Posts by Linc Ashby

My Favorite Place to be on a Friday Afternoon

The WorkFaith Connection is a ministry partner of ours at City Church. They exist to encourage disadvantaged job seekers in their hope for a better future and to equip them with the skills and beliefs to gain employment and lead healthy, productive and spiritually rich lives. Nowhere is their vision more powerfully experienced than during their graduation ceremonies on Friday afternoons, the culmination of their 8-Day Job Search Program, which runs continuously throughout the year. Occasionally, I have the opportunity to speak at these graduations - it’s always an honor and joy - but anyone can come and I encourage you to go! You can find the schedule at The WorkFaith Connection.

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Our Oldest Youngest Member

Eleanor Stampfli is 96 years old. She joined City Church during our first year. Soon after that she had to move to an assisted living facility in League City to be closer to her daughter. She visits City Church whenever she’s able, which is not very often, so recently I visited her. I have since made a vow to visit her more often.

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City Groups Reboot

City Groups are small to medium sized groups of City Church friends and Houston friends which gather regularly to share the gospel with each other, pray and care for each other and serve the city together. Put more simply, City Groups are a place to explore faith and connect with each other.

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Happy Birthday!

This Sunday we will celebrate Pentecost, a Christian holiday that’s not nearly as popular as Christmas or Easter, but it should be! Here are a few helpful ways to prepare for and celebrate Pentecost.

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Fifth Sunday in Lent | Anti-Sacrament?

All four Gospels record that Jesus was offered a drink of wine vinegar while he was on the cross (see Matthew 27:48-49, Mark 15:36 and Luke 23:36-37), but only John records that prior to this drink being offered to him, Jesus actually said, “I am thirsty.” And keep in mind that John was an eye witness to Jesus’ crucifixion. He was literally at the foot of cross, the only male disciple who did not run away, flanked by at least four women, three of whom, oddly enough were named Mary (see John 19:25 - “his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene”). 

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Fourth Sunday in Lent | Silence in Heaven

No human being, no matter how relationally wired or connected, has ever experienced the kind of intimacy that Jesus shared with his Father, which is why no human being, no matter how relationally challenged or neglected, has ever experienced the kind of rejection that Jesus felt from his Father on the cross.

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Third Sunday in Lent | The Prayer of Us All

Have you ever felt forgotten, invisible? Have you ever screamed from the depths of your soul: does anyone see me? 

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Second Sunday in Lent | Who Prays Like This?

I am aware of two stories in the Gospels where Jesus gets angry - one is in the temple, the other is in a synagogue. Back to both in a moment. 

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First Sunday in Lent | A Heart Full of Others

Whenever I am hurting I do not think about the needs of other people. I just don’t, but Jesus does. His heart was full of others to the very end - “‘woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘here is your mother.’” This disciple, whom Jesus loved, who is standing nearby, is also the author of this story. John had been Jesus’ closest companion in life, an ear and eye witness to Jesus’ command to him to take care of his mother, Mary. 

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Ash Wednesday | True Power

Maya Angelou encourages us with this: “you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.” Jesus does the strangest thing with all the power the Father had given him. He takes off his outer clothing, wraps a towel around his waist and symbolically models for his disciples what the apostle Paul will later say about him in Philippians 2:6-11.

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Loving Houston to Life…for the Long Haul

The thought that continues to reverberate within my soul is… if you have to go through a disaster there’s no better place I’d rather be than the city of Houston, Texas.

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Serving Houston: Volunteer opportunities
As we enter the rebuilding phase following hurricane Harvey we are so grateful that churches and organizations all over Houston are partnering together in a beautiful display of solidarity and service to our city. Here are a few opportunities that we recommend for your consideration:
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Tough Sayings of Jesus

A four week study on the tough sayings of Jesus is quite simply, not nearly long enough. Proverbs 27:6 says, “wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” Jesus is a true friend. He wounds us to heal us.

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Race and Grace: Real Conversations That Heal

I am quickly and completely overwhelmed by problems I cannot solve. This is why I majored in math and chemical engineering in college; lots of problems to solve, and most of the time I was quite successful at solving them. Strangely, I’ve also come to see that this is likely one of the reasons God called me into ministry. As we like to say at City Church, the kingdom of God is upside down.

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The Beauty of The Landing
At City Church we are renewing Houston by bringing the beauty of Christ to broken places. A deep pocket of brokenness in our city, whether or not the Super Bowl is hosted in Houston, is human trafficking. And truth be told, even when we aren’t hosting the Super Bowl, our city is a gateway for human trafficking.  
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Pockets of Brokenness and Pictures of Beauty

Months ago I attended a meeting hosted by the Freedom Church Alliance.  Their mission is to fight human trafficking through Jesus Christ by uniting and mobilizing churches to work alongside trusted anti-trafficking organizations.  The modern day slavery of human trafficking has many faces, and sadly, Houston is a gateway city for this horrific injustice.  It is a deep pocket of brokenness in our city, which is precisely why we believe Jesus is calling us to display a picture of his beauty. 

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My Friend, Marie

My friend, Marie, called me on my birthday this week. I haven’t seen her since I visited her in the hospital a while back. A couple of her grandchildren were in my youth group years ago and I officiated the marriage of another. She worked part-time at the church where I served in my first pastoral role. Most Sunday mornings, provided I arrived early, we would pray together before the service.

 

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Missions at City Church

Thank you to all who served alongside Generation One in the Third Ward last weekend. It was hot, but we had a great turnout! I am grateful for City Church's willingness and drive to serve the city of Houston in any situation.

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City Groups

In a recent sermon I shared compelling evidence from a Washington Post article, curiously titled More and More Research Shows Friends Are Good for Your Health. A team of psychologists compiled data on more than three million people and discovered something quite incredible - “the absence of social connections carry the same health risk as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day. Loneliness leads to worse outcomes than obesity.” One psychologist interviewed in the article said, “a good friend is a wonderful anti-depressant.”

 

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AND IT WAS BEAUTIFUL

This week I experienced something tremendous, as did many of you who came out for Family Nights. The church I currently I serve, City Church, locked arms with the church I used to serve, Oaklawn. Together we joined another fabulous group of people from Cornerstone Ministries to help love the city to life in the 2nd Ward. 

 

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Job: Be Careful What You Ask For

At the bottom of a pit of suffering, the likes of which none of us will ever experience, Job longs for nothing more than to face God.

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Just Show Up

Woody Allen is credited with saying, “showing up is 80 percent of life.” I’ve heard (and used) similar logic countless times in relation to ministry. Personal presence is rather elastic… and compelling. “I’m here for you” means the world to us, both on the giving and receiving end. 

 

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All We Have Is Ours to Share

All the believers were together and had everything in common... Acts 2:44. To what extent should this be true in the church today? In Romans 12, Paul says, “in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” When you belong to Jesus you belong to everyone else who belongs to Jesus. Nothing is yours to keep. All you have is yours to share.

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City Church Communities: Take Off

Moses had to do it (Exodus 18:13-27), the apostles had to do it (Acts 6:1-7), and we already need to do it. Throughout history when the Lord adds to the number of his people, leaders of God’s people are called “to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Ephesians 4:12). This looks a little different depending on the context of the church and the cultural moment in which the church is established.

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“Could you open the door for me?”

One evening last spring, in between dropping my youngest daughter off at softball practice, and returning to pick her up, I had enough time to workout. I brought my middle daughter with me. She’s a dancer and a gymnast. She’s the kind of workout partner that’ll humble a man.

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Friendship

When I was in high school I would swing by McDonalds for breakfast almost every morning. I usually bypassed the drive through because my grandfather was always inside. Always.

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It Goes in That Direction...

I rarely listen to an entire story on NPR, just bits and pieces while navigating Houston traffic. I heard an interview recently that peeked my interest so much I had to listen to the whole thing. Seymour Bernstein tells this story from when he was a little boy.

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Welcome!

One of our favorite phrases at City Church is “come and see”. One of Jesus’ first followers said this to a skeptical friend on their way to meet him. On Thursday, June 18, we will tweak this a bit to “taste and see.” I love craft beer so I am excited to personally invite you to our first “taste and see” event at Saint Arnold Brewery—June 18 at 7:00pm. Live music, free beer, good food and I promise, NO BAIT AND SWITCH!   

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