Stories

Strategically set in the heart of Brookside, CityChurch is a place where people from all walks of life gather weekly to worship Jesus. We strongly believe in authentic, gospel-centered community and we love to foster and celebrate the diversity in age, gender, race, and talents that grace our doors. Here you will find stories of people who call CityChurch home; from engineers who moonlight as professional skydivers to students who feel called to sustainable farming in Asia, enjoy getting a closer look at the people who make CityChurch a great place to call home!



McMahon City Group's Story

Our Young Marrieds City Group has been meeting together for almost two years now. While we are great at having our regular "family meals" and Fight Clubs, one area we really struggled in was finding somewhere to serve together outside of church. The main obstacle was finding something that worked with everyone's schedules, as our group has grown quite a bit and we all have different things going on. That's when we heard about CarePortal. This unique tool allows groups like ours to have access to specific needs of individuals or families right in our own city, and then gives us the opportunity to meet those needs. One of the appealing aspects about it for our group was that it isn't something that involves a lot of extra time or trying to coordinate 20 people's schedules. At the same time, though, it is so much more than just "throwing money" at an organization for a good cause. We are actually able to be made aware of specific, tangible needs, learn a little bit about the circumstances surrounding those needs, and then are able to meet those needs directly rather than just sending money. The needs that show up in CarePortal can range from something as small as a bus pass to help a mother get to her necessary appointments in order to regain custody of her kids, to needs much larger and more costly. We get to choose which needs to meet based on our budget and availability. We've found that what works best for our group is for those who can or want to bring money each time we meet for our Family Meal (every other week) to contribute to our CarePortal budget. Then, our designated CarePortal "admin" in our group goes through the needs and chooses a few that might work for us. We discuss them as a group and use the money from our budget to meet the ones we choose. It's really that simple!

Examples of some needs we have met as a group include buying a vacuum for a single mom who had never owned one and was using a broom to keep her carpet clean, buying and delivering a dresser for a foster family, patching holes in the walls for a single mom, providing a blanket and stuffed animal for a foster girl recently placed in an inpatient facility, purchasing multiple buss passes, and paying for a couple necessary doctor appointments for foster kids seeking citizenship so they can be adopted. We have also even been able to meet multiple needs for one special needs foster baby, and as a result, have been able to develop a relationship with her foster mom who is working to adopt her!
 
Recently, our group hosted a garage sale to raise money to meet some even larger needs on CarePortal that we couldn't do otherwise. If we are honest with ourselves, most of us can admit that we own an excessive amount of stuff. We figured, what better way to get rid of it than to sell it for a good cause?! We all brought stuff to contribute, as well as received donated items from others. We sorted, priced, set everything up, and then sweat together in nearly 100 degree weather, but just like that we were able to raise almost $800 to meet some bigger needs in our city!
 
It is truly amazing to see God using us to help those in need that we otherwise wouldn't have known about if it weren't for CarePortal. We are excited to see how God continues to use us and also to see the impact CarePortal will continue to have on our city as a whole! For anyone who doesn't know about CarePortal or who isn't sure where to serve yet or even if they have time to serve, we highly encourage you to check out the needs on CarePortal, as it truly is an easy way to reach out and help others in need!
Posted by Kristin Rincker at Thursday, September 1, 2016 | 0 comments

"Fulfilled" by Alexandra Patton

How do you feel about miracles?

Water to wine. Raising the dead. Walking on water. Healing the sick.

When you read these stories, does your heart well up with expectation or does a seed of skepticism start to blossom inside you? Do you step confidently out of the boat or does doubt weigh heavy on you and cause your feet start to sink below the waves?

In my last post, I shared how God had placed it on my heart that there would be a woman in Honduras that I was suppose to pray for. I found this both exciting but also very scary because you see, once God speaks something over you, you can’t get it out of your head. For me, it sat in the back of my mind all week. Every woman I saw, I would wonder if it was her. Was she the one I was suppose to pray for? While I asked myself this question, I could always convince myself it wasn’t her and as the week went on, I began to convince myself that “she” wasn’t real. By the last night in Choluteca, during our collective church service, I had convince myself that everyone had back pain, we were in a small village where manual labor was the regular and women worked hard all day, ever day. I was able to pacify my heart and brain with this for about 3 mins when the Holy Spirit decided to give me some perspective.

I couldn’t allow myself to go home and not follow through on this promise from the Lord.

First off, I would always wonder “what if.” What if I sought her out and if I had found her? Second, who was I to let my fear get in the way of something God wanted to do? I’m not that important. Plain and simple, I didn’t have to leave wondering and I didn’t really have the right to withhold something the Lord wanted to do. So as the service ended, I began to walk around. It didn’t take long before I turned and saw her. It was the pastor of the church we had been working with. I wish I could explain eloquently what it was that I felt or how I knew, but I can’t. I simply turned, saw her through a window and felt Jesus say, “That’s her.” I didn’t really give myself much time to question Him and made a beeline for her office.  Luckily, or maybe divinely, she was talking with our interpreter, Eva. I excused my interruption and asked Eva if she would mind translating some questions for me. Of course she obliged because she was and is the sweetest woman on the planet (more on her in a later post). I immediately asked if Pastor Reyna had back pain. She did. At that moment, my heart exploded. This. Was. It. I went on to explain what I had felt from the Lord and opened my journal to the day He spoke and began to read as Eva translated for me. All the while, Pastor Reyna listened and smiled. She said how amazing it was that God had told me about her and explained that she had been struggling with back pain for months. She was unable to sleep through the night and had been to numerous doctors where numerous tests and studies had revealed nothing. In that moment I was able to explain that God saw her, loved her and was with her. He knew of her pain, it was not beyond His sight. It was strange though, encouraging a pastor that serves so diligently. I felt as if I was telling her things she already knew about the character of the Lord and how silly I must have sounded but I realize now, it doesn’t matter what you know. God’s goodness is so good, it deserves repeating. Our ears should never grow weary of hearing about His love.

After I encouraged her, I asked if I could pray. She rose to her a feet and said of course. As I stood beside her, the tears began to flow, both her’s and mine, and the Holy Spirit fell upon that room. I don’t know if we prayed for 5 minutes or 5 hours but by the end, we were on the floor and bawling. As we pulled ourselves back up and began to dry our eyes, she said the most beautiful words I had ever heard; her back didn’t hurt anymore. When we left two days later, she was still pain free and spreading the news.

Friends, we have a resource that we don’t take advantage far too often. When Jesus died on the cross, the veil was torn and we were allowed access into the throne room of the Lord. While this happened on a mission trip, we have to realize we don’t have to be in some hyper-spiritualized setting to encounter the Lord like this. It can happen at home in your living room, at the grocery store, in your car or at your work. We have to simply seek it out, be obedient and let the Lord work.Not only that but we have to realize that the Lord makes good of everything. LISTEN to His voice. Don’t discount it or convince yourself of anything that isn’t life-giving or furthering of the kingdom. If I hadn’t spoken with Pastor Reyna, I don’t think she would have continued to live her life in pain. I think the Lord would have healed her but I wouldn’t have seen and been reminded of just how great He is. Yes, Pastor Reyna was healed but she wasn’t the only one.  My heart was healed of doubt and uncertainty. We have to come to grips with the fact that we are never out of the line of fire when it comes to God’s aim. I could have easily just said that God used me to heal Pastor Reyna and that probably would have been acceptable to others but in all actuality, God used Pastor Reyna to heal me.In Him healing her, I was reminded of just how intricate God’s plans are and how deeply He loves. I’m in Oklahoma, Pastor Reyna is in Honduras. Thousands of miles and the Gulf of Mexico separate us yet He connected us. He knew my doubts and shattered them in her healing.  He knew her pain and healed it in a prayer. Physical and spiritual healing combined. His love is all encompassing. He seeks us, plans for us and pursues us. And for what? To love us, provide for us, heal us and do life with us.

I can’t begin to fathom what the Lord is waiting to do in your life. I pray you would seek Him, listen for Him and encounter Him like never before.



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Carolina's Story

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Lindsay's Story

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Love Tulsa Sunday - 2015

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Kim's Story

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Josh's Story

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Chelsea's Story

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Zach Boyd's Story

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Dana Robertson - #humansofcitychurch

"I've always loved art. I think I picked that up from my mom--she was a single mom of 3 girls and she did everything. She can paint, she can dance--she was a good dancer. She tried out for the Rockettes. When you talk about inspiration, I would say that any of what I've done comes from my mom. When I was in school, I wanted to be an artist, and it turned out I was not very good at art, but they had Art History classes. In Art History you learn about culture, religion, science, politics--all the different things that come into play over the centuries is tied into the artwork of that time. So for me, it was fascinating. I learned a lot, so I followed through with an Art History major. Since then, I've taught a class. Something about being in front of a classroom--telling these adults about different cultures and their artwork and how it all ties together--that was very fulfilling to me.


When I taught this class, it was a blessing. This is how I've always thought of it--even though I'm not able to do it right at this moment in time, it's such a blessing to know that there's something I would love to do. I am able to feel passionate and hopeful about this endeavor because I know it's in God's hands. It took me a while to understand that. There was a time when I thought it was now or never and it was frustrating not to follow my dream at the exact moment that I wanted to... But, truly, the stronger my faith... The more I believe that things are in God's hands, and the timing isn't up to me." -Dana Robertson

Posted by Kim Rhodes at Friday, February 27, 2015 | 0 comments

Ty Bell - #humansofcitychurch

Who has been your biggest influence?

"Could it be a two-part answer?"

Sure!

"First would be my father. He was an overall, family-oriented person. I lost him 3 years ago, and during his memorial service everybody was saying how no matter where they were, if they called him and needed help, it was like he had a built-in GPS. His work ethic influenced me, too. I'm a mechanic and one of the requirements was a CDL and my dad had one, and he helped me get mine. He lived to see me get it before he passed away.Second would be my kids. I raised 4 step-kids and I might've been hard on them but I guess by me being hard on them, they really paid attention to what I was trying to do. Watching them interact with their kids is amazing. It makes me feel as though I did something right." -Ty Bell 

Posted by Kim Rhodes at Friday, February 27, 2015 | 0 comments

Kendall Hancock - #HumansofCityChurch

What do you want to be remembered for?

"I want to be remembered for being the boldest version of Kendall. Boldness, to me, doesn't necessarily mean 'certainty'--It's more risk taking than anything. We're moving to Portland in a few months and it's really scary because I'm not going to know anybody. I think there are cycles and comfort zones people get into, and sometimes you just need to go somewhere new. That quote that says, "Do one thing everyday that scares you"--that's pretty much what Jesus tells us to do. Everywhere I go in Tulsa it seems I know at least one person. I've always been able to rely on someone. In Portland I won't know anyone except Jesse and Jesus, but it will help me rely on them, only. Making a choice to move is terrifying to my flesh, but we know that we're protected by God.

I want people to feel at ease and okay about making changes, just because they want to. If God is on your side, all the smaller details don't matter. Boldness can mean more than just 'loud' or 'big'. Wearing bright lipstick or taking a new job or moving cross country--it's all bold. It's knowing the risk and that it's one worth taking. Boldness takes courage, and courage is noteworthy." -Kendall Hancock

Posted by Cody Jensen at Tuesday, January 27, 2015 | 0 comments

Amber Day - #HumansOfCityChurch

"I guess I've been struggling with feeling kind of disconnected from Christmas. It was always such a big deal to me, so it's just been kind of odd that I haven't been able to conjure up that same emotion the past few years. But I was praying this morning and I feel like God spoke to me in a really cool way. He showed me that as a child, Christmas was an escape for me; everyone was bright and cheery and getting along pretty well--which was in contrast to what I experienced throughout the year. Before I was saved, which was just a few years ago, everything had this heavy weightiness about it--even as an adult. I was constantly seeking distractions, and December was the ultimate time of "joyful distractions". But now I don't need an escape. I maintain that peaceful, heightened level of joy, year round! It's the idea of the light and easy yoke that Jesus talked about. I don't have to carry any of those burdens around with me; I get to spread joy to others all year long, instead of waiting for December, because Jesus has freed me from holding onto my own junk. Here's an analogy--If you vacation one week a year in Florida, the contrast between your daily life and Florida is huge. But if you buy a house on the beach in Florida, you don't get that manic high every time you walk on the beach, because you LIVE there. I was desperate to experience that familiar emotional contrast, but emotionally, spiritually and relationally, I live in Florida now!"

Posted by Cody Jensen at Thursday, December 25, 2014 | 0 comments

Katie Pace - #HumansOfCityChurch

How old are you?

"27."

What would you tell 17-year-old Katie?

"To dream bigger. When I was 17 I had no aspirations for leaving my town. I saw myself graduating, getting married, having a family, maybe being in ministry. I also wanted to sing, but it had never been something I stepped out into. When I graduated from high school God started bringing ORU on my radar, and I went for a college visit that following November. Right around that time, they'd started a Worship Arts degree. I'd encountered worship there in a way I never had before--there was a freedom there. Singing and music was something that I was able to grow. God enlarged that little bitty speck of music to missions and going to different nations. I could not have imagined, at 17, the things I've had the opportunity to do. It sounds silly but there's a life beyond marriage. While that is a dream of mine, it can't be my only dream. To get to be with God in this close of a way, to really understand what it's like to have him as the satisfaction of my soul--that is not something that just stays--it's something you have to fight for. I'm aware now, more than ever, of how precious this time is. 'Dare to take a chance on God'; that's what I would tell myself."

Posted by Cody Jensen at Friday, December 5, 2014 | 0 comments

Michelle Nace - #HumansOfCityChurch

"I knew I ultimately wanted to do some sort of personal styling--relationship building, improving someone's life--not necessarily celebrity styling. While I was at FIT I signed up to volunteer for Fashion Week, and I ended up getting an internship with Zac Posen. I sewed buttons on things, I was in sales, did some marketing...etc. After that I knew I wanted to do bigger things. I worked as a stylist, on some really amazing jobs, but it wasn't fulfilling in any way, because it was for celebrities and they expect you to do it. It wasn't like, 'I'm making your life better.' It was like, 'I'm an inconvenience right now.' I love styling and going through someone's closet and helping them put an outfit together. The [other] piece I'm finding now [personal training certification] is wellness and how that ties together. When you're feeling great and you also don't have to worry about what you're wearing, you're not inhibited. You don't fear how people will receive you, or if you'll get the job, and hopefully it takes that fear away. The heart of what I want to do is to help people--I think everybody wants that in their own way."

Posted by Cody Jensen at Friday, November 21, 2014 | 0 comments

Brooke Dauwe - #HumansOfCityChurch

You're 20, right?

 "Right." 

What is something you'd tell your 10-year-old self?

 "To be who I was, and not be so self-conscious of what I looked like, no matter what people said. When I was 11, boys would make fun of how fat I was. Once, I got really sick and lost like 10 pounds and I remember thinking, 'Oh, this is what it's like to be skinny', and boys started liking me, and I wanted to keep that. I stopped eating--not completely, but barely ate--for like 3 or 4 years. I was just obsessed, when I should've been enjoying my childhood. I think that's a problem, now--10-year-olds and 11-year-olds are worried about looking pretty, when they don't even need to worry about it. I would just tell myself to be myself. Eat healthier, yes, but not stop eating, and to enjoy life-especially at such a young age. That's what I would tell myself."

Posted by Cody Jensen at Friday, November 14, 2014 | 0 comments

Skylar Ray - #HumansOfCityChurch

How has Jesus shown up in your life lately?

"This has been an interesting season because I just graduated college. It's an exciting time but also can seem like a directionless time--I'm taking time off before grad school and just working a job to pay the bills right now, so there's not really any mind-blowing things taking place. It's just a season of transition and it's caused me to look for Jesus in the little things and ask what he is to me. There's times when it doesn't look like a fairy tale, so it has been really tempting to be like, 'God, where are you in this? What am I doing? What is this?' I think in that it's caused me to reevaluate the way I spend time with the Lord. The times he's most shown up were when I was just out for a run and thought, 'God, you're beautiful--you're such an artist. All these metaphors actually come to life--I'll just be running through the trees and think, "I do want to be rooted in you, and for my roots to grow down deep,' or I'll run down Riverside and think 'You do lead me beside still waters.' It's just taking time to enjoy him for him, instead of asking, 'Where are you leading me, what are you doing?' 

How many times is he the end, rather than the means to an end? It's hard to remember to sit back and say, 'Hey, God I'm just gonna be with you for the sake of being with you. Let me just enjoy your presence and enjoy being your kid.' "

Posted by Cody Jensen at Saturday, November 8, 2014 | 0 comments

Ricky Broughton - #HumansOfCityChurch

What's the most impressive thing you can do?

"I'm actually a pretty good cook. I use recipes, but a lot of times I'll kind of just go off and do my own thing. Sometimes I screw it up, but most of the time it turns out pretty good!"

Posted by Cody Jensen at Friday, October 31, 2014 | 0 comments

Derek Engle - #HumansOfCityChurch

"I've just always liked cutting grass, ever since I was a little kid--I think since I was 8-years-old. I'd always mowed my grandma's yard and my yard, and our neighbor asked me if I wanted to come over and mow her yard and I was like, 'Sure!' She asked how much I charged and I was like, 'I don't know...five bucks?' She payed me like 25 bucks and I was like, 'Great!! Pizza money!!' I moved here from Pennsylvania to help start a church, and I didn't realize this was "Green Country, USA". I thought, 'Oh wow! Maybe God's got something for me here, other than starting the church!' So I looked into starting my own landscaping business."

You have your own business? I didn't know that!

"Yeah--it's called Engle Landscaping. I just like being outside, working with my hands, playing in the dirt. To me, planting something and watching it grow--to know the plants that affect it, to know what grows better in the shade or in the sun, or if it grows better in the spring or in the fall--all that stuff fascinates me."

What's your favorite thing to plant or tend to?

"I like it all. I'm still learning, but I really like designing the [flower] beds and putting them in. I forget the term, but there are certain plants that compliment one another, even down to the bugs that live on the roots. It all works in sync, just how God created it." 

Posted by Cody Jensen at Friday, October 24, 2014 | 0 comments

Laura Goodale - #HumansOfCityChurch

"Reflecting on the whole process, there wasn't one [specific] moment that I thought, 'Yep! Let's go on The World Race!' It's been my whole life building up to this: I'm not married anymore, I have a job that kind of allows me to come and go, I'm ready spiritually and financially--it's all come together for this. I know God is going to provide for it, but I'm very nervous to see how that all comes about. I would equate the feeling to how I should've felt on my wedding day--like this is what I'm supposed to do, this is where I'm supposed to be. It's been interesting how God's guarded that. 

A few months ago, I was reading the book, "Kingdom Journeys" by Seth Barnes and thought, 'Man, it'd be cool to go on a trip like that', but that's kind of where I left it. Six months later, I was just discontent, and wondering what was next for me. The race was still in the back of my mind, and I went online and looked at some of the routes. There was one that spanned 4 different continents! I wrote about it in in my journal, but it stayed there, as a dream. I thought, 'Maybe someday, but I definitely can't go right now.' Then in June, I had just gotten back from visiting Nashville, because I was thinking about getting my master's degree there, but it just didn't feel right. I fasted that week, and prayed over and over, 'God, I know you know something else is supposed to happen. I would like to know what it is! If you could share that, that'd be great!' On June 18th I flipped back in my journal to February 18th, which was the day I wrote about The World Race. As I read it, I was like, 'Wow! I'm very sure about this!' I prayed more about it, got online and applied. I thought, 'Who knows if they'll even take me?' After 3 weeks of applications and a phone interview, I was accepted!

"What's going to be different after this trip?"

"I really don't expect to be the same person when I come back, which is not a bad thing. I also think I'll interpret God differently. God is the same everywhere, but we experience him differently, because of our culture. I'm interested to see him in these different places, and watch how he speaks to those people there."

Posted by Cody Jensen at Friday, October 17, 2014 | 0 comments

Sarah Jensen - #HumansOfCityChurch

What is one thing you want to accomplish before you die?

"I have struggled with this forever. I've never known exactly what I'm supposed to do with my life, where I'm supposed to go, who I'm supposed to be. But through a lot of coaching and working in my Freeway group, I've discovered I just want to help and love other people the best that I can. I don't know exactly what that means, or how you accomplish that, but if you're not pursuing Jesus and you're not pursuing other people, the things you want to accomplish don't matter. I think that having career goals and pursuing opportunities is great, and a lot of the times it goes hand-in-hand, but if you only accomplish it for you, what'd you really do? Above all, I want to learn to live in grace, and love people through that."

Posted by Cody Jensen at Friday, October 10, 2014 | 0 comments

Mariah Shryock - #HumansOfCityChurch

"Being fresh out of school, it took me a few months to get to a point of being content in the quiet and the still. I felt like I would be in the same place for 2 or 3 years, but I've been stirred to run in a different direction than I've been seeking God for. This summer everything started to shift and change and it wasn't what I felt God was preparing me for, at all. 

In mid-June there was an opportunity to go with a friend to China to serve kids with medical disabilities. I'd heard of this foster home before, and I love my friend who asked me, but I hadn't pictured myself there, and it wasn't a year away, it was 2 months away. I don't know what came over me, but I told her, 'Sure! Why not?' In the Freeway series there's a part that talks about turning off the busyness and being still and that's what China was for me. Prior to that, I was in a friend's wedding in New York, and New York was never a place I had seen myself. Little did I know I would fall in love with the city! I was in Times Square and I can't put to words what happened, but I was just walking with my friends and God just hit me. Tears started welling in my eyes, and surrounded by thousands of people, there God was. It's in those things--those unexpected experiences that if you're listening to God, he'll speak. It's even in the moments when you're not expecting him to say anything. He'll say something that will move in you in a crazy way. He even gives you a heart for things, and a heart to be in those places.

The adventure is this: 'Regardless of where I take you, can you find me?'--that's what I felt God was so desperately asking my heart. 'Can you find me in the chaos of a huge city, because I'm there. And I want to meet you, and mess you up in the best possible way.' It was the same in China, half way around the world, in the quiet space. Regardless of where you are, are you willing to listen and be with him and know him? When you really let him pour into you, your life is rich and it could go any [which] way, but it doesn't matter because he's with you."

Posted by Cody Jensen at Friday, September 26, 2014 | 0 comments

Jim Moss - #HumansOfCityChurch

"Being a first-time dad is an adventure. I'm 39, so starting later in life you figure out a few more things about yourself than you would at say, 25. There were a lot of years [when] I didn't know I was gonna be a dad, but now I have that opportunity, and it's pretty awesome. The neatest part in Liam's birth was not only being there for the birth of our first son, but to pass on your namesake. We named him after my dad, who died about 7 years ago, so that was really special. We're really big on meaning, so we named him "Liam" which means "Warrior" and then Gerald means "Warrior", as well. We were laughing the other night because he was being cranky and I told Tabi, 'You're the one who named him "Warrior", not once, but twice!' 

The other really neat thing for me was watching Tabi become a mom, instantaneously. I never really thought about what an adventure that would be, but it's been really special for me to watch her motherly instincts come to life, in seconds. I was more mesmerized by that than anything--just how she cared for our son. We have a verse that we've been praying over Liam and it's Daniel 12:3.

"What does the scripture say?"

Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever." So that's what we pray over him-- that he'll shine as bright as the sky and the stars, forever. We're looking forward to the adventure of his life." 

Posted by Cody Jensen at Friday, September 19, 2014 | 0 comments

Justin Miles - #HumansOfCityChurch

"What has been the biggest adventure of your life?"

"My recent drive to Yellowstone and Wyoming. I didn't plan as much as I usually do--I just packed up and did it. I went through Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. After I took a wrong turn into Idaho, I came back through Wyoming into Colorado, into Texas, back to Oklahoma. It was good.

"Why did you want to take this trip?"

To prove to myself that I could do it. There was also a desire to just get away from the busyness of the city and the daily work and routine. It was nice to compartmentalize life and have time to read and time to just be still and quiet.

"What was your favorite memory from the trip?"

One morning I woke up before the sunrise and drove to Devil's Tower, which is this big, cylinder of volcanic rock that shoots up 5,000 feet out of the Black Hills. There’s nothing else that tall around for miles. I was probably around age 6 when my dad and I watched this sci-fi movie that culminates in a big, epic event there and the thing I remember most is John Williams's amazing music score. Now I’m sitting at the base at sunrise. There’s fog hanging below the tower, and it's completely silent except for this music playing in my headphones, and I’m reading Psalms 120-135 about journeying up to Jerusalem to worship. 

So I’m sitting on this silent, lone column of rock that’s part of a really good memory, reading about these people who are journeying to be with God, and I’m the only person there. Before, the whole trip seemed risky. I should've felt really alone and isolated, but in that moment all the uncertainty about the trip--about life stuff and direction--all disappeared. For the first time in a long time I felt certain about who I am, whose I am, and what I can do. The silence and solitude and voyage were not the ends in themselves, but something to help me be humbled, remade, and ready for whatever things may be coming."

Posted by Cody Jensen at Saturday, September 13, 2014 | 0 comments

Kim Rhodes - #HumansOfCityChurch

What is the biggest adventure of your life?

"I'm getting on a plane tomorrow to New York, to meet with a group from Sesame Street. It's my dream come true! I have this chance to bank on myself. I've always been willing to give that to others, but not to myself. 

"When was a time you went out on a limb and failed?"

"Sounds like the last 3 years of my life! (haha) I've had a lot of job interviews that didn't pan out, but I feel like they've failed so God could lead me to this place. I've had so many advantageous meetings with various CEO's and executives, and I thought, 'this will work out for sure!', but it never did. I think it was through God's grace that he blessed me with these connections, so I could see that even though I had what I needed, if it wasn't his will, it wasn't happening. That might sound harsh, but it's honestly the loveliest thing. God graciously took me aside and fiercely protected my dream, when all I wanted was the comfort and security of a job. I couldn't have imagined him loving me this much! I never thought it would happen so quickly, and I know that if I had landed a job early on, I would've turned my back on my dream.

"What's your earliest memory of Sesame Street?"

Me and my cousin would watch Sesame Street everyday, twice a day during the summer, and the episode that aired in the afternoon was the same that aired in the morning. We loved it just as much as if we'd never seen the first episode. I continued to watch it as I got older, to look for things from my childhood, then I began looking for their teaching methods. I think that's when my love for progressive education came about. Then as I learned more about the people who made it happen, my fascination grew. I have a Sesame Street coffee table book, and Jim Henson's biography if that tells you anything." 

"Any fears going forward?"

"It's not just a dream, anymore--It's the real deal. It's pretty scary and pretty incredible, all at once."

Posted by Cody Jensen at Friday, September 5, 2014 | 0 comments

Jerry & Carolina Banzet - #HumansOfCityChurch

How did the two of you meet? 

Jerry: "My buddy, Eli invited me to go to church and I thought, 'Maybe I'll go...maybe I won't...' but I ended up going. And that's the first time I met her. She had on an Iowa Hawkeyes jersey."What'd you think when you first saw her?Jerry: "I thought she was alright."

Carolina: "Whatever!!"

Jerry: "I thought I'd give her a shot. Anytime me and Eli were together, he would always call "dibs" on girls, so I had to be like, 'Hey. I think that Carolina chick is kinda cute.' I think the second or third time we hung out, we went to Olive Garden with a big group and that's when I knew she was it."

Carolina: "We kept making eyes at each other."

Jerry: "There was this other boy that had a big crush on her, and he would always try to cut me off. Eli was a big help to me--he would cut this guy off to make sure I always got to sit by her. There was so much of a game plan that went into it. It's hard winning someone over."

Carolina: "I knew for sure when I told Jerry that I liked him but I wasn't sure that I wanted to date him yet. He said, 'I would rather have you as a friend than not have you at all.' " 

Jerry: "And she bought it!" (haha)

Carolina: "I've never been more proud of somebody than him. When I met him, he was still just starting a relationship with God. It's so amazing to see where he's come from and to be a part of that. Our friend, Eli that he talked about, came to church with us a few weeks back and it was amazing for him to see Jerry on a church stage, playing worship. He had smoked for 5 years and the day we met he asked Eli if he thought I would date him. Eli said, 'Honestly, I don't know if she'll date you if she knows you smoke.' He decided to quit smoking that day. He thought that we could be more than a short-term thing. Nobody had really done that for me. I think it was a show of what he would be as a husband and as a father and the kind of sacrifices he would make for us."

*bonus quote*

Gabriel: "Daddy! I need to go poo poo in your bathroom."

Jerry: "In my bathroom?"

Gabriel: "Yeah."

Jerry: "This is our life now."

Posted by Cody Jensen at Saturday, August 30, 2014 | 0 comments

Sandra Bell - #HumansOfCityChurch

"What's been the biggest adventure in your life?"

By the time I was 26 I'd had four kids, and by the time I was 28 I had four kids, by myself because I was divorced. My desire was always to get a degree, so when my kids grew up and all got out of high school I said, 'I'm going back to school.' So I went to college, past my 40's and started working on my degrees--Associates, Bachelors, and Master's. It was an adventure for me because it was personal--I didn't do it for anybody. I didn't do it to achieve another job. I did it simply for me.

"What was it like going college in your 40's?"

Me and my daughter, Brittany were in school at the same time. She was getting her Master's and I was getting my Bachelor's and we graduated in the same class. Then I decided to go back and get my Master's Degree. It was hard--I had to put my husband and children and grandchildren on hold for 3 years. But I think I did it because of a diagnosis I had received. I had been in a car wreck and they said I had a concussion. I went to the hospital and they did every brain scan, possible and the doctor said, "All the neurons on this side of your brain are dead, and these lesions indicate that you have Early Onset Alzheimer's.' 

Do you ever look at yourself in the mirror and think, 'God, this is not what I pictured for my life.'? I didn't know if I'd be able to talk, or if I'd be sitting here in 3 years. After I talked to God and looked beyond where I was, I thought, 'You know what? The devil is a liar! I'm going to get my Master's Degree!'

So you just start. Start somewhere. Start with a class, start with a phone call, start with a resume, just START. Just get a vision for something! Expect God to do something for you. If you stand outside on the sidewalk, and don't move all day, you'll see the sun come up, the sun go down, and the moon come up. Even if you never took a step, everything around you would change--this is how you know God is always moving.

Posted by Cody Jensen at Friday, August 22, 2014 | 0 comments

Kristin Pearson - #HumansOfCityChurch

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?"

Go travel and just play music at coffee shops.

"Where would you go?"

Anywhere! I'd go to places like Denver and Seattle and I'd get a friend to come with me, and if we couldn't fail, we'd sound good! (haha) We'd get a banjo and be a little cute hipster band, and meet all kinds of people. I'd go all over the world--I'd go to Hawaii, and England....and I'd just play at random pubs and coffee shops. And I'd cross all the places off on a map. I would only do it for a year, and then I'd come back to normal life.

"What if it lasted longer than a year?"

I would be a DJ. My DJ name would be KPZo and I would cultivate dance everywhere I went! I'd be a baller.

Posted by Cody Jensen at Friday, August 15, 2014 | 0 comments

Kirby Mackenzie - #HumansOfCityChurch

"What were you like as a kid?"

"Oh, gosh...probably a lot like I am now! I was pretty tomboyish most of the time. We had a creek in our neighborhood, and that's where I spent all of my free time--after school or in the summer, trying to catch frogs and turtles with the boys. Obviously I did a lot of reading, but I think when you picture a little girl who loves to read you picture a quiet, shy little girl, but that was not me. I was like, 'I love to read, but I'm also gonna tell you the story, and I'm gonna make up my own and I'm gonna sit the whole family down and make them listen to it, and then I'm gonna sing you a song about it!' I was the middle child, so I had to really fight for the spotlight. My brother and sister are--if you can imagine--exactly like me. My brother is the class clown and my sister was like the center of attention, but the girly version of it. I was a big, school nerd, loud tomboy. That was my jam."

"How do you use that to connect to your kids now?"

"Girls are the ones that typically like to read the most. They're the ones who are gonna ask for my opinion and suggestions, and want to talk about their books, but the boys you have to work a little bit harder for. There are even studies and websites created [for boys] by teachers, like guysread.com and booksforboys.com.As a librarian, I try to tap into that side of my personality to get them engaged and to help them see that not every book is "Sarah, Plain and Tall". They're gonna want to read books about farts! So I say, 'Look! There are books that are gonna teach you about sharks and there's a funny book about a superhero who wears his underpants on the outside of his costume!' I kind of like that tomboy piece of myself."

Posted by Cody Jensen at Friday, August 8, 2014 | 0 comments

Duncan Grantz - #HumansOfCityChurch

"What's the best advice your dad ever gave you?"

"If you work hard, you will never be without a job."

Posted by Cody Jensen at Sunday, June 15, 2014 | 0 comments

Jason Betz - #HumansOfCityChurch

"I spent 22 years in the northwest before I felt God calling me to leave. It was a pretty sudden calling, and it was to somewhere I'd never been, which was Tulsa. It all happened in a matter of about 2 months. I didn't know anybody, I didn't have a church or a place to live. I sold most of the stuff I own, including a motorcycle, and gave up a trip, to India and drove 1800 miles across the country, by myself. But I went because God told me to go." 

"What was the most eye-opening thing about leaving everything you knew?"

"Seeing the impact I'd had on people over the course of the years that I lived in Spokane. The way I lived my life influenced people more than I realized. When I left I had a lot of people tell me how much God used me in their life, which was a huge encouragement going into a new city. I saw that God had used me in the last 5 years, and that he could use me for a lot more. I've always felt like I'm not good at evangelism--I'm a little Punk Rock, and I listen to Kanye West. (laughs) What I loved about it was once I said, 'Ok, God, this is what I'm going to do', he took care of a lot of things. At that point of my life, it was the biggest step of faith I'd taken, and I grew more in that relationship than I ever have. Like his word promises, he took care of me. I've had huge opportunities for ministry, I've been connected and been mentored by pastors in the city that I didn't know, previously. It's something that I tell people, but it doesn't come up a lot. People may read this story and think, 'Man, that's really crazy', but I didn't see it crazy at the time. I just saw it as obedient."

Posted by Cody Jensen at Sunday, June 8, 2014 | 0 comments

Kelsee Reeves - #HumansOfCityChurch

"1 Peter 4:8 says 'Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.' I just feel like that's Jesus. I think that verse was the first time I understood why we're called to love. You could be a murderer or any type of sinner and I think when people extend love to you, that's when you have the ability to accept grace. Then it's like, 'Oh. These people don't see me for my sin. They see me as human, and they'll love me no matter what', and that's what Christ did. I just think it's really beautiful."

**bonus quote**

Before, we got our food, Kelsee proclaimed:

 "I think breakfast tacos are my love language. I'm serious!" 

Posted by Cody Jensen at Sunday, June 1, 2014 | 0 comments

Ryan Nace - #HumansOfCityChurch

"Well, It's funny because the whole time I was living in OKC, I was really unhappy at my job, and I would pray, really specifically: "God, I want a good boss, and of course I wanna meet the person I'll spend the rest of my life with..."-because I would be up nights, sleepless because I was getting older, and I just didn't feel like I had it all figured out. It was weird because my current boss sent an email out of the blue, that he was interested in hiring someone and wanted to know if I could come up for an interview. So I got to Tulsa, I had a good boss, I was finally happy with my job, and then I met Michelle 3 months later. So it just showed me that it's not necessarily me in control of my life, and God wants us to have what's inside our hearts--I kept reading that, that God wants you to have what's inside your heart--the pureness of your heart. Before I would just go church to church, and I had trouble getting involved, and now I'm here, and I'm involved in CityChurch, and I'm a CityGroups leader.

Ryan's fiancée (Michelle): Wait. Didn't she ask, 'How has God shown up for you, lately?' Because one of the most recent things I've seen is with you and the guys in your fight club. Every week you guys are texting each other and planning camping trips and lunches, and hang out on the weekends--they're your accountability and you're their accountability and it's a support system that's been built through continued contact with each other. And it was purposeful, and intentional, and sometimes frustrating at first, but once the ball gets rolling, it becomes beneficial because you guys are serving each other. And it's changing you because you're getting closer and having those experiences.

Ryan: Yeah. That was a big thing when I was in OKC--there weren't people my age to hang out with, who were single, so I was always by myself, or hanging out with people I shouldn't have been with. Even though they were my friends, they weren't Christians and there was a lot of tearing down, instead of building up. Yeah, I see that, now. That's a very good point."

Posted by Cody Jensen at Saturday, May 24, 2014 | 0 comments

Tarah Foster - #HumansOfCityChurch

"What's something that makes you laugh?"

"You wanna hear something funny? My dream is to live on the Big Island in Hawaii, on an acre, where I can have some show goats. You know how you have show dogs?"

"Yeah."

"Well, you can have show goats! And you can put them on leashes and lead them through obstacle courses, and they jump through hoops and you groom them and things like that!"

"And you'd want to do this in Hawaii?"

"Well, anywhere. But being on the Big Island would be awesome-its the only place on earth where you can experience all 7 ecosystems. So I could live in Waiama, have my goats, then take a 20 minute drive to Waikoloa and have the beach--I might even take my goats on the beach!"

"What would you name your goats?"

"Smokey Joe, Peanut and Raul...so that's something funny."

Posted by Cody Jensen at Thursday, May 15, 2014 | 0 comments

Casey Huggins - #HumansOfCityChurch

"How did you find out you would be a mom?"

I was training for the Route 66 Marathon and the Friday before, I ran 10 miles and my stomach was hurting-it wasn't painful...I can't really describe it-now I know it was pushing! So I called Andy and we got checked in to UrgentCare and they asked me multiple times if I could possibly be pregnant. I have poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome, and it's unlikely to become pregnant naturally, so we were like, "No. There's no way." We'd been together since we were 15 and married for 4 years, so we had finally become ok with the fact that we were never going to have kids.

 So the doctor asked us a final time and we looked at each other and said, "No!" and she said, "Well. You ARE pregnant!" So we went to get an ultrasound and the tech started going across my stomach and saying, "Oh my goodness! OH MY GOODNESS! You're really far along! I can tell the sex of the baby!" We found out we were 5 and a half months along. It was so much at once! Andy and I were both shaking and crying, and she said, "It's a girl!" I couldn't believe it- I'm about to cry right now! So we went back to the waiting room and shared a big hug and prayed together, and when I let go of Andy, there was a ladybug on his shoulder- and that's why we named her "Lady!" 

"I love that!"

We just felt like it was a sign-they mean good luck and she had survived so much-it was meant to be! So I didn't run the marathon and I had her in March, and here she is a year later! It's just incredible how much I love her. She has the coolest birth story. I'm excited to tell her when she's older.

Posted by Cody Jensen at Friday, May 9, 2014 | 0 comments

Katelyn Quattlebaum - #HumansOfCityChurch

"Post-baptism, I'm feeling incredible! it's really a whole new feeling when you come out of the water-it's really like The Lord is on you. I decided to get baptized to rededicate my life to The Lord and to show people an outward expression of how I'm feeling on the inside. I want to have a promise to myself and something to help me remember the day I recklessly pursued The Lord, for the rest of my life!"

Posted by Cody Jensen at Monday, April 28, 2014 | 0 comments