2015: The year of coming together as one!

Dear Friends,

As 2015 opened, Lyle and I began to feel a greater sense of urgency as we encourage pastors and leaders to come together in unity. To our delight, many of those to whom we spoke were sensing the same need. At almost every turn, ministry leaders are talking about the need to break down walls of separation and to come together as one. On many occasions in the past, we have made reference this newsletter to the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem in the times of Nehemiah, and to the spiritual significance of different segments of Israel’s society joining together in the work. Though the times are different, the basic spiritual principle remains the same. We must join together as one in order to rebuild the spiritual walls of our cities.

But where do we begin?

Over the last few months, the Lord has made clear to us the importance of pastors gathering in small groups to pray over their neighborhoods and communities. It is in such small groups that relationships can be strengthened and that the bonds of unity can begin to form. Though building on such a small scale can seem counter-intuitive when dealing with an area as large and diverse as the County of Los Angeles, we have been reminded several times over the last few months that our Lord began small, pouring His time and energy into twelve men. And look what the Lord did through those twelve men!

As I ponder this call to think small, I am reminded of a parable that Jesus told . . . the parable of the mustard seed:

“The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches (Mt.13:31-32).

So . . . we plant little seeds, encouraging small beginnings . . . praying that God will cause growth and that unity come forth in great abundance. Thank you for supporting us in this endeavor, and thanks too for your prayers. We are excited to see how the Lord will bring about unity in our city, and we are so very blessed to have you along for the ride!

Please join us in praying that LCI can assist in making wise connections . . . that we can continue to be used as a catalyst for unity . . . and that a spirit of oneness would flow from Los Angeles, bringing life to the nations.

We have some big news to share with you!

In the midst of focusing us on the small, the Lord is bringing about something that we think is rather big. Effective May 1st, Neighborhood Initiative, a ministry that encourages and motivates Christians to love their neighbors, will be joining forces with Life Connections International!

In a beautiful demonstration of unity, two ministries are coming together in what can only be described as a “non-merger”. Here’s what Lynn Cory, founder of Neighborhood Initiative, has to say about it:
“Comcast + Time Warner Cable. Together is Better.” These words are the title of a video promoting the merger of two major conglomerates. The video states, “Together is better for more people.” In reality, it is not so much about people, but what it will create in the merger for these two entities: more control, more money, and rising costs for their customers. Life Connections and Neighborhood Initiative coming together is truly “better for more people.” Both ministries are most assuredly not major conglomerates, but small instruments in the hand of God to accomplish great works together in the advance of God’s kingdom. LCI “Envisions a united Body of Christ, in all of its marvelous diversity, each part working in harmony with one another, whether locally or abroad, that the kingdom of God might be advanced, and that life – life in Christ Jesus our Lord – might freely flow to the nations.” And NI envisions “The whole church taking the whole gospel to the whole city, one neighborhood at a time.” When Tyler first suggested the two ministries come together, my response was, “This will put more boots on the ground to help carryout the vision of LCI. I am very excited about what the Lord has in store for people in cities across our nation and beyond with this “merger.” I am also looking forward to working with Tyler and Lyle in this new relationship. May God be glorified through this beautiful work that He has initiated.

Both Lynn’s name as well as that of his ministry are undoubtedly familiar to some of you. He currently serves as a Director on LCI’s Board, and we have already partnered with Neighborhood Initiative on several occasions. We are extremely excited about the prospects of working in conjunction with Lynn, and we would ask that you add him to your prayer list. For more information about Neighborhood Initiative, please visit their website: http://neighborhoodinitiative.com/

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