Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Have you met "Shoe?"

This article was published in PCC's monthly newsletter THE BRIDGE!

If you would have asked me five months ago, if I would ever consider becoming a Christian, I wouldn't have given it a second thought. The answer would have been "No," right away. It is amazing, though, how much God loves each of us and can change your view on him in an instant. It all started about a year ago. I had a very comfortable, well paying management position in a local video game store. I had consistent funds and hardly any work. And then God threw a curve ball at me. He gave me a two day window to drop my retail career and become a carpenter. I had never swung a hammer in my life.

I was so scared to quit and fail and be left jobless. However, I made the switch and it has worked out beautifully. God was beckoning me and I was unknowingly answering his call.

During a Christmas party my boss was hosting, I was introduced to Jeff Smith, one of the pastors of PCC Church. God put Jeff in my path to bring me to him and I missed the sign. I thought nothing of it. Life continued as normal until seven months later. We were short on work and were about to lose out on a few weeks pay due to no jobs. My boss finds us a job in which he knows there is no profit margin, but it will keep us busy. We get to the new job site and I realize that I know the owner of the business we were to work at. His name was Jeff Smith, one of the pastors of PCC Church.

God introduced us the first time to no avail, yet in my time of need, brought us back together. God was saying,"Alright, I can't be any more obvious than this Chris". The next few weeks were filled with countless other signs and feelings that God was imparting on my life. I finally came to my senses and talked with Jeff. I asked where I could go to learn more about this "God".
He sent me to Tony Gapastione and the Sunday at 6 crew.
I began attending Wednesday night small groups. That lead to Sundays. I was hot for God and he was hot for me. From the moment I stepped foot on the Peninsula Covenant Church campus, I was instantly held tight by God's love shining bright through each person I came into contact with. Every person was heart warming and open. I felt at home, like a home I should have been in all along. God's greatest work with me came the first week of August this year at Hot Water Weekend trip that was being put on by the young adults.

That weekend made me feel so spiritually alive. God and I had a conversation that weekend. I asked him to show himself to me in any way and he did. That weekend, I asked the Lord to come into my life and allow me to follow in Jesus's footsteps.

It has been blessing upon blessing since then.
If it wasn't for God's extreme love for each of us, then I wouldn't be here now telling you about my story. It is indescribable how much God loves us. The determination He has when one of his creations in need is amazing.
This short journey I have lived, and will continue to live, has been incredible. I am excited that I was asked to tell my story because I know how much a good story of a walk can renew faith, build new relationships and praise God all in one.
----Chris Schoephoerster

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Hallowed 2007 Recap

For the past three years We have participated in an annual event bringing local churches together and combining experiential art, faith, film, and music for a night the last Saturday in October. It is Hallowed. Basically we turn a club into an "art show" of sorts. You know how many people go through haunted houses this time of year, well we put on an art/music/film/faith house. People come in and walk through rooms, chill to music, sip some drinkage..you get the picture.

I personally had a very encouraging time. The rooms this year were to use the theme of Sanctuary for inspiration. Each room was different. Our room invited the sojourner into creation to contemplate, reflect, and pray. Everything (besides the images projected on the wall and the "response leaves") was real.

The 12 by 12 room was covered completely in grass, acorns, pine cones, and plants. As you walked in you were transported to a different place. It smelled just like being on a hike to me. The PCC Young Adults' team lugged in huge rocks and a ginormous log for people to sit on. And most awe-inspiring was the tree. It was a tree made up of real leaves, branches and trunk and was assembled in the room with other random tree parts. But when you were in the room looking like it, it seemed like it had always been there.

Then one by one the tree filled up with colorful leaves of hope. People were invited to write out hopes on yellow and red leaves and stick them on the tree or step on their troubles and release them away. It was a very hopeful image as the green tree came to life with hopeful color. Like the tree of life that brings healing to the nations in Revelation. At the end of the night, there was not a single leaf left. Every one had been used in this experiential activity.

The night also had some other creative rooms there were a part of the event, too, and lots of encouraging words, a touching documentary about street children in Costa Rica, and prophetic words of wisdom and exhortation. For me, God spoke to me about the need to rest, find my identity in being his son ( a recurring issue with me) and not how much or what I can do for him. One other great element of the event was that we were truly God's unified and diversified people. All colors and styles were represented! That's the way God created us to be. All together and different!

The PCC team was busy cleaning up their art at midnight when I left. All I could think was how very grateful and thankful I was for all their time and energy poured out into this project. One of the million reasons why I love being a part of our church community. People working together, being creative, and taking ownership!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hallowed this Saturday: Free art, film, mustic & poetry experience

For those of you far away from our communitiy--pray for our event this Saturday night. Art, experience, film, music, and poetry in our annual event called HALLOWED. Those of you local, I really recommend this year's event. It's acoustic music, poetry, art and a more relaxed vibe as the theme is SANCTUARY. I just helped out with the installation of the room tonight and the PCC team is doing an amazing job. The director of the event told me that he is always impressed with the hard work and dedication from PCC. It made me very proud of the team. Thanks to:
David, Jeff, Steve, Aftan, Chris, Mia, Peter, Drew, Daniel, and Matt for giving time to lead and serve in this project.

Want more info? www.xpfactor.org

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Always an adventure

Some of us unfortunately know that cheesy 80's song, "The Great Adventure." Steven Curtis Chapman's pop theme song of the Christian Culture was super popular 15-20 years ago and touted lyrics like--"We got a trail to blaze through the wild blue yonder of God's amazing grace."
Honestly--it still shows up in certain venues (yes--even ours) But the song, in my opinion, is anything but cool. Back then it had Christians going hog wild at concerts raising hands in worship and Sunday mornings--and now kids choirs and their adult leaders are miming the moves of a wild western horseback rider. OK, maybe it's a little fun, and I admit I've thrown an invisible lasso once or twice.

But I still can't ignore the face that life--life with God is a great adventure.

You never know what is going to happen when you are open to God and following Jesus.
Last Sunday night quite a different night for me. I returned home to my wife with lots of Stories. Wendy usually can't come to La Tartine after Sunday at 6 because our daughter needs to get to bed, so I come home and try to download the specifics hour by hour. This Sunday was quite a unique experience. I love meeting new people and we had some come for the first time which brought some cool conversations. But there were also priceless moments of laughter and also sadness. But in summary, God was at work and I loved it. Here's a few bullet points what what I experienced.

Sipping luscious espresso drinks and eating scrumptious pastries
Connecting with new and extravagant people.
Mexican Hat dancing in the middle of the Cafe (Alex D. you are a champ!).
Praying on the court house steps until almost midnight.

I love it.

Saddle up your horses.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Bulk..BIG...Bring it on

Seems odd that the next post after thinking about hunger and fasting would be this EXTRA LARGE can of TUNA. We had to bust out the camera phone while shopping at Costco today. Which, by the way, is a whole new way of life. We have now created a "pantry" in our garage to house the multiple boxes of Ziploc bags, diced tomatoes, and a 36 pack of Diet Pepsi for my DP loving wife. But this is how families make it on a budget. We are in a whole new playing field here.

But back to the Bulk issues. Is this hilarious or what? Maybe it's just ludicrous (nice word huh?) or sad. Do we really need a can of Tuna this big? 4+ lbs of Tuna in one can? Don't get me wrong. I LOVE TUNA, much to the chagrin of my wife (who gags at the smell of some of my favorite foods). I'm just afraid of wasting any food cause there is so much I feel a "good pressure" to use it all.

Thanks to this Costco sized can we could feed our whole neighborhood Tuna Casserole and still have leftovers. But hey, I'm still gonna shop there and still gonna eat the food they sell. Thanks to Costco, I practically ate lunch today as we walked around. I had corn and lobster chowder, dried mangoes, granola bars, spinach ravioli, orange chicken and pumpkin pie. Now they were all bite sized, but I felt pretty satisfied after those bites! I went back for seconds a few times, too. I was thinking about my homeless friends today as I snacked and shopped. This would be a goldmine for them. Just get a Costco card and come at lunch time to eat for free.

Only in America.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

thinking about hunger and poverty again

If you are a part of PCC's compassion and Justice community I hope you are learning a lot as we read RICH CHRISTIANS IN AN AGE OF HUNGER and hear stories of people choosing to engage in redeeming acts to bring hope to the world.

Watch these videos.

I went with out my cereal this morning. No toast, no fruit, nothing. Big deal. Millions of people could only dream of such delicacies where they are just common, easily attainable items for me. I'm embarrassed because my heart is not completely joyful about giving up food, but I know I want to do this as a discipline. I decided to try just drinking liquids today and that doesn't include espresso drinks. Fasting is one of the more uncommon spiritual disciplines discussed and encouraged in the church today but still important. Read Isaiah 58. Beautiful and compelling truth that God wants us to care about the needs of the world and to pray for an end to injustice and hunger. Today and tomorrow millions of people are standing up to make a statement. Portions of these people are fasting and praying that poverty would end, that the world's vast resources could be shared.

Try it for a meal, or just try it for an hour. Stand up. Stand up and pray during your lunch hour. At dinner as you gather with your family stand up and pray that hunger and poverty could end in our lifetime. Go without dessert at dinner or coffee at breakfast. Share this video with your friends, your co-workers, your roommates, and your kids. Talk about it for a minute. Just one small change and make a difference. This video below is very clever.

Monday, October 08, 2007


I've returned from my vacation in Maui. It was a true treat. I didn't touch a computer for a whole week. No emails, blogging, or even any youtubes. It was great. (Even though one day I caught a TV show while working out in the gym and they talked about a clip with David Letterman that I made sure to watch right when I got home). I felt disconnected from the world, but it was good because I truly had time to connect with God and my family.

Isella was so fun on this trip. Lots of laughing and smiling. One challenge we had was (besides lugging a million things like portable cribs, strollers, and beach toys everywhere) Maui's time difference is three hours behind us. So Isella's internal clock was way off. She'd wake up at 4:30am because it was really 7:30 am Cali time.

This is obviously not an ideal time to get up on vacation. The first day I sucked it up and took the morning shift, since Wendy takes EVERY other shift, it was the least I could do for my beautiful hard-working wife. The cool thing is that getting up so early gave me some great advantages. I got great daddy daughter time with isella, we got to walk in the fresh Hawaiian air every morning, we got to hang out at a great little coffee shop. And every morning I would get to have some Chai Tea or a White Mocha while I read God's word and journaled. Ah, if life were always that simple. AND we also met Abigail.

Abigail was sweeping the parking lot of a little strip mall with a bar, nail salon, and Internet cafe (which I only drank coffee from and never hit the keypad!). We became friends at 5am the first morning we strolled down the sidewalk as the day awakened. We saw each other every day after. She would work sweeping 5 days a week from 4:30am to 7:30am as an extra side job to provide for her family. She actually lived in San Francisco for awhile. English was her second language and Spanish her first so we bantered a little in Spanish, too. Even though I was "on vacation" from my "job"--so weird that I need a vacation from being a pastor--But I wasn't on vacation from my role as God's son, his servant, and instrument of his love. So I saw Abigail as one of God's loved ones that both Isella and I could be Jesus to with love and friendliness.

I think God used isella more than me. All she has to do is smile and people seem to respond. I loved being able to share that time with her. It excited me to think that God had given me this beautiful daughter to train up in his ways and help shape her identity and purpose in God's kingdom. I hope she grows up with a strong sense of her calling and giftedness and I am praying for that almost daily. I keep a journal for Isella, too, so that day we met Abigail I wrote an entry to Isella about the importance of knowing, loving, and serving all of those God has put us around. Abigail was one of those and we will now never forget her.

So, although I could have stayed in Maui a lot longer it was time to come home. And man, it's like the season changed in one week of us being away. All of a sudden it is a little frosty and pumpkin patches and orange string lights have popped up all around.

This awesome Church building (below) was in Lahaina. Just looking at it stirred excitement for me. Especially the day when a rainbow appeared behind it. I wondered if some saw this proclamation of Jesus' return as scary or maddening. "Quick everyone look busy," as one bumper sticker put it. My prayer will be that this TRUTH of Jesus' return will bring HOPE for all people because they know who He truly is and how much he loves the world.