Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Series Starting January 3 on Ephesians

We are going to be starting a series on the Letter to Ephesians from January 3. This is one of the most amazing books in the Bible. We are going to go deep and dig into this book. The series will be meaty, powerful and transforming.


Friday, November 20, 2009

An Interesting and Insightful Article in the Atlantic re Prosperity Gospel



I know the title of the article is a bit too much; but hold on. It is one of the most insightful articles I've read about the prevalence of the prosperity gospel within the Evangelical churches. I was deeply sadden by this article. It slayed my soul. HOW CAN WE REDUCE THE GOSPEL OF THE CROSS TO THE GOSPEL OF MATERIAL PROSPERITY? It is so sad! I love what Rick Warran said to the TIME magazine in response to the idea that God wants everyone to be wealthy: "baloney! It's creating a false idol. You don't measure your self-worth by your net-worth."

Click here to read it.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

People of New City


Here are some of the peoples of New City Church of LA. Thanks Anthony for putting this together!

Solitude at LATC


I went to see Solitude last night at Los Angeles Theatre Center. It was in theater 3, where New City Church used to worship on Sundays. We are now in theater 1 to accommodate this play.
This play was awesome. I thought it was thought provoking, funny, and deep. It not only showed a glimpse of the struggles of Mexican-Americans, but also the common struggles of the human heart, our desire for purpose and meaning--for something greater than ourselves. Solitude is a state of being lost and being without purpose, and the only way to meaning, the play implied, was through getting involved in something bigger than ourselves in community with others--out of solitude.
I dare to say that the play was a spiritual in the way it showed the struggles of the human heart. I applaud Jose Luis Valenzuela who directed the play, and Evelina Fernandez who wrote the play.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Courtney's Brain Surgery

Let's pray for Courtney. Here is a letter from Courtney and Jason on Courtney's brain surgery. She has given everyone permission to share and pray for her.


Dear friends and family,

We wanted to let you know what is going on in our lives. Next week, Courtney is having brain surgery to have a brain tumor removed. This will hopefully be the end of a nearly 10-year battle with this tumor. The neurosurgeon, Dr. Keith Black, is at a top hospital in the US--Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, located here in LA. The doctor specializes only in brain tumors, and is incredibly skilled. We are grateful he accepted Courtney as a patient.

Courtney's surgery is October 8th (this upcoming Thursday). She will be in ICU for one day, followed by three more days in a regular surgical unit. Please pray for our family, as we attempt to be together, with our three-month-old, Norah, who will stay with us at the hospital after Courtney is out of ICU. Please pray that Courtney will recover quickly to be able to care for Norah when Jason goes back to work. The doctor says that she should be feeling herself two weeks after the surgery, though other surgeons have quoted us a recovery time of 3 months. Please pray that there are no complications--no bleeding or infection, no permanent neurological damage. Also, pray that Courtney would not need much physical therapy to regain normal fine motor skills (writing, walking, lifting, etc.). Thankfully, Courtney's mom will be here when we get out of the hospital to help with the transition back home.

Finally, we could really use your prayers for our finances. This neurosurgeon is not contracted with any insurance company. Our insurance will still help pay, but we estimate we will be paying $7-15 grand out of pocket. We have some savings, but we have been living as grad students with a small income, and this will probably wipe out all that we have. We think that it is worth it to obtain this neurosurgeon, but it is a big decision for us.

Thank you so much for your prayers. What has been one of the roughest years of our lives has been made so much more bearable by your support. You serve as reminders to us of God's goodness and love. Please join us in rejoicing that this medical battle is almost over. God has been good to us.

With love,
the Bilbreys
Jason, Courtney and baby Norah

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Reflection on the First Anniversary of New City

Here is a prayer written by Nori Henk, one of our members at New City Church, reflecting on New City's First Anniversary:

Dear God,

Today we celebrated our first annual anniversary at New City Church. It wasn’t until later this evening that I found myself vacillating between acknowledging that this first anniversary was a big deal to this anniversary was a BIG DEAL. Perhaps it is because this year has gone by so fast. It seems like yesterday that we were just getting used to 740 and making the environment work for our needs, and now we’re in an entirely new place that we have comfortably made our home. We have seen our children and ourselves grow closer together. Our church has expanded; babies have been born and will soon be born. We have had a steady stream of new people coming every week, and by your grace and their openness many have chosen to stay. After service every Sunday, the time flies as I find myself catching up with as many people as possible before we all go off to do the work and live the life you have given us for another week. No wonder this event didn’t really sink in until much later, just how significant this moment is, because every Sunday at this church has been a moment of deep gratitude for me. This church has served as a backbone for my spiritual and interpersonal growth, and I assure you that support has not been taken for granted. Still, I think anniversaries are meant to be reflective, especially as I anticipate what the next year might hold. It is on my heart to pray for these three things:

1. God, creator of all things, may your hand be upon the downtown LA community. May we work alongside you to lovingly and thoughtfully provide for our neighbors, and with your wisdom and direction, may we understand and live out a Christ-like model of community.

2. God, omniscient and all-powerful, may you bless and make possible our vision to connect people to you, grow together, serve the city, and extend your kingdom. Challenge and empower us to consider the fullness and sheer wonder of what this vision could absolutely look like.

3. God, abba father, may your hand be upon New City. May our differences be a source inspiration and hope in a world that refuses to let go of bigotry, hatred, and violence, and may our singular focus on Christ and the sacrifice he made for us all be the courage and strength that we need to appreciate and understand every blessing you give us and every challenge you present us.

I pray these things alongside all the prayers that have been lifted on behalf of New City, and there are many, God that you would hear our prayers. In our celebration of our first anniversary, we recognize that through you we have done much here at New City, yet, we humbly and expectantly recognize that we have much to do.

Amen.

New City Celebrated its First Anniversary Last Sunday

Here is a slideshow that was shown at New City's First Anniversary Celebration last Sunday, September 13, 2009:

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Story of Ron Smith

Ron shared his story at New City Church last Sunday. Here it is. It is a story of a muslim who became a Christ-follower because of the prayers, love, patience, and generosity of Christians.

video

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Swimming with the kids on the roof of Santee Village Loft


We moved into Santee Village Loft early this week. We are actually living in a downtown loft! It's just one big room with a kitchen and a bathroom. It's a great loft. We will be living here temporarily until we move back to La Crescenta. We had to move out of our home in La Crescenta earlier in the summer because the landlord wanted the house back for his family. Well, the kids are having a blast living in a loft. The swimming pool is awesome!

New City Beach Bonfire Party

Here are some pictures from the Beach Bonfire Party at Dockweiler Beach. We had a lot of people come out.









The beach party ended in a downer because there was a shooting in the parking lot by a gang member. No one was hurt but we all heard about 5-6 shots being fired. Later, the Police closed the beach. Overall, it made us confront the reality of gangs and what neighborhoods that are gang infested go through day and night. Lord, Thy Kingdom Come in LA!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

We'll Miss You John Joo!

John was our first worship leader. He has faithfully served God through New City from the beginning of our church. Now, he is going away for school. We are going to miss you John!

Monday, August 10, 2009

New City Dodgers Game Night




Had a great time at the Dodgers Game. We had 45 of us go. The game was a great pitching duel until the 10th inning. It got really exciting during the 10th (I heard on the radio--my family had to leave during the 9th), but the Dodgers lost to the Braves. For the kids, the game was all about trying to get us to buy them peanuts, ice cream, cotton candy, etc. We had a lot of fun!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

New series at New City: GHarmony: sex, singleness, and marriage


We are going to start a new series called:

GHarmony: sex, singleness, and marriage

Have you wondered:
  • Is there a soulmate out there for me?
  • How do I know he/she is the one?
  • What does God say about singleness and dating?
  • How do I meet mine? Is eHarmony the answer?
  • How can I make sex beautiful?

Please join us as we look at what God (G in G-Harmony stands for God) tells us about sex, dating, and marriage. This series is designed not just for singles but also for married couples.

Here's the schedule of the talks:

  • 7/26: "The Beauty of Sex"
  • 8/3: "Singleness and Dating"
  • 8/9: "God's Design for Marriage"
  • 8/16: "How Do I Know He/She is the One?"

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Rooftop BBQ at Chapman Loft









We had a fantastic time at New City BBQ at the Rooftop of Chapman Loft today. It was so good to just hang out and enjoy the summer.

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15th Anniversary Dinner at Geoffrey's in Malibu

We just celebrated our 15th Anniversary Dinner at Geoffrey's in Malibu. This is the place I proposed to Grace about 15.5 years ago. They used to have a private rooftop table called the "crow's nest." I had them put some candles on the stairs, ordered some beautiful flowers for the table. We had a great dinner and I asked them for the desert menu, which I revised from their menu. I inserted, "Marriage Platter. Lifetime of happiness with Kevin. $Priceless." When she saw the item, I got on my knee and proposed to her. This was my formal proposal.

The way I actually proposed to her was very different. Because we had a long distance relationship, we used to talk on the phone all the time. Everytime we talked, I used to ask her to marry me. It became a tradition that I would ask her to marry and she would say, "maybe." To me, maybe was an encouragement. One day, Grace finally decided to say yes, but I didn't ask her to marry me. I was about to hang up the phone when she asked me whether I was going to ask her what I always ask her. I said, "what...? how...are...you?" She said, "nooo...." When I realized what she was saying, I got really serious and said slowly, "would you marry me?" She said, "Yes." I said, "Do you mean I got the question right or , .... are you saying yes to the the proposal?" She said, "proposal." That was the beginning of this wonderful marriage.
I never knew it would be so good. We had some rough times here and there, but overall, our marriage has been a great blessing.

Grace is my love, my best friend. She is my confidant. My best critic. She tells me the truth. She tells me when my sermon sucked. She is my great source of encouragement. I stand strong because of her. We love talking to each other. We never get bored with each other. Or at least, I don't get bored with her. I walked into marriage expecting a lot of difficulties, but what I experienced was delight. Grace has been the greatest blessings on this earth for me.
I look forward to growing old with Grace.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

NewCityKidz! Outing to See "UP"


Here's a picture of some of the kids in NewCityKidz!, our children's ministry with Christine Whan, our awesome children's pastor.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Original Team



The pastoral staff at New City is changing. Jonathan McCracken, Christine Whan, Jason Bilbrey, and I have been together for almost a year now. Christine is going to start a full time program for her graudate degree at UCLA in Fall and Jason started to work full time at Fuller and will continue at Fuller part-time. So, they have decided to step down from their pastoral role. I am sad that the Original Four is breaking up. We have grown together and bonded as a team. However, they are not going anywhere. Both Jason and Christine will stay at New City as lay leaders. They are just stepping down from their pastoral roles.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

In Memory of those Fallen for the Cause of Freedom



I want to honor those who have fallen while protecting freedom around the world. I believe we owe more than we know to those who have given their lives to the cause of freedom. Let's make sure we all honor their bravery and heroism!

Several weeks ago, in a sermon entitled Sword vs. Cross, I argued that the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of this World (I don't mean the principalities of evil in a spiritual sense but just the governments of this world) are utterly different. In fact, I argued that they are basically the opposite. The Kingdom of this World is based on justice, coercion, and the sword. It is the Kingdom of Power-Over. The Kingdom of God is about grace, sacrificial love, and the cross. It is the Kingdom of Power-Under, the power of self-sacrificing love. And I preached that Jesus' mission, and as such, the mission of the Kingdom of God is not to take over the Kingdom of this World and force the agenda of the Kingdom of God on others through the tools of the Kingdom of this World.

Then, I discussed the dangers of fusing the Kingdom of the World and the Kingdom of God together. Some of you might have thought that I was a pacifist who does not believe in taking up arms or defending our country. That's not where I stand at all. Our military is an important part of the Kingdom of this World. It's essential. There are a lot of crazy rulers/terrorists out there. We need to defend our freedom and we honor those who have given their lives to the cause of freedom. The point I was trying to make is that two Kingdoms should not be fused together because Jesus didn't fuse them together.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Baptism and Celebration at New City!

Our baptism celebration on March 29, 2009 was incredible. We had six people share their testimonies, and we dunked them, symbolizing the death to the old life and the beginning of the new life in Christ! I've never had more fun.

You can see the video of the baptism by clikcing here.

Here are some pictures.








Friday, April 3, 2009

Easter Fest and Celebration at New City Church of LA

Join us at New City for our Easter Brunch, Celebration, and Easter Fest for Kids! It's going to be a CELEBRATION of our Lord's resurrection.

Here's our Easter Invitation Postcard sent to All of the residents of downtown LA.



Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Easter Fest for Kids at New City Church of LA


New City Church of LA is preparing for the Easter Fest for Kids on Sunday, April 12, at the Los Angeles Theatre Center (the New LATC). We are sending out 20,000 invite cards to downtown residents for our Easter Fest for Kids.

New City Church of Los Angeles, a new multi-ethnic, multi-socioeconomic church in downtown, invites the public to Easter Fest for Kids on Sunday, April 12 at the beautiful lobby of the Los Angeles Theatre Center (the New LATC) at 514 S. Spring St. We will have an Easter egg hunt, a bouncy house, face painting, bubbles, arts and crafts, food, and other things, all for free to the public.


In this economically difficult time, we want to create an event where families can come and just have fun without worrying about whether or not they can afford it. There is very little activity for kids in downtown, and so, we want to do something fun for them.


Here’s the schedule of our Easter Fest for Kids:

• 10 am: Brunch (no charge) for kids and adults
• 10:20 am-12 pm: NewCityKidz! (fun at our children’s ministry: games, singing, dancing, Bible stories, etc.)
• 12 pm to 3 pm: Easter egg hunt, bouncy house, arts and crafts, bubble tricks, face painting, and lunch for kids and adults at the lobby of Los Angeles Theatre Center (the New LATC), all at no charge

There is free validated parking for all at Joe’s Parking Structure, right next to the church. Just follow the sign.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 25, 2009
CONTACT: Kevin Haah, 213-471-2415, Kevin@newcitychurchla.com
WEBSITE: http://www.newcitychurchla.com/
_
EASTER FEST FOR KIDS AT THE LOS ANGELES THEATRE CENTER SPONSORED BY NEW CITY CHURCH OF LA, A NEW DOWNTOWN CHURCH


LOS ANGELES, CA. –New City Church of Los Angeles, a new multi-ethnic, multi-socioeconomic church in downtown, invites the public to Easter Fest for Kids on Sunday, April 12 at the beautiful lobby of the Los Angeles Theatre Center (the New LATC) at 514 S. Spring St. We will have an Easter egg hunt, a bouncy house, face painting, bubbles, arts and crafts, food, and other things, all for free to the public. Pastor Kevin Haah, the lead pastor of New City Church of LA, states, “In this economically difficult time, we wanted to create an event where families can come and just have fun without worrying about whether or not they can afford it. There is very little activity for kids in downtown, and so, we wanted to do something fun for them.”


Here’s the schedule of our Easter Fest for Kids:



· 10 am: Brunch (no charge) for kids and adults
· 10:20 am-12 pm: NewCityKidz! (fun at our children’s ministry: games, singing, dancing, Bible stories, etc.)
· 12 pm to 3 pm: Easter egg hunt, bouncy house, arts and crafts, bubble tricks, face painting, and lunch for kids and adults at the lobby of Los Angeles Theatre Center (the New LATC), all at no charge



There is free validated parking for all at Joe’s Parking Structure, right next to the church. Just follow the sign.

While the kids are having fun at NewCityKidz, the children’s ministry, the adults are invited to the special Easter Brunch and Celebration Service at 10 am. at the New LATC. Please join us as we celebrate the hope we have in Jesus Christ! Pastor Kevin Haah invites, “Come for brunch and stay for our Easter service! You are going to be warmly welcomed, and I guarantee that you are going to have fun as we celebrate Easter. After the worship service, stay for the Easter Fest for Kids and lunch, all for free. You are going to love the diversity, inclusiveness, and spiritual vitality.” Pastor Kevin continues, “We are a downtown church that looks like downtown. I hope you can join us for Easter.”

The rapidly growing New City Church of LA, which held their grand opening last September, is richly diverse in ethnicity, socioeconomics, age, religious background, political view, and lifestyle, but united in their journey to love and follow—or at least find out about loving and following—Jesus and to love and serve their neighbors, whoever they may be.


Lead pastor, Kevin Haah, a former attorney who was a pastor to Skid Row residents, describes New City Church this way: “We are a Christian church that is, and is called to be, multi-ethnic, multi-socioeconomic, multi-everything, really. It can be difficult to love even those who are like us. But if we can truly love all others—including those who are unlike us—because we believe that ultimately, we are all the same, that every single one of us is more messed up than we can fathom and yet more loved by God than we can imagine, that really speaks to the tremendous unifying and transformative power and beauty of God’s love.”

New City Church’s Sunday service, which is held in an intimate but casual atmosphere, starts off at 10 a.m. with a complimentary continental brunch. The style of worship music is diverse—from traditional hymns with a modern accent, to contemporary praise songs, to songs from various different cultures. Pastor Kevin and the other pastors give fresh, dynamic, relevant sermons straight from the Bible, while Pastor Christine Whan and her assistants lead the fun and creative children’s program. New City Church is completely committed to serving the people of LA, so opportunities to serve and to develop new opportunities to serve the community abound. New City also offers several small groups which meet on various days throughout the week to allow members to “do life” together.

New City Church meets Sundays at 10:00 a.m. at the Los Angeles Theater Center (the New LATC), located at 514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90013. Parking is free with validation next door at Joe’s Parking Structure, 530 Spring St. Additional information can be found at www.newcitychurchla.com.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Alpha Retreat




The Alpha Retreat was awesome! The Holy Spirit came and filled us in a powerful way. Praise God!
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Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Case for the Existence of God

I was talking to someone who comes to our church this week who had a lot of questions about God. I sent him this paper that I wrote a few years ago called A Case for the Existence of God. I wanted to share it with you. If you have questions about the existence of God, this might be worth reading.

Friday, January 23, 2009

An Invitation to the Alpha Course at New City Church



The Alpha Course at New City Church will start on January 28, 2009, Wednesday, at 6:45pm in the Upper Room (church office and meeting area), 453 S. Spring St., Suite 833, Los Angeles, CA 90013 (which is at the NW corner of 5th and Spring St in a building called Spring Arts Tower).

Over 11 million people worldwide have attended an Alpha course, an opportunity to explore the meaning of life, now running in tens of thousands of churches of all denominations. Click here for Alpha USA's website.

At an Alpha course, people explore the Christian faith in a relaxed setting over ten thought-provoking weekly sessions.

It is low-key, friendly and fun – and is supported by all the main Christian denominations.

Why not take this opportunity to explore the meaning of life?

For more information or to sign up, email alpha@newcitychurchla.com or Temi at osilaja@gmail.com or Leo@newcitychurchla.com.

Parking

There should be ample free street parking available around the building after 6pm. You don't need to feed the parking meter after 6pm.

What happens at Alpha?

A typical Alpha course session consists of a dinner and a talk and small group discussions regarding key issues related to the Christian faith.

Our Schedule:

· 1/28: Introduction Dinner: Christianity: Boring, Untrue and Irrelevant?
· 2/4: Who is Jesus?
· 2/11: Why did Jesus die?
· 2/18: How can we have faith?
· 2/25: Why and how do I pray?
· 3/4: Why and how should I read the Bible?
· 3/11: How does God guide us?
· 3/18: How can I resist evil?
· 3/25: Why and how should we tell others?
· 4/1: Does God heal today?
· 4/8: What about the Church?

A Day Away (Saturday, 3/14):

· Who is the Holy Spirit?
· What does the Holy Spirit do?
· How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit?
· How can I make the most of the rest of my life?