Tag Archives: local missions

Spotlight on Rick and Lisa Christopherson – Rocky Mountain Chaplain Corps

During our recent Missions Focus Speed-Date-a-Missionary, we had the chance to hear from Rick Christopherson who serves the first responders in our local community as a chaplain with the Sheriff’s Department, Larimer County SWAT team, and more recently the Poudre Fire Authority.

Rick and Lisa Christopherson are familiar faces here at Timberline Church. Their family moved to Fort Collins in 1997 and by 2000, Rick was on staff as a youth pastor before later transitioning to an administrative and security role. Lisa has helped in various capacities around Timberline including in Women’s Ministries and continues to serve as a vital part of the U COUNT Campaign. In 2009, Rick began working with police officers in Fort Collins as a volunteer. This path led to becoming a more official Sheriff’s Chaplain role in 2013 and the eventual tug-of-war between two dreams as ministry inside the walls of Timberline Church and his increased roles in the community through a regional SWAT team competed for his time. Rick eventually left Timberline Church and founded the Rocky Mountain Chaplain Corps in order to serve those who serve others.

Police officers see the worst things in our community and it can be hard to block out those memories. Not to mention, our law enforcement personnel are lied to every day. While on the job, they are even sometimes required to use physical tactics in order to resolve conflict. At the end of the day, they go home to families who do not understand their burden and situations where completely different conflict resolution strategies are required. As a result, family and marital relationships can suffer.

However, relationships are also a key part of their emotional healing since Chaplain Rick is there to listen. He has built a solid foundation with local law enforcement officers by attending regular trainings and riding along during their everyday operations. By being present as a part of the team for years, Rick is trusted by the first responders whenever a critical incident occurs.

Because he knows firsthand what the officers face, Chaplain Rick is able to listen during debriefs, offer advice, and even compassionately help with other pastoral duties including death notifications or comforting family members at the scene. In addition to serving three different agencies, Rick also does security consultations for non-profit organizations and helps educate law enforcement regarding human trafficking issues and resources.

Here’s a glimpse behind the scenes with excerpts from Rick’s blog about an incident that occurred last year:

“I was getting ready for bed on that night when, before I swung my feet under the covers, the pager beeps the priority alert with the message to respond immediately for a hostage situation. This causes an automatic adrenaline shot. I was once tired but now I am good to go. This particular call out is only 2½ miles from my house. I grab the last thing I wore and rush to the scene.

I have a simple job as a SWAT chaplain. Just be available. I watch and listen intently to monitor and care for a group of individuals that are from all different backgrounds and places in life. Some are married, some have kids. Some are democrats and others republican. Men and women in their 40’s and others in mid-thirties and twenties. Different religious beliefs or no beliefs at all. Some with a really good sense of humor and some who are more serious. A few of these people have Southern accents while others from out East. All of them are stubborn and opinionated and have no issues convincing each other they are right to prove a point. Tall, short, fit or round (but still fit), all of them… Operator, Scout, Negotiator, Medic, Patrol, Investigator, Commander and Team Leader, show up with one priority only……. Save the life of the hostage. Individuals setting all individual issues aside and operating as 1 team. Well trained and practiced, these men and women work like a machine to produce a lifesaving unit. This team stands ready to run into danger to do one thing…. Save the hostagePriority of life is hostage over themselves.

Back to the story… SWAT operators show up on scene and relieve the fearless patrol deputies in the mobile home.  I’m ferrying tools and equipment up to them and listening intently over the radio. It was clear… this call out wasn’t typical of most call outs. This call went from bad to worse.  My heart races as I hear over the radio the negotiators saying, “He’s trying to blow up the trailer.” Both commander and team leader of like-minded priority decide they can’t wait. Waiting could kill the hostage. The team plows through a barricade of debris and furniture and within seconds they are face to face with a suspect hell bent on destruction and taking lives.

“Shots Fired!” rings out over the radio a few seconds after I heard the actual shots fired. I’m only 50 yards away listening to this on the radio and my emotions, while in check, are still ranging from fear of loss of life of this hostage and the fear that my friends will be killed in a massive explosion. I leave the command van and run towards the mobile home so I can see my friends and make sure they are ok. I arrive in time to see the hostage being placed in the ambulance and it hit me like a ton of bricks…   The extreme pride that I’m associated with these operators. Men with families and friends who are willing to sacrifice their very lives for a stranger in need.

“The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion….” Proverbs 28:1 and “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:3

Biblical words played out in the reality of our times. The media and some in our society would lump cops into the stereotype defined by a few bad actors, when in reality the guardians of our communities would prioritize these very same people and all people in our communities as: hostage – innocent – then themselves. Without this priority our communities would be plunged into chaos.

I am proud of my team. I am in awe of all law enforcement who set an example and are willing to give it all for the sake of their community and team.”

You can find out more about Rick’s ministry at www.RockyMountainChaplain.org.

Spotlight on Missionary Reza Zadeh – In The Game

For those who attended the Speed Date A Missionary nights during our 2017 Missions Focus, you met Reza Zadeh and heard his amazing testimony of how God used a group of missionary families attending a conference in Fort Collins to reach the heart of an Iranian-American college football player. Reza’s journey eventually led him into pastoral ministry and full circle back to work with athletes. Our Storytellers team took the opportunity to shine a spotlight on this local ministry.

There is little doubt that sports culture dominates our attention. We can possibly try to divert our attention away, but it’s not long before someone is bringing up the buzzer beater half-court shot that won the game, or the fifty-two-yard field goal that took the game into overtime. Even the Apostle Paul referenced sports in some of his writing. (1 Cor. 9:24-27) Certainly then, this mission of Athletes in Action, is a notable place to start dialoging about opening doors to athletes and faith in Jesus Christ our Savior.

Reza Zadeh, on staff full-time with Athletes in Action, serves athletes at Colorado State University, University of Northern Colorado, and Denver University. Zadeh conducts a CSU Bible study of 30-40 athletes and 16 athletes that are a part of Discipleship Groups. Here he says, “the athletes learn what it means to intimately follow Jesus, worship Him through their sport and learn the skill of reaching and discipling their teammates and others in the athletic department.” He also serves as a guest chaplain for visiting NFL football teams.

It seems that the potential to reach people through athletics is huge. Just look at Tim Tebow for an idea of how far an athlete’s platform can reach. However, many have a hard time meshing the components of athletics and Christianity. After all, Christianity is our everyday walk in grace and humility while sports is something of an all-out, superiority struggle. But Zadeh says, “Our hope for our college campus ministry is Every athlete, on Every team in Every athletic department. We want every team in the world to have at least one Christ Follower on it dedicated to fulfilling the Great Commission by reaching their teammates and discipling them.”

I asked Reza if he saw a specific trend in athletics today that opens the door for Athletes in Action. His response was: “There is so much pressure on athletes to perform. This pressure comes from parent’s, coaches, media, fans, alumni and keeping their scholarship. I have coached my kid’s sports teams and I see this pressure starting at a very young age. Parents are continually wanting to push their kids in hopes that their son/daughter will become the next star athlete or earn that athletic scholarship. The most damaging thing an athlete can do is put their identity and or self-worth in their sport.”

Zadeh goes on to say that, “Although sports are a wonderful thing . . . sports will let you down. Coaches, media, fans, parent’s alumni will let you down one day and your sport cannot love you the way you want it to love you.”

Athletes in Action is a mission that serves to strengthen the bond between Jesus and the athlete whether winning or not.  The schism between Christianity and sport does not have to be polarizing or inconvenient or negative. Zadeh tells us that Athletes in Action “. . . teach athletes that their identity is not in their sport, but their identity is in the One who created them and created sport in the first place. It is Jesus that gives us ultimate worth and until athletes can see that sports are a platform where they can worship Jesus rather than sports being a platform for them to be worshiped or them to worship sports-they will continually be frustrated.”

There can be a like-mindedness between Christianity and athletics. I asked Zadeh what it would look like if Jesus’ message of hope was brought to athletes today? He said this, “The message of the Gospel reminds us that our motivation in life is much bigger than wins/losses. If athletes can find a way to be motivated by the love that God has for them and allow that to drive them, then their motivation will never run out.”

Currently Athletes in Action is serving athletes at CSU, UNC, and DU. They are looking to expand to other athletic departments along the front range. (Metro State, CU, Wyoming). On a personal note, Reza Zadeh says, “We know that our athletes have the potential to reach the world. When I grab one of my college athletes or one of the NFL players that I disciple and take them to a school or a kid’s camp, every ear is attentive because they have a platform. We want to help remove the spiritual scales off the eyes of the athletes so they can see their lives and platform through the lens of the Kingdom and be a part of building the Kingdom.”

Thank you Reza for sharing your story and for your tireless effort in reaching athletes for Jesus. If you would like to know more about Athletes in Action and how you can pray for this local ministry, please contact the Missions department for information. Remember, when you give to missions through Timberline Church, you are helping to  support missionaries like Reza.

40 Ways to Do Missions From Home

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Here at Timberline Church, one of our objectives is to express the message of Jesus in word and deed to the world around us. Summed up with the peak Love Reaches, we know that the world is at the tip of our fingers and starts rights outside our front door. So here are 4o ways we can all “do missions” from the comfort of our own homes. How many more can you come up with?

  1. Run a lemonade stand … for free!
  2. Write a thank you note to someone … on paper.
  3. Find 5 people to whom you can give a compliment today.
  4. Once a month ask someone to coffee.
  5. Invite a neighbor to dinner once a season.
  6. Give people your full attention today—not even phone distractions.
  7. Smile at people.
  8. Hold the door for someone.
  9. Buy lunch (or coffee) for the person behind you in line.
  10. Donate to the local food bank or the SERVE 6.8 Resource Center.
  11. Buy a coffee or snack at Timberline Café—all tips go to missions.
  12. Look up SERVE 6.8 and find a time this month you can volunteer.
  13. Bring cookies to a neighbor.
  14. Like to drive or organize things? Short-term missions trips need you.
  15. Walk your neighborhood, pray over every house you pass.
  16. Run a 5K for charity … like Run for Orphans in September.
  17. Invite your child’s best friend for dinner … & listen to his/her stories.
  18. Like film, photo or writing? Join Storytellers team at Timberline
  19. Send a care package to a college student.
  20. Subscribe opendoorsusa.org to receive prayer requests throughout the world.
  21. Pray for Timberline missionaries 1st Thursday of the month @ 12:30pm.
  22. Pray for persecuted Christians: persecution.com
  23. Host a visiting missionary in your home: email lovereaches@timberline.org
  24. Leave out a bowl of candy for others on your desk.
  25. Be sportsmanlike when at or in sporting events.
  26. Talk to someone who looks nervous or out of place in the group.
  27. If you serve and see few results, keep serving. It’s working.
  28. Don’t be afraid to show your weaknesses. This builds bridges.
  29. Clap and cheer out loud for others.
  30. Ask people to talk about their favorite subject: themselves.
  31. Admit your faith and beliefs.
  32. Ask if someone would like you to pray. If we don’t pray, who will?
  33. Ask God to show you one person who needs you today, then listen all day.
  34. Say “Please” and “Thank you” … with a genuine smile.
  35. Be on time, this shows your respect.
  36. Ask for help, this builds friendships.
  37. Ask God to help you forgive someone completely today.
  38. Be a person of your word. Think before you accept. If you say yes, mean it.
  39. Welcome a new neighbor, schoolmate, church attender or co-worker.
  40. Really join a small group at Timberline, make solid friends.

The Treasure Principle

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“All your life you’ve been on a treasure hunt.” ~ Randy Alcorn in The Treasure Principle

Jesus once told a story that compared the kingdom of heaven to a buried treasure that a man discovered and then joyfully sold all he had in order to get. (Matthew 13:44) Jesus also taught that storing treasures on earth is stupid (because we’ll lose them) and storing treasure in heaven is smart (because they will last). (Matthew 6:20)

From these passages, and other teachings that show how God sees our faith and finances as inseparable, author Randy Alcorn distilled what he calls The Treasure Principle — “You can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead.” Here are the six keys:

1) God owns everything. I am His money manager. — A steward manages assets for the owner’s benefit, will give an accounting to the owner, gets joy from seeing how the money is spent, and earns eternal rewards for faithful service.

2) My heart always goes where I put God’s money. — Each day brings me closer to losing my treasures … or gaining them.

3) Heaven, not Earth, is my home. — My real home is a place I’ve never been but that is made for me.

treasure-principle

4) I should live not for the dot (life on Earth), but for the line (life in heaven). — Pilgrims travel light rather than become enslaved by their possessions.

5) Giving is the only antidote to materialism. — A logical place to start (like training wheels) is with the tithe, but know that God, the greatest giver in the universe, won’t let you out-give Him.

6) God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but to raise my standard of giving. — “God distributes wealth unevenly not because he loves some of His children more than others, but so His children can distribute it to their brothers and sisters on His behalf.”

So, what does this power-packed little book have to do with missions at Timberline Church? Since the focus of Love Reaches is to express the message of Jesus in word and deed, there are plenty of opportunities to invest your time, treasure, and talent locally and globally with eternal rewards.

For example, Love Reaches is looking for construction managers, medical personnel, writers, photographers, video editors, website designers, graphic designers, baristas, grant writers, event planners, administrative support, Birthday card writers, accountants, lawyers, cooks, and whatever skill you are willing to use. One place to start is the Serving Opportunities page at www.LoveReaches.org. If you can’t find the right fit there, contact us at at timberlinechurch.missions@gmail.com and we’ll find a place for you to serve.

If you’re looking to invest financially, did you know that you can now donate online toward the missions’ budget? How? Go to www.TimberlineChurch.org and click on “Give” in the upper right corner. On the new page, click “give now,” select Timberline Fort Collins, and continue to the form to enter your account information. Across the top, input the dollar amount you want to give and then select missions from the drop down box. That’s it!

Where’s your treasure being invested?

Sharing Hope

On Saturday, August 25, Convoy of Hope came to Fort Collins to serve the city by meeting the immediate, tangible needs of the people. Sharing Hope was a day that brought together over thirty local churches to serve by providing food, health services, and general assistance to those in need.

Volunteers and church members from churches in the Fort Collins Church Network came together to assist and serve a community. Sharing Hope provided health services, food needs, housing and job assistance, free haircuts, family portraits, and meals and childcare during the day.

Convoy of Hope

There were 1,296 volunteers serving at Sharing Hope. They came from 34 local churches. During the day, Sharing Hope served 3,581 guests.

The health services were provided by 40 participating organizations. The National Breast Cancer Foundation provided coupons to women for free mammograms at McKee Medical Center. McKee Medical Center made a commitment to stay with any patient who required medical needs following the mammogram.

In addition, free haircuts and family portraits were provided. Professional photographers provided 500 families with an 8×10 family portrait.

Prayer in the Connection Tent

Beyond meeting the physical needs of guests, Sharing Hope met the relational needs of the community. The Connection tent provided guests with the opportunity to pray with someone. This tent allowed volunteers to sit, talk, listen and pray with any guest who wanted prayer. The volunteers also connected guests to churches if they were interested in attending. The day ended with 19 adult dedications for Christ, 4 child dedications, and at least 1,700 people received prayer!

Hands held in prayer

At the end of the day, after visiting the Connection tent, guests were given a bag of essential groceries.

Providing food for the community

The day of Sharing Hope was about more than providing food or cutting hair. It was about “Neighbor Helping Neighbor” and meeting the deeper needs of the community.

One Day to Feed The World

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One Day to Feed the World

In our world 1.02 billion people are hungry.  That’s one in seven that do not get enough to eat and of these, half are children.  For the poorest among us, food has become unaffordable.  Although most of the world’s hungry live in developing nations, hunger is a huge problem in this country also.  With our continuing recession, more all the time are struggling with this.  Consider these statistics:

  • Every 3.6 seconds a person dies from hunger-related causes
  • 16 million children die of hunger each year
  • Every 6 seconds a child dies from lack of pure drinking water
  • Hunger kills more people annually than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined
  • In the United States, 17.2 million children do not get enough healthy food to eat

 But there is good news:  in just one day, you can make a difference.

 What is One Day to Feed the World?

This is our opportunity to give one day of your annual wages to help the international organization Convoy of Hope feed hungry people.  Because of Convoy of Hope’s generous corporate partners, every dollar given becomes $7 worth of food, water and supplies. These products are then placed into the hands of impoverished people throughout the world who are in desperate need.  Taking part in One Day to Feed the World will:

  • Help save the lives of poor and disadvantaged people throughout the world
  • Feed hungry children and their families
  • Provide comfort to disaster victims

 Please consider supporting One Day to Feed the World during weekend services at Timberline on June 23rd and 24th when a special offering will be taken to support this mission.  100 percent of monies collected will remain in our community to help alleviate hunger in Northern Colorado.

 It takes is one day’s worth of wages to make that kind of difference.  One day just like any other. 

One day of compassion.  One day of sharing.  One Day to Feed the World!

Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble.  Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.   Isaiah 58:10

 For more information see One Day to Feed the World.

Submitted by: Ron Hedrick, Local Missions:  rhedrick777@gmail.com