HOPE HOME VISION LETTER

Dear Friends,

I am excited to share with you the faith adventure I am on. My journey started seventeen years ago when the Lord set me free from an intravenous heroin and rock cocaine addiction and called me into ministry. In 2011 I moved to Springfield, MO to attend Central Bible College. I graduated from CBC and now have only twelve credits left to complete the MA in Intercultural Ministries at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. At CBC I met and married the love of my life, Hannah-Rose. Several years ago we began to feel a burden for the north side of Springfield, Missouri where we now live. God has opened the door for us to plant a new church here.

I am partnering with CityReach Network (CRN) and the local Assemblies of God district to plant a church in north Springfield, MO in March 2016. On Easter Sunday this year, CRN churches reached over 12,000 people with the Gospel and saw 125 people commit their lives to Christ. We will also reach the one who is far from God through Christ-centered recovery “Hope Homes” intended to impact people whose lives are torn apart by addiction, homelessness, and depression. My wife and I are fruit of Christ-centered recovery homes. In 1999 I graduated from a Victory Outreach men’s home in Phoenix, Arizona. My wife is a graduate of the Long Island Teen Challenge. We know from personal experience that the Hope Home can transform broken lives.

Springfield has held the infamous title of “Meth Capital” of the nation for many years. Violence and property crimes are on the rise which coincides with the increase of drugs on the city streets—more drugs always mean more crime. Childhood hunger is higher in Springfield than any other city in Missouri. More than half the students in the Springfield public schools receive free or reduced lunch. According to Byron Klaus, president of the AGTS, “The unholy trinity of meth, poverty, and domestic violence is in intense form in north Springfield.”

But we can make a difference. Here’s how:

  1. Start weekly prayer meeting to interced on behalf of Springfield (January 2015).
  2. Plant a church in north Springfield that will reach the one who is far from God (March 2016).
  3. Open a Men’s Hope Home to rebuild broken lives into godly leaders (January 2016).
  4. Partner with local schools thru a mentoring program and Convoy of Hope to touch the lives of students.
  5. Impact the community through outreaches: Rock the Block, Live Dramas, Day of Hope.

Would you consider being a partner with Hannah and me? How?

  • Pray for God to prepare the way before us, touching the hearts of people we’ll reach.
  • Partner with our family and CityReach to see lives changed for eternity.

Our current need is $35, 000 to start the men’s Hope Home this summer. I have a partner who is willing to match dollar for dollar up to 15k, leaving 20K to get the Hope Home up and running for six months. After the six months the home will be self-supportive.

1 Partner                                 $10,000                       $10,000

3 Partners                               $1000                          $3,000

10 Partners                             $500                            $5000

10 Partners                             $100                            $1000

20 Partners                             $50                              $1000

44 Total Partners                                                       $20,000

 

A one-time contribution can help fuel the launch of the first Hope Home in Springfield, or you can partner with us monthly to help the ministry grow strong.

I pray for an outpouring of God’s blessing on you as we further His Kingdom. We’re better together.

John Caleb Alarid

Lead Pastor | CityReach Springfield ​

Mobile: (417) 631-9082

http://www.cityreachnetwork.org

To Give:

1) Make check payable to CityReach Network; PO Box 7001, Springfield, MO 65801-7001

Important: Memo the check “Springfield”

2) You can also give online:

https://pushpay.com/pay/cityreachspringfield

3) All Contributions are tax deductible

4) Please contact me with any questions: jalarid@cityreachnetwork.org

The Fire Within the Lighthouse

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Joy is the fire within the lighthouse that draws the floundering ships of hungry souls ashore. What I have come to notice is that joy has become increasingly rare and increasingly in want among Christians. This is a sign of the health of a church. Joy is a fruit of the spirit, and therefore it should grow naturally out of our relationship and communion with the Branch.

It seems to me as though Christians in the Western Culture specifically, are lacking in joy. This opinion of course is borne from my limited experience and perspective. But it is not uncommon for me to come across a Christian who lives a comfortable life—plenty of food in the fridge, a car, friends, a job, money to spare—and yet they can’t stop complaining. To be honest, they aren’t much of a joy to hang around with. As Christians, we ought to attract those who are lost and without the salvation of Christ. I would hope that we would not find our common ground with others through a need to vent or spew negativity… Our lives should have so much joy that those who seek satisfaction and happiness through worldly substitutes would see the fruit of our lives, and want what we have.

Here are some points that will bring to light what a huge role joy has in the gospel message.

  • Angels appear at the time of Christ’s conception and birth with the message, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10).
  • Christ began his public ministry in Galilee with a bold proclamation of the year of Jubilee, quoting, ““The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19, Isaiah 61:1,2).
  • Jesus speaks to his disciples right before his crucifixion saying, “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full” (John 15:11).

Joy is in the undercurrent of Christ’s ministry. He did not come to free us so we could continue languishing in our inability to attain holiness. He freed us so we could be free to celebrate what He has done for us! What happened to the disciples immediately after Christ ascended into Heaven? Did they go back into hiding and mourn that Christ had ascended without them, leaving them behind in an imperfect world? Did they fret about what to do next? No! The party continued on!

  •  “And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising God.” Luke 24:52-53

In my own life, joy has been a struggle to find. It is a treasure I had to find after clearing away the rubbish and lies I had accepted as truths. Lies such as, “Life doesn’t get better. It only gets worse” or “You are only a burden and problem to others.” I battled for years with depression and suicide, to the point where many thought I was without help. I wish I could say that I went to church, raised my hands and was zapped with a lightning bolt of joy. No, it didn’t happen that way for me. I did have awesome experiences in God’s presence that refreshed my spirit and gave me strength. But mostly I learned through discipline. I disciplined my mind to counter lies with truth from the Scripture. Here’s an example.

  • Lie: You are worthless. There’s no point in living.
    Truth from the Scripture: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14
  • Lie: Life will never get better.
    Truth: “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13

Like any type of training, it becomes easier with practice and effort. At first you stumble plenty… but then it begins to flow as naturally as taking a walk. I can only give God praise for how far I’ve come. I know my husband is a witness of God’s work in my life. God has used him as a vessel of healing and love that only increased this fruit of joy in my life. My days are not marked by tears, but laughter and thankfulness. God’s forgiveness, faithfulness, and love have been constant, and for that I have a reason to be joyful! I can say that joy as never been more bountiful in my life, and I hope that it will only continue to do so more and more. Life is fuller, and Christ is clearer to me, with joy.

 

 

 


(I must give credit to Richard Foster’s in his book “Celebration of Discipline”. A lot of my text was from an essay I wrote in response to his chapter “The Discipline of Celebration” and many of my Scriptural references to joy were from that chapter. It is an amazing book, full of wisdom. I highly recommend it for reading!)