Tuesday, March 25, 2014

From Pastor Chris: Reluctant Blessings

Hey Church,

I write this letter to you with mixed feelings because Jason and Laura Helveston, our co-laborers in the gospel, are departing to do ministry in another city. We all long to have such a deeply committed church that we dream of being together for years to come. We conceive of leaders being with us from the cradle to the grave. But if we are honest, those are dreams of heaven and the kingdom to come, not our life as sojourners on this earth. Remember Hebrews 11:13-16:

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

The reality is we are not sovereign individuals who get to choose when and where we will live and work. In fact, scripture affirms time and again that it is God's providential hand who places us where we are, for whatever time we are there, in order that all people may know him (Acts 17:26-28). What makes it difficult is that we must always put our relationships in God's hand and be grateful for them for the time we have, not wasting any moment. We want our friends and family to be around forever but in this life it is a request that can never be granted. This life by nature is transitory; it only serves to fuel our longing for the eternal heavenly city, where sorrows never touch our shores.

Despite the difficulty of saying goodbye to people we love, we can rejoice and bless them as they go. We know that God is sovereign and that he controls even the nations in the palm of his hand. We can trust that wherever he places his people he will continue to make Jesus known. It is a fearful thing to place yourself in the hands of the living God. For you know that he may do with you as he wishes, when he wishes. Yet, he does not do this for selfish reasons or for some deranged form of entertainment. He does it so that others may be saved; we give our lives for the sake of others just as His Son did for us.

Our prayers of blessings for the Helvestons may be reluctant blessings, but they are blessings of hope. Looking forward to what God may do through them in Chicago and what he will do through us here in San Jose by his sovereign grace. Then when we get to the Great Wedding Banquet of the Lamb, we then can say, "This is what he did. This is what he did. This is what he did!"

Godspeed Jason, Laura, Glori, and Jedidiah Helveston.

Pastor Chris

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Letter from Your Dwell Elders

From the Elders,

We want to start by saying the last four years of ministry with Pastor Jason has been such a blessing for our church. He and Laura have been with us through some difficult transitions and seasons of life. Jason has always provided wonderful preaching for us and strong leadership. We will miss them and their two wonderful children. We want to wish them a fruitful ministry in the future. We hope and pray the Lord would continue to use them for his glory at Park Community Church.

Naturally people are wondering what the transition of leadership will look like. The staff will continue to regularly communicate our events, ministry opportunities, and our future plans through things like "Hey Church." Pastor Chris will assume the majority of the preaching beginning in April. Our conference will supply guest speakers about once a month in order to give Pastor Chris time to adapt to a new schedule and discern the next season of ministry. Chris will continue to oversee overall discipleship efforts and Gospel Groups but will now also oversee staff and lead staff meetings. He will meet with individuals as time allows and to the best of his ability.

We are consulting with our Converge PacWest director, David Yetter, and other wise leaders concerning our pastoral leadership needs. Over the next three to four months we ask you to pray with us for discernment that we may chose the best course of action for the future. The elders will continue to seek the Lord's will through prayer and counsel.  In addition, Pastor Chris will spend time in a personal assessment about his future role at our church with the elders. We hope by the end of the summer we will know what the best course of action is for our church. We trust there will be confirmation and unity from the Lord from all involved. We are very confident and encouraged. We believe that this church is in the best place it has been in a long time and that we are well positioned to move forward with continued growth in our ministry.

In the meantime, we will continue to use the insights we gained from the NCD report last fall by identifying people's gifting and effectively building ministry structures so that people grow in their use of gifts for the edification of the body and the glory of God. We would still love for people to get involved in anyway they desire. No doubt there will only be more opportunities now in this next season to enable Dwell Christian Church to be all that God intends.


John, Frank, Brian, and Chris

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

From Pastor Jason: A Few More Details

Hey Church,

Laura and I are so grateful. Thank you for your texts, emails, messages, hugs, and tears. You have continued to love us well even in the midst of unexpected news. We are very much looking forward to many more lunches, coffees, and opportunities to share stories and thank you for your generous investment in our lives.

I wanted to give you a picture of the next few weeks. I want to make sure that we all know what to expect, at least where my remaining time with Dwell is concerned. Please let me know if you have any questions. There will also be more details communicated soon from the elders during Sunday services and otherwise about what’s happening after that … 

  • Sunday, March 23rd: Following the morning service, Laura and I and Chris and Cassie invite you to join us in the chapel at Dwell. If you have specific questions for me and Laura about our decision and future plans this will be a great time to connect with us. This will also be a good opportunity for you to connect with Chris and Cassie to hear more about what’s up next for Dwell.
  • Sunday, March 30th: This will be my last Sunday in the pulpit and the Helvestons last Sunday at Dwell before their move. Everyone is invited to join for lunch and fellowship after the morning service. 
  • Tuesday, April 8th: This is the Helveston’s tentative move date. All new contact information will be shared with the church family as soon as it becomes available. 
  • Mondays and Tuesdays: These are the best days to connect if you’d like to schedule an appointment with me in the next few weeks. But if neither day works, I’ll be more than happy to make another time work! If you’d like to connect send an email (jason@dwellsj.com) or shoot a text or call (408.332.0894). 

Peace … 
Pastor Jason


Little Dwellers Appreciation Breakfast - March 23rd, 9:30am in the chapel. We will thank our current volunteers, initiate new ones, and cast a vision for what Little Dwellers will look like in the near future. 
Sermons - they've been good recently!
Good Friday - We will be having a service on April 18th at 6:30pm here at Dwell. 
Easter will be a family-friendly worship service at our regular time (10:45am) on Sunday, April 20th. Bring a friend!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

From Pastor Jason: This Is Our Story

We all have the same big story. No matter when, no matter how, now matter why you became a follower of Christ … our story is the same. We each have been saved by the same God, by the same grace, through the work of Jesus. But as a church we also share a much smaller, more intimate story. That is we share the story of our particular community.

Whether you’ve been a part of the Dwell family for forty year or forty days we have all become a part of the same story. And that story, like your immediate family story helps us not only understand ourselves, but also God. By looking back on our story as a church we will be reminded of God’s faithfulness, God’s gracious work of protection and transformation, and we will see just how far he has taken us. 

To help us look back our wonderful office administrator Cassie Tenny has put together this great infographic. This is our shared story ...

Let’s remember our story!

Peace …
Pastor Jason


1. Last Week’s Sermon - Calling: Matthew 4:17-25
2. Good Friday - This year we will have a Good Friday service in the chapel on 4/18 at 6:30pm.
3. Easter is that Sunday, April 20th, & we will celebrate together the resurrection of our Lord!
4. Baptisms will be celebrated on Easter. Please contact Pastor Chris if you are thinking about being baptized. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lent, Fasting, and the Gospel

Today is Ash Wednesday which marks the first day of Lent for the Western Church calendar. Most people think of it as a Catholic thing but it is also practiced by Protestant churches that follow a liturgical calendar (i.e. Episcopalians and Anglicans). It is 40 days long corresponding to significant events in scripture. The flood occurred over 40 days (Gen. 6-9). Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. Moses fasted and was with God on Mt. Sinai for 40 days (Ex. 32). Jesus fasted for 40 days in wilderness in order to be tempted by Satan before his ministry began. Lent seeks to remember these themes of preparing oneself for salvation. The Lord brought another chapter of salvation after each instance of 40 testing, temptation, or wandering. Hence, the main purpose of Lent is spiritual preparation for Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. It is often viewed as a solemn time of getting in touch with our temptation to evil through abstaining from something we are frequently tempted by.

There are occurrences of God's people fasting through the Bible. Israel fasted annually on the Day of the Atonement (Lev. 16:29, 31) and after the exile to remember Esther's fast for God's intervention and favor (Esther 9:31). People fasted individually and corporately to express grief (2 Sam. 1:12) or as an act of repentance (1 Sam. 7:6; Ne. 9:1-2; Dan. 9:3-4). They fasted to seek's God's will (Ex. 34:28; 2 Chron. 20:3-4). In the New Testament we see Jesus' warn against fasting in order to appear religious (Matt. 6:16-18). His disciples did not fast while he was with them (Matt. 9:14-17; Mk. 2:19-20). But after his ascension the disciples resumed fasting. Notably when it was necessary to discern elders or missionaries (Acts 13:2-3; 14:23). Paul seems to be speaking of voluntary fasting for self-discipline in 2 Cor. 6:5 and involuntary hunger in 2 Cor. 11:27. In both cases he saw these as opportunities to learn to rely on the Lord more deeply.

One of the most significant passages on fasting is Isaiah 58. Here is a prophetic denunciation of thinking fasting will gain a favorable hearing from God when the poor and oppressed are not cared for by God's people. God doesn't approve of fasting that is merely religious and external. God does delight in fasting that is combined with care for another, done in order to sacrifice something to give to another in need. Interestingly, perhaps the most familiar form of fasting in our day is for the sake of politically motivated "hunger strikes."

Spiritual masters through Christian history have emphasized that true fasting is an act of repentance and faith in Christ. It is a spiritual discipline that can enhance putting of the old self and its ways and to put on the new self be remade in Christ's image (Col. 3:5-10). By fasting we remind ourselves that our stomach is a "stubborn child," that the flesh is still at work in us and that we must live by the Spirit. It is not the end in itself. It would be wrong to fast for the sake of Lent alone. We ought to fast in order that Christ would be magnified in us by the Spirit. Abstaining from something only serves to give the flesh an opportunity to reveal itself so that it can be properly crucified.

The biggest reason to fast is simply that in our society we are taught to indulge our flesh and feed worldly desires. We don't need suppression of our desires, we need transformation. Our Lord brought us salvation through his suffering and death. Yet we at the slightest sign of discomfort, eat something, get a drink, grab a pill, etc. We see pain as something that we ought to numb. Rather than seeing pain as an opportunity for God to work in our life and bring joy through a transformed heart. The physical pain in some cases may not go away, but spiritual fruit is produced is eternal.

What are things hindered your relationship with God? Perhaps you are feeling stagnant or stunted spiritually. Take this season as an opportunity to abstain from a guilty pleasure or an activity of distraction (TV, video games, etc) to commit to prayer and meditation on scripture that God may free you from what has enslaved your soul, that you may find freedom in Christ by his Spirit.

See this helpful link for more tips: