last fall. please pray for God to bring the right people to that group who are in a place to receive what God has for them through my work.

 

PEACE AND LOVE,

-Jared.

 

 

 

 

 

 

January Update

Happy belated new year everyone!

I think If I could summarize January in one word, it would be clarity. In late December as I was Looking back on 2015, I was feeling unsatisfied with The Common Cupboard. It felt like I was missing the mark. Some of the stuff I was doing under the umbrella of The Common Cupboard was valuable, but unfocused. So I thought that I needed to figure out the Vision and Identity of The Common Cupboard once and for all. In a sense, play time was over. In my first update, I wrote about how I had a shift in vision from what was originally planned. When when it came time to actually put the shift into practice life got busy(my fault), and the new vision never really became clear. This lead me to set a good part of January aside just to finalize the Vision. With the help of my team, here's what we came up with:

 

Common Cupboard: Making Good Food More Common

The purpose of The Common Cupboard is to express the renewed relationship we have in Christ: with God, community, creation and self through the cultivation and thoughtful consumption of food.

Our main ways in expressing these renewed relationships (Values):

Community, Education, Participation.

 

From now own, these values inform everything that The Common Cupboard will do. If an idea for a new action items comes to me and doesn't hit at least one of these 3 values, then it's not worth doing. Our values inform our actions. For example, cookeries are really worth pursuing because they hit on all 3 values: They are a community event, They're primarily food education, and they equip participants to go out and execute what they've learned. We will definitely be doing more of these in the future. 

I'm really happy with this new vision. I think it's realistic, and it allows me to live out what gets me excited about christianity.  

IMG_474674518-1.JPG

Meet the Meat

Another thing that I started working on in January was the prospect of a new steer to sell thought common cupboard. Our friend Colin Mann has a hobby farm where he raises grass fed beef, and he asked if we were interested in buying. My friend Mike and I visited the property and checked out the herd. The girls were looking happy and healthy, so in spring we'll have a freshly butchered cow to distribute. We're going to take this opportunity to educate people as much as we can about the why good quality meat matters, how to cook with cuts you're not comfortable with, and more. Stay tuned.  

Learning To Preach

January marked the beginning of something I never thought I would do. All the apprentices at the table started a preaching lab with my paster, Andy. Andy is equipping us for the next couple of months with how to prepare and execute a sermon. All four of us apprentices will be preaching our first sermon in a couple of months. Pretty exciting stuff! It's pretty amazing to look back and see where God has taken me. I'll let you all know when I'm preaching. 

Financial update.

Thank you all for your prayers this past month and a half while I've been in need. I'm happy to say that I'm back up to full support! WAHOO!  

Things you can pray for.

-I met with someone from another church in town who is interested in expressing her faith through food. We chatted about a number of things: The Common Cupboard, if there could be any crossover between our churches, and the potential of starting a market in Gordon Head. This last one is a major dream of hers, and I'm interested in the possibility of a combined church effort on this. So we're doing a bunch of research right now to see if it's actually doable. We have a meeting scheduled with another agency in town that works with low income families to brainstorm further. Any prayer for this potential project would be appreciated. 

-In two weeks I'm flying out to The Philippines with my friend Fraser to play worship music at a number of churches. I've done music ministry for a long time with him, and it's always an amazing time. I really don't know what to expect heading into a foreign country, so please just pray for safety, painless time change adjustment, health, and that God would be present to the people of The Philippines through our music.  

 

 

 

 

December Reflections

I usually try to steer away from too much reflection at the end of each year, but this year I can't help it. What a year it's been! I want to take this time to let you in on some of my thoughts concerning my journey this past year. Instead of blabbing on for ever, I thought I would do a sort of David Letterman "Top 10."

Top 3 things I've learned in 2015!

#3 - Risk is good

Before this year I was so scared of trying things, because I was afraid of failure. I mean, I still struggle with this, but I'm getting better at risking because most of this Job is working in and with uncertainty. Risk is becoming a close friend of mine. It's helped me grow and learn to relax and not sweat the small stuff as much. From starting a mid-week group at the church, to fundraising, to doing more public speaking than ever before, learning to just try, and be vulnerable has been a slow and healthy process. Even though it's been hard.

#2 - My Identity is not rooted in my reputation

I know I've talked about this before, but It's been monumental for personal growth. It's funny how words can be so freeing. I have been plagued with caring so much about what people think of me for much of my life. But ever since my friend/mentor put words around what I where I was tapping my value from, I've felt like a different person. I have some weaponry for when I get into people pleasing mode. It gives me a chance to think "my identity is not rooted in my reputation, but is rooted in being a disciple of Jesus." It also puts the focus off me. When I'm trying to please people, it's really centred around my feelings and sense of worth. I want people to approve of me, and think I'm intelligent, funny, capable...WHATEVER. But, in having my Identity rooted in being a disciple of Christ, it switches from wanting to be affirmed all the time to wanting to affirm others. Language is powerful. 

#3 - You have to learn to love the bomb

By that i mean you have to learn to love the thing that you're most afraid of. You have to learn to steer toward fear, don't try to avoid it. I love this! Man, did I get a bomb this year with Jordan dying, but this is why I've been able to face my brothers death head on, and come out on the other side with so much Joy and gratitude. I understand now that embracing suffering and the things your most afraid of brings great joy. Through Jordan's dying I was able to get to know Jordan to depths that I would never have approached before. The intimacy that I got to experience with him during those times....I've never experienced anything like it. It was mystifying and beautiful. I got a chance to truly present with my brother. The real Jordan, with all the BS stripped away. I'm especially grateful for his last 2 months. Even though he was physically decaying in front of me, he radiated the kingdom of God in every interaction he had. I got to witness that. In a strange way I think he was fully alive in those last 2 months. If nothing else. Suffering provides options for response. I could look back on those awful times in the hospice with bitterness against God for allowing this, but that just leads to anger and more sorrow. "You have to learn to love the bomb." My brother dying is the last thing I wanted to happen. But, by embracing his death as seeing it as a great gift, I feel so thankful and Joyful. Both the good and bad in life are gifts, because life itself is a gift. Sounds strange doesn't it? Isn't this what the bible is getting at with "the magnificat?" (Luke 1:46-55) We have so little control in this life, but we do have control in our response. And besides...What's the chief end of Man? To glorify God and to enjoy him forever. (shout out to you Anglicans out there!)

Looks like my "Top 3" are all connected in some way. Interesting....

Gazing forward into 2016, I feel more equipped than ever before. I have a sense of peace and optimism, and I feel ready to lean into fear with confidence. This apprenticeship has been instrumental in growing in this way. I think it was a smart move to take this position at The Table. I'm looking forward to seeing how God is going to use me in 2016. Thank you all for helping me to grow.  I'm so grateful, that I have people in my life who believe in me and have such hope for my future. 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

-Jared

 

Things you can pray for:

- I'm still in fundraising mode because a major donor had to drop out. Pray that God will help to fill that gap. Fundraising is hard. Good, but hard. If you have any questions about where I'm at financially, please drop me and email or give me a call.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November In Review

In some ways, I'm disappointed in how November went. I was really desiring November to be a productive month at work, but things just didn't come together on that front. Maybe part of that was because I had just finished with two months of intensity in leading the newest Table mid-week group. All of my focus for the past two and a half months had been on work, and as a result I did not attend to any personal needs. And it's funny, because Looking back on November, it's been the complete opposite situation from the previous two months. November has been an amazing month for personal development. My sleep has greatly improved, I'm in an exercise routine, I've been making much better choices and have been less impulsive, and I've found a book that has really encouraged me, and has helped me encourage others. 

Check it out here:

 https://books.google.ca/books?id=bl-zxKmvQJMC&redir_esc=y

I suppose that rest was the theme of November, but it was an active rest. By that I mean I wasn't focussing solely on production. Boy, in writing this I can't help but realize how much God has been and is transforming me. Pretty sweet!

What have I been working on?

Most of my work this past month has been organizing/editing my notes from the Food and Theology study I created earlier this year. I'm making a study guide and workbook for future home groups at The Table. The goal is to lead one more F & T mid-week group, and have the workbook ready by the spring. I'm hoping that this will become a staple that The Table can use for years to come. 

This past week I  reconnected with an agency across from Table North location. The Agency is called The Shelbourne Community Kitchen. I visited SCK and dropped off some flour and other goodies to them. I wanted to connect with them because they are right across from where Table North Worships, and also because I love that they are a small scale operation. from what I've seen, the coordinator and volunteers have actual relationships with their clients because of their size. I think that's great, and love supporting operations like that. Kim (the coordinator) and I have been talking over the past several months, and right now we're exploring what some crossover with the two of us would look like.  

http://shelbournecommunitykitchen.ca/

What Have I been thinking about?

November has been somewhat of a contemplative month. The 2nd was my brothers birthday. He would of been 30 years old. I remember him saying to me in the hospice that he was really looking forward to being 30. So when his birthday came around I was reminded of the exact moment he shared that with me. He was so incredibly discouraged at that time. While I was reflecting on this however, I was not despondent. Quite the opposite actually. I felt thankful. Thankful for my time with him, thankful for being alive, thankful that he's been released from the pain he was in. It's funny, I think I quite often slip into cynicism, it's almost reactionary. But through this whole death thing I've been tremendously hopeful and thankful. What a gift! This has come in handy. Especially this month, because one of the priests at my church and co-worker of mine died 10 days after my brothers birthday. It was a chaotic month for our church because of that. There was a lot of confusion and sadness among my community, but I was so steeped in hope that the discouragement of death couldn't touch me. I hope that people saw my joy during this time, and in knowing my situation were encouraged.
 

Prayer update: 

My sleep has improved a great deal! About 3 weeks ago I went to the doctor seeking medicinal help for my sleep. It was a last resort since I knew that prescription drugs are quite addictive, because once you've started them, it's extremely hard sleep again without them. To my surprise the doctor was resistant to me taking drugs for my sleep. He explained to me that I should give proper sleep hygiene a try, and sent me on my way with a nightly routine. It took a couple of days for my mind to adjust, but pretty much ever since then I've been sleeping better. AWESOME right!? Thanks to all of you who have been praying!

What you can pray for:

-Shelbourne Community Kitchen and The Table: That God will bring something awesome out of this partnership. 

-More direction for the Common Cupboard. 

-Time management/motivation. Maybe it's just the weather, but I've been a bit lax over the last couple weeks. Pray for God to kick my but back into gear, and that I will use my time efficiently. 

 

 

 

 

 

October in Review

My Food and Theology guinea-pigs. 

My Food and Theology guinea-pigs. 

Now that I'm at the tail end of it, October was a positive step forward in my personal development. At the beginning of the month I was still feeling a bit overwhelmed with the task of getting through Food and Theology, the small-group that I've been designing and leading in tandem. I've never lead a small-group before, let alone design the material for one, so it's been a challenge.

Something that this Job has brought up to the surface in me to deal with, is placing my identity in my reputation. What people think of me based on what I produce or don't produce. This has never been more highlighted than in my time working on Food and Theology. It was a really vulnerable spot to be in. I toiled from Thursday to Wednesday on the topic for the upcoming evening, immersing my self biblical commentaries, books, accordances, internet articles, and conversations with my pastors so I can have something that's biblically accurate, and something that I think will help people see the story of bible in a fresh way. looking back on the last 8 weeks, I can say that I'm proud of the work that I've done, but the evenings that went the best were the ones where I got out of God's way. The evenings where I put my reputation aside and just went in trusting god's story, and for himself to be revealed, even in my failings. 

This has been the theme of October---> What areas of my life am I placing my identity in my reputation? Once Identified,  How can I reorient my identity into Christ? It's a struggle, but a worthwhile struggle.

Things you can pray for:

Sleep: I've ben having a really hard time sleeping. I've always had difficulties falling asleep, but recently has been really discouraging. It takes me 3 or 4 hours +, sometimes even longer to fall asleep. It's affecting other areas of my life, So I would be really grateful for some prayer directed towards this.

Wisdom: Over the next few months I'm going to go over my Food and Theology material and try to improve it. This looks like navigating what worked and what didn't, and locating any blind spots I had. Along with that, I would like to create actual course materials, readings, note book etc... My hope is to create something that can carry on in The Table without me having to lead it every time. 

 

Thank you all for your ongoing support of me and what I'm doing. I'm grateful to have all of you on my team. I could't do this without you. 

All the best,

Jared 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update No. 1 - Five months in and still alive!

When I originally agreed to sign on as an apprentice at The Table, I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. I was originally supposed to take the pre-existing small scale food co-op that existed internally at The Table, and extend it into out as its own separate entity. Well, in a sense that's been turned on its head. Not completely, but the focus of the Common Cupboard has shifted dramatically. All in all I'm pleased with where it is, and where it's going. I'm in a good place now, but there have been times during the last 4 months where my head has been in my hands, with tears in my eyes, wondering, "why am I here, and what have I done?" Let's get into it... 

Late april 2015

Immediately after school ended I began my apprenticeship at The Table. Most Table apprenticeships start in September, and the participants are protected from jumping too far ahead by having to wait until 80% of their funds are raised. This was not the case for me for a couple of reasons: 1) The apprentice who started The Common Cupboard (Stephanie Joy) was 8 months pregnant, and was leaving to join her husband who had his medical residency in a different part of the province. 2) The operations of The Common Cupboard couldn't just stop. It was built into the community too much, so it needed someone at the helm asap.

Like I said, I was fairly certain of what my role was going to be. That role, was solidified after various meetings with Josh (lead Church planter @ The Table) and another Mentor. We met on various occasions to strategize about how to make The Common Cupboard a separate, public, social enterprise. The goal was to use food as a way to draw people into community and christ. Simply put, I was to be the General Manager of a business. In addition to my time with my mentors, I was learning the ropes from Stephanie on how to run the current operations of The Common Cupboard. Anyways, these were the early days of my apprenticeship. I was nervous but felt good about the direction in which we were headed. 

May 2015

Taken at our last christmas together.

Taken at our last christmas together.

In the early morning hours of May 5th, My brother Jordan died at Victoria Hospice of an extremely rare form of liver cancer. I immediately took a week off work. It may of been more, but it's hard to tell because that part of the year is so blurry now. Looking back I was in the denial stage of grief. Not that I hadn't been able to accept that he was dying and did die, but it was more like being mystified. I kept thinking "did everything that I had to encounter over the last 7 months even happen?" It was totally surreal. Like a movie or something. So the first half of the week was tough, but I was able to whip myself back into shape because of the denial. Mid May involved more learning from Stephanie and strategizing.

UTAH

Even though the week off was helpful in some ways, It wasn't necessarily restful. I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but I was exhausted from all the attention surrounding my brothers death. I'm the type of person who recharges in isolation, and I was in serious need of a getaway. I saw a window of opportunity at the end of May because it was Stephanie's last week, so I knew she could hold down the fort on her own. Where was my destination? Utah. How much time did I have? 5 days? Did I have a car? No.....but fortunately some friends at The Table were generous enough to lend me their car a few days before I left. So, I was off! I made it to my destination in 2 days. Zion National Park. My longest day driving was 18 hours. Little tip, don't do that alone....The trip met me well. Although not in the way that I intended it to. Originally I wanted the trip to be a time of intense processing. I wanted to put grief in a chokehold, but as I learned over the trip that's not the way it works. Grief is a journey, and it bares its ugly teeth whenever it feels like it. You just have to be ready to accept it, and embrace it whenever it shows up. I think more than anything I just needed some quiet. I needed mental and emotional rest. It was great to think about nothing other that the scenery around me, and the same 6 CD's on repeat. (this was not by choice.) The trip was healing in an unexpected way. I'm thankful for that. 

 

JUNE 2015 - Shift In Vision.

I don't know if it was the trip alone, my brothers death, or divine inspiration, but I began to feel grossly uncomfortable with where the Common Cupboard was headed. It just wasn't sitting right with me anymore. The more research I did about pre-existing food co-ops in the city of Victoria the more apparent the redundancy of creating another one became. I don't just mean in terms of operations. The values of every food co-op I researched mirrored what we value at The Common Cupboard, but with one exception...Christ. And I really had no interest in trying to reinvent the wheel. On top of that I felt that having the common cupboard primarily function as commerce based project wasn't the right direction for it theologically and practically. 

Another major issue was that I kept feeling frustrated with trying to explain to people why buying good food matters. Then one day in my frustration I had the thought, "With the way that Josh and Steve and I had been planning the common cupboard, we were trying to use it as a nexus to bring people IN to community, but It makes much more sense for CC to be used to go GO OUT into the community." The Table is a Missionary based church, Josh and Andy are always talking about mission, and building on missionaries for our actual physical neighbours. Luckily for the Common Cupboard, good food is already a value of the people of Victoria. It's a point of connection that can be used for relationship. There's already an established food culture in Victoria, why not primarily use Common Cupboard as a way to educate people about good food and what's going on around us. I felt strongly that I needed to get people to care about good food, so that they have an opportunity participate in their greater community. I believe Christ calls us to be out in this world, on the fringes with people who need Jesus. I'm not talking about just the poor, I'm talking about the average citizen of Victoria. So I saw that the main objective ahead of me was education. Education for the average comfortable christian. I felt my new calling was to challenge and minister to christians with education on how we can think differently about food so we can participate in the community around us. Immediately I felt at peace about it. I knew it was the right direction, and it still fit the original vision of "making good food more common". Now to start from scratch...

July 2015

The first two weeks of July I was away in Alberta playing worship music with my friend Fraser Campbell at various churches and a Baptist youth retreat. When I got back on from that trip, Grief finally caught up with me. I was already feeling overwhelmed by the pressure of running The Common Cupboard, which included: fixing some financial issues, Figuring out how to disperse our meat inventory, initiate and manage orders, and figuring out its direction. All this was causing me great stress, and the grief just amplified things. On top of that I was trying to fundraise. So...I had a breakdown. I don't mean just a good cry. It was intense. So Josh decided it would be best to put a limit to my work during the week in order to heal. I check in with him every Monday and I am accountable to him with how much work I do during the week. Sometimes you need safeguarding. 

After this point things started to improve. The breakdowns taught me that I couldn't do all of this alone. I needed people to share the load or Common Cupboard. I think the biggest contributing stress was the feeling of isolation and loneliness; thankfully, God heard me, and amazing people stepped up to help me. This caused the inception of Common Cupboard's committee, which includes fellow members of The Table: Mike, Sarah, and Zach. They've been a monumental help to me, and I completely trust them. The committee has been really great for the direction of The Common Cupboard. They have helped me to know what is an immediate need and what isn't, and have been a great sounding board for ideas, which has helped immensely. In addition to the committee, a couple people volunteered to be Common Cupboard representatives at Table South. With the split of north/south I couldn't be at two places at once, and since I'm up north that was a hole that needed filling. I know the sounds of a church splitting sounds bad, but in our case it's a good thing. If you need more information about this, feel free to email me.

Another major offshoot of The Common Cupboard that happened in July was the introduction of Common Cookeries. With CC going the direction of education, I felt that classes were a necessary ingredient of the new vision.  The cookeries are a way to make things that seem inaccessible more accessible and affordable. They're also designed to give you new skills and raise your comfort level with food preparation so you can teach others in the future. They also serve as great way to invite you're friends or neighbours to experience a community of christians and teach them how christians can think about food. To give you a better picture, the last Cookery we did was focused on how to make the perfect cup of coffee at home. The class was broken into 2 sections: The first section of the class was all about knowledge and theory. Kyle (Coffee Instructor) Used beans from a local roaster and brewed the same coffee bean 4 different ways in order to show the spectrum of flavours you can pull out of the bean depending on how it's prepared. The second section was all about practice. Kyle educated the "students" on the holy trinity of coffee brewing: freshness, cleanliness, and consistency. 
We also talked a great deal on buying practices for the average consumer. For example, we talked about the difference between fair trade and direct trade and what impacts they had on producers, pickers and quality. It's important to me to always try to tie these classes into how we can reconcile our broken relationship with food. I try to show people that what you buy, can have an impact on the world in a very real and positive way.

August 2015

After July It became apparent to me that I needed to take better care of myself, I just didn't know how yet. I think about my job all the time and since it's not exactly 9-5, I feel like I'm working more than ever. Fortunately, God had a solution for me. Just a few days after my brother died I was at friend's wine release party. Before I left I ran into a guy named Mike who used to attend The Table, but left with his wife to buy a vineyard in North Cowichan. We never got the chance to get to know each other well back in the day, but we remembered each other enough to entertain a conversation. We got to talking, and he mentioned that people often come up to work on the vineyard to escape work and stress. It serves as a place of rest/recovery for people. Over the next couple of months his vineyard was in the back of my mind, but things didn't get bad enough until July for me to consider asking. 

Flash forward to late July - I was a wreck, so i called him. He welcomed me up to the vineyard and we spent the day potting Sauvignon Blanc trimmings. It was tiring, but it was spiritually and mentally restful. I loved every minute of it. I had such a good time that after a few weeks I asked if I could come up again. Mike said of course, and few days later I showed up to help clip nets together over the vines to protect from birds. It was during that evening that Mike was talking about how tired he was and how nice it would be to have someone help out in the cellar. I asked how much time would be required of that potential person, and he said it would probably only be one day a week. My mind got to thinking, this would be a great way to practice what I've been preaching through The Common cupboard. Especially because Mike and Robin's growing practices are great. The situation was a mutual benefit because I could help Mike and Robin out for free, and hopefully help lower some stress, while I get to be a sponge and learn a ton of amazing knowledge first hand to pass on to my church community. I offered my services, and after thinking about it for a week or so, Mike accepted. Nowadays I'm usually up at the vineyard on Thursdays slowly becoming a wine nerd. It's been amazing, and I really believe God was the one who made this happen. 

September 2015

Back in August, my pastor Josh and I were out for a casual lunch and we got to talking about future of The Table's midweek home-groups. I expressed  boredom with the monotonous routine of most home-groups that I've been apart of in the past, and shared a vision I had for a potential home group. I really wanted to focus on food and how it relates to God. Originally I just wanted a group that would focus on cooking meals together, and amidst the activity of cooking, seek to to have Christ revealed. One thing led to another with Josh and I's time together, and as we kept sharing ideas, the focus of the group shifted. By the end of our meeting we had a vision for the group that we thought was pretty exciting. We called it Food and Theology, and it's about letting the story of the bible be revealed through Food imagery as shown in various points of the biblical narrative. For example, the first class theme was Temptation/Fall. We looked at Genesis 2/3 and ate fruit with chocolate fondue as we discussed the theme. The fruit was symbolic of the given food in Genesis 2 and the Chocolate fondue of the prohibited tree/temptation in Genesis 3. The Course is 7 weeks long, and currently we're in week 3. It's been a significant challenge for me. I've never led a course before, let alone had to design a curriculum for one at the same time. Even though I've been stressed and tired trying to meet deadlines each week and make the content engaging, I've been totally blessed by God in the middle of it. From spending all this time in studying the narrative of the bible, I've already gained a more robust understanding of The God I love, and who loves me. (and I'm only a 1/4 of the way through the OT!) From what I've heard so far from the group, God is being revealed to many of them in a new way. I couldn't be more excited to be facilitating the love, hope and peace of his story.

 

And that takes us to right now. It's a really interesting experience to reflect and write down my past experiences. Honestly, I mostly just feel thankful. It's funny, when I was in the thick of most of these situations I felt scared, stressed and anxious. Constantly doing new things outside my comfort zone. Constantly being stretched and formed into a new person and being forced to adjust to the unfamiliar. There were many times when I felt like what I was doing was useless, directionless, and hopeless. But every time, God delivered. I think that's the beauty of reflection. It reminds me of the the part of the OT when the Israelites are wondering and keep grumbling about the unknown and what they don't have. God keeps reminding them to remember what He's done and trust what He's promised. In that story rest and pleasure come out of trust. I believe it's the same in our life. I want to encourage you now to take a moment to in your own way reflect on what God has done in your own life. I bet it's pretty incredible. So thank Him. Thanksgiving is the antidote to anxiety.

Speaking of thanksgiving, I want to extend giant thank you to all of you. You are a part of this story. It's been a team effort. I'm grateful not just for your financial support but also you're prayers, encouragement, emotional support and friendship. I'm blessed to have you on my team and in my life, so once again....THANK YOU

With love and hope in Christ,

Jared Czop.

 

Things you can pray for,

  • Fundraising. I'm currently between 80-85% of my goal, so please pray for God to bring more people to help in this way.  If you'd like to help me top up to 100% click >> HERE <<
  • Stress/anxiety. This year has been a lot. I'm trying my best to take care of myself, but it's often not easy. please pray for peace and an overwhelming sense of thanksgiving in my life. I often forget to be in the moment and just think about things I can't control or all the should's. I should be doing this, I should be doing that. etc...
  • Confidence. I'm constantly doing brand new things. So my confidence in myself is quite often low. 
  • Direction/Clarity. Specifically with the co-op part of The Common Cupboard. I'm trying my best to steer CC into a new place that makes sense for my community, but it seems constantly foggy.
  • Grief. Please pray that God would have mercy and would grant me good perspective with my brothers death. Pray that God would continue to give me hope out of this situation, and that he would be present in my suffering and my families suffering. Also, please pray that my experience with Jordan's death can be used to draw people into God's kingdom now, and later on in life.