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The latest blog posts from Forge Sacramento

Exciting Things in Store for 2017!

2017 is bringing much to be excited about for Forge. Over the past six months, I have been praying, talking with our leaders, and meeting with our Advisory Board about how to best serve this region. God is orchestrating something pretty amazing that I’d like to share with you.

Have you ever been at a place in your life where you are unsure what the next 30 days will bring? Ever felt like you are trying all you can to hear God and things still don't *seem* to work out? We’ve been there more than once over the past couple of years.

One afternoon, through a memorable conversation with a longtime friend, something began to take shape. Something clicked. Clarity for the future seemed to tiptoe into the picture.

In March of 2016, I enrolled at Brandman University and began classes full time here in the Sacramento area, a M.A. in Psychology, pursuing licensure to become a therapist. The 66 unit Master's program moves swiftly as I will be done with classes this August (2017).

As part of the required 3,000 clinical hours of therapy, I have recently begun working with an amazing nonprofit counseling agency in the area called Wellness Together. Their mission is to provide access to quality mental health services to every student in California, and beyond. Through partnerships with school districts, licensed therapists and therapist interns are on school campuses (K-12) helping meet the needs of students.

Recently, I was on the phone with one of our Forge financial partners sharing this story. At one point he said, “When you decided to head down this path, did you feel like something ‘clicked’ in your spirit?”

That’s exactly what it felt like.
However…

My question over the last few months has been, “God, how do you want Forge to make an impact in this area?” And the answer has been around me for almost 3 years.

(Now is the part of the story where slow motion montage music begins to play.)

The way forward has come in the form of a couple who started with the Forge Sacramento missionary training residency in 2014- Joe and Sarah Caples. Joe, for over ten years now, is a Sacramento cop. Sarah is a gifted event planner. By day, Joe and Sarah are raising 3 joyful and rambunctious boys in downtown Sacramento. By night, they are extravagantly loving their neighbors. After their time in the training residency, the next year Joe and Sarah served as resident coaches. And this past year, they were on the Forge leadership team helping with events, curriculum, and overall strategy. Oh, and by the way, they also found time to publish a book together that I HIGHLY recommend you check out- “Bless Like Jesus: Stop Trying to Convert and Simply Show People They Matter”.

Bottom line, Joe and Sarah are the real deal. And by real deal, I mean that they live out the 4 1/2 words that guide us- “You’ve already been sent.”

And as of this month, I am excited to share that Joe and Sarah Caples are the new Forge Sacramento directors. Through much prayer and many long walks over the past 3 months, Lindsay and I have gone through the process with the board to hand over the keys to the Caples to lead Forge in the years ahead. And we couldn’t be happier with what God has done!

Forge’s mission and vision are unchanged- Training men and women to live as missionaries in their neighborhoods. Only the people in the front waving this banner have changed. Much of our leadership team and board is also unchanged. Joe and Sarah are effective leaders, quality communicators, and they have some exciting things in store for 2017. You would be wise to stay tuned to see what they have in store for Forge.

Am I a bit sad? Yes.
Am I really excited for what lies ahead? HECK YES.

But most of all, I am grateful. Grateful for your support over the years, both financially and in prayer. I’m grateful that you believe in the work that God is doing through Forge. I’m grateful to have begun something 4 years ago that will now be in highly gifted and skilled hands. I’m grateful for your time in reading this long blog post. I’m grateful for the God that is already at work before we arrive.

So, dear brother or sister, my charge for you is to continue to join with God in repairing the world through the life that Jesus offers all of us. Join with the God that is never absent and always pursuing us. Join with him and pray for the shalom of the city to which you have already been sent.

Many thanks from the Aja’s and much love from Forge Sacramento,

Jeremiah Aja
Founder, Forge Sacramento

Changing the Evangelism Paradigm

If mission is at the heart of our God, then discipleship is the blood that pumps through it. As Hirsch writes in Disciplism, "Disciple-making lies at the very core of the church’s ‘sentness’ and mission." Making disciples was a mandate from our Risen Lord, not an a la carte when following Him. For many years, is it possible that we have saved others from something without saving them for something? 

In this eBook, Disciplism, meant not only for pastors but for anyone following Jesus, Alan points us to discipleship as a priority of God's mission and helps us re-organize our practice of evangelism in the context of making disciples. 

Engaging and challenging, Hirsch's FREE eBook is a reimagination of the widespread understanding of evangelism, pointing us to the need for a re-examination of it in today's local church. Have our evangelistic efforts, fueled by the best of intentions, stopped short of what Jesus told us to do in His last words before the Ascension? So often discipleship can take a backseat to evangelism. In Hirsch's latest, he paints them as locking arms, relying on each other to propel God's mission forward in the world.

Imagine this, as Hirsch asks us to do in Disciplism- What if every Jesus-following man or woman in our cities made it a priority to intentionally make space for sustainable and loving relationships with just two or three others, and asked them to do the same? Within 50 years, what kind of impact could we make?  Our hope is that the Rule and Reign of God would be proclaimed and demonstrated in every life around us.

You can get the Disciplism eBook here!

How to Be the Neighbor Everyone Always Wanted- Practice #2

Last Spring my daughter and I were out at the park down the street from our house flying a kite. As the wind exhausted herself, we also took a rest on the grass. To pass the time, I told her about the game about where you look up into the sky and see what kinds of shapes you can make out of the clouds. Genius parenting move in order to keep a four year-old preoccupied right? Only thing about it was, it was the exact wrong day to play this game as the clouds were almost non-existent!

I'm sure the meteorologists among us can get more precise here but, the clouds were those ones that we see so often around Sacramento- it looks like God has spread icing across the sky, with divine moderation of course. After my daughter said, "Daddy, it looks like there's blankets in the sky," I realized something lying there, our heads touching each other on the grass. Allow me to explain...

My family and I had the privilege of living in the beautiful state of Kentucky for four years. There was this amazing and foreign feature about the state- they had weather patterns. At least 2-3 times a week it would rain, heavily. I think the southerners call that "thunderstorms". In any event, I fell in love with those (another meteorological term coming up here) cotton candy pillow looking clouds. And often, I would see them racing across the sky, off to find another neighborhood to dump water. Those clouds could really move! And until that day on my back last Spring, I never knew that those icing clouds moved, though not as quickly, just like the billowy cotton balls native to the Bluegrass. I've looked at clouds so many times before, how did I not ever notice? What was the difference between then and looking that Spring day?

My intentions.

I learned this, and this will be the foundation for Practice #2 of How to Be the Neighbor Everyone Always Wanted- The difference between looking and noticing is our intentions. The key dynamic at play is our posture when we come to the table. (Symbolic posture, not literal. Please don't start lying down all the time now.)

How many times have we seen something over and over, yet never noticed?

In Mark 10, Jesus has an encounter with a very wealthy man seeking eternal life. Pretty big quest, right? When it becomes clear that the man is really looking for loopholes and shortcuts, Mark tells us, "Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him..." KJV

The first thing Jesus does, His posture towards the rich young man, His intentions standing face to face with someone looking to game the system is to "Behold him."

Behold- to look at in order to learn something, as an astronomer looks at the stars

The way that Jesus was looking at the man that day is the way I was looking at those oh-slow-moving clouds. I wanted to notice them, learn more about them, look into them, rather than look past them. Notice how before Jesus asks the man to give away all his valuables, He sees the man's value. Before a high bar of discipleship is presented by Jesus, a high level of love is dispensed.

Who are the people in your day to day life that you look right past, right through, and see them just as an "extra" in the scenery of your life? Baristas, cashiers, janitors, postal service workers, the lady in the cubicle next to us who still wears Elizabeth Taylor's "Passion" perfume, etc. These are the people that don't have center stage and starring roles to us. They don't have "speaking parts" in our movie, they are just "the extras". But the thing is, every single one of "those extras" have something that we have- a name. Our name is the most comforting thing to hear in our spoken language. Wrapped up in a name is a person's story, hopes, dreams, fears, aspirations, worries, doubts, questions, gifts, a desire to be known by others, and so much more.

So the call for Practice #2 of How to Be the Neighbor Everyone Always Wanted is: Notice the Extras.

Behold others before passing right by them, onto your next task. Pray and ask God to see them as Jesus does- as someone created in the Imago Dei. So here goes, your experiments for this practice of noticing and beholding "the extras" in your life:

1) Ask the restaurant server their name and use it
     They are more than just vehicles that keep your coffee topped off!
2) Become the waver in your neighborhood
     Wave at people that walk and drive by your home. Bring some of the South into your community!
3) No more ATMs!
     There are actual people inside those buildings! Get to know them. Trust me, it will prove beneficial if you have an "overdraft error"...or so I've heard.
4) No more self-checkout stands at the grocery store!
     Behold that real live person across the conveyer belt today and let them know you're thankful for them being at work so you can get food to your home.
5) Learn your postal worker's name
     Our's is Anthony and he's great. A bit shy, but that may be due to us being a tad bit overbearing.

Therefore, as you are going through the everyday rhytmhs of life, Notice the Extras. Behold them as the beloved creation of God, the Imago Dei. And the One that Beholds us all will be with you, even to the very end of the age.

Notes: For a FANTASTIC resource on this, and the inspiration for this practice, you MUST check out Lance Ford and Alan Hirsch's fine book- Right Here, RIght Now: Everyday Mission for Everyday PeopleAlso, if you have a story to share about how the experiments went for you, we'd love for you to share with us in the comments!

How to Be the Neighbor Everyone Always Wanted- Practice #1

Please take your seats, buckle up, and make sure your tray tables are stowed properly. We're about to embark on a journey. Our shared destination- "Being the Neighbor Everyone Always Wanted".

So what's step number one in this tangled, wildly complex, yet frustratingly simple way to live? What is the very first practice to live out such a big concept? Are you ready for this? Here goes...

Pay Attention. (No, that's not another preface statement...that's what the first practice is.)

*And then the air evacuated the room*

Seems a bit underwhelming, right? Not exactly the impressive and power-packed words you were expecting, yeah? I mean, if this were some kind of Season Premier for an intriguing new Netflix Production, you'd be closing out the browser window and going to bed, right? Don't worry, you're in good company- we'd do the same thing too. But lean in, look deeper at this vitally important practice of the Sent People of God. 

Image cred: Sarah "The Sensational" Dolislager

Image cred: Sarah "The Sensational" Dolislager

Long ago, there was a sort of fugitive-wanderer named Jacob. One fateful night, he has a dream, we're talking about one of those "What the heck was that?" kind of dreams. As he lifts his head off the stone pillow, the sun beginning to peek through the early morning sky, Jacob remarks, "Surely the Lord was in this place, and I was not aware of it."*

 

It wasn't that God finally found Jacob when he woke up-- it was that Jacob finally realized that God was there all along.

 

God wasn't hiding until this memorable night. Jacob's eyes finally opened to see that God was there, before he ever arrived.

Or even take for example, Charlton Heston...stay with me here. Charlton, I mean, Moses, when he encounters God in the burning bush deep in the wilderness--did you ever think about how many times Moses may have passed that bush without noticing it? How long had God been trying to get his attention? And when God tells Moses ""Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground..."-notice that the ground is already holy. Moses taking off his "unholy" sandals is not what causes the ground to become holy- it already was, way before Moses and his sandals ever emerges onto the scene.

So now, to point the camera at us, where is God already present and working around us and we've just been missing it? Where are those moments with our neighbors that we miss while we earnestly pursue God, perhaps not realizing He's already right there with us? Could it be that we're missing the holy ground and holy moments happening all around us, every day?

One way that our tribe has adopted this practice of "Paying Attention" is a simple three line prayer before bed. It's two questions and one request for God before we slumber. Join us in participating in Practice #1 of Being the Neighbor Everyone's Always Wanted: Pay Attention-

 

God, 
Where did I join with you today?
Where did I miss you today?
Prepare my eyes, ears, and heart to join with you tomorrow.

 

*Genesis 28 :)

From KY to CA

Our friends Geoff and Sherry will be here soon and we hope you'll join us too!

Watching this short video will give you a glimpse into the earnestness of their hearts, the passion they have for their neighborhood, and a rare authenticity that's missing in so many of the "missional" conversations.

Geoff and Sherry will be joining us shortly to lead us in our conference on March 28/29- "Staying is the New Going." We will be exploring the value of putting down roots into the soil of where God has already planted you and the practical ways to join Him in the work there.

We hope you'll join us. Group and student rates available!
Head here to register!

"Raise the Banner" has finally launched!

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The day has finally come- February 25th, 2014! Today is launch day for Raise the Banner, and we are thrilled! God has given all of us a grand invitation to mend the world back together again.

Will you join Him? Will you join us in doing this? 

Our mission at Forge is to train men and women to live as missionaries in their neighborhoods, workplaces, gym, parks, campuses- where they are already doing life. We believe wholeheartedly that God has already sent all of us, and invited us all to join him in repairing the world. We are so excited to launch our newest campaign today- Raise the Banner.

Visit our page to find out how to get involved!

Thanks so much for checking it out- we've put a lot of work into it, we're very proud of what we finally get to show you.

Enjoy!

ReThinking Sent

 

Forge Sacramento presents a 2 day experience to encourage and equip you as a missionary in the places where you already live your life - "ReThinking SENT"

Join us on November 15th and 16th as we are led by Ryan & Laura Hairston, Co-Founders of Forge Dallas and Executive Team Members of Forge America, to unwrap what it means to live as a missionary right where you are. Come one and all, no matter your setting or vocation, to find out how to live a life SENT on God's mission in your world.

$50 registration includes: (Group rate and student rate available)

-Delicious catered meals by Sean Gafner, Executive Chef from View 202 - dinner on Friday night, breakfast and lunch on Saturday

-Solid training from practitioners in mission, not just theorists

-A great time of worship led by Matt Lewis, Worship Pastor at Faith Legacy Church

-And a few surprises along the way! 

Address:

Spring Valley Church

2640 Sunset Blvd 

Rocklin, CA 95677

Date:

Friday, November 15, 2013 at 5:00 PM - Saturday, November 16, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Event Schedule: 

Friday, November 15th

5pm- Registration Begins

6pm- Dinner is served

7pm- Session #1 "Why are we rethinking SENT?"

9pm- Forge Sacramento Afterparty

Saturday, November 16th

9am- Doors open, breakfast is served

9:30- Session #2 "The SENT and SENDING God"

10:30- Morning break

10:45- Session #3 "The SENT Church"

12pm- Lunch is served

1pm- Session #4 "Christology: Our Example of SENTness, part 1"

2pm- Session #5 "Christology: Our Example of SENTness, part 2"

3pm- The SENDING out

 

To sign up visit our page on Eventbrite!

 

#rethinkingSENT

@forgesacramento

forgesacramento.com

Now Accepting Applications

The 2013-2014 residency application is now available on our website on the APPLY page. check it out and spread the word to all those who may be interested in joining us this September. Deadline to apply is August 31! 

It's Almost Here!

Our coaches are in training and the first residency is set to begin in September! If you would like to be in our first residency (major street cred) or would like more information head over to our Apply page. Send the form and let's talk. 

We look forward to hearing from you! 

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