From Prison to Purpose

Christ died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ … This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (2 Corinthians 5:15, 17)


The Gathering’s annual Easter sunrise service at the Community Cinema outdoor amphitheater draws folks from a wide array of backgrounds. It is an ideal venue to proclaim the greatness of Christ in a non-threatening environment. The main message of the service: “God is NOT asking you to turn over a new leaf.  He is inviting you to receive a new life.” 

Photo credit: Licarione Photography

Photo credit: Licarione Photography

Worship was led by the Pure Goodness Band and the Good News Choir -- both comprised of neighbors from CF! The celebration reinforces the vision of The Gathering:  to empower the greater body into a lifestyle of following Christ alongside the homeless. 

Photo credit: Licarione Photography

Photo credit: Licarione Photography

One of the highlights of the Easter sunrise was the testimony and baptism of Johnny.  His life before trusting Christ was marked by being raised in a home void of the presence of a father.  Johnny made good choices growing up and attended church regularly.  As he got older, he drifted from his Christian roots.  He got married and landed a job as a police officer.  Johnny started experimenting with drugs and in his words, “I misused my authority as a police officer and got caught up in being a ‘bad cop.’”  This led to divorce, prison time and the sobering realization that his greatest hope for forgiveness and restoration was reconnecting with a simple faith in Jesus. The loud response from his neighbors, friends and supporters at CF! was an tangible affirmation that God is NOT asking you to turn over a new leaf. He is inviting you to receive a new life.  

 

Photo credit: Licarione Photography

Photo credit: Licarione Photography

“I love the people of The Gathering and appreciate everyone’s support and encouragement to create a Christ-centered mission at CF!,” Johnny shared.  “You are making a difference and are a part of my new life story.” 

Thank you for fueling our mission to help imperfect people (like Johnny) find and follow Christ.


PRAY 

Please pray …

  • that God would keep us focused on the simple power of the Gospel of Christ to change lives

  • for more volunteers to sign up and serve The Gathering… our mission is ideal for both small and large groups that desire to be a blessing to folks in need … sign up to serve by clicking on our volunteer calendar HERE.

  • God would multiply our small groups that meet throughout the week at CF! We trust the Lord to raise up more leaders who are committed to making progress in their faith journey

 

INVEST

The Gathering is a mission that is 100% donor-funded through generous, tax-deductible contributions. We anticipate a decrease in giving through the summer months and appreciate your special gifts and investments by clicking HERE.

 

The Gathering
PO Box 6211, Austin, TX 78762
(512) 587-5640

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Passover & Easter Celebrations

The Gathering recently hosted a Passover Seder at Community First! Here are a few takeaways:

  • the word Seder means “order” … the Seder is a powerful, interactive way to learn to walk through, in orderly fashion, a vital piece of Israel’s history from slavery to liberation

  • the Passover Seder meal tangibly connects the Passover meal of Jesus (Luke 22:7-20) to Israel’s history and recasts the meal as a vehicle describing the greatness of Jesus

  • very few people can clearly explain the mysteries of Jesus concealed in the Old Testament (revealed in the New Testament) like a Christ follower from a Jewish background

  • the prevailing thought among Jewish people is that Jesus is the “Christian god” … many folks from Jewish backgrounds do not understand or embrace that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah who came in fulfillment of the ancient Jewish prophecies

  • being Jewish and believing in Jesus is possible

We are grateful for Murray & Alana Tilles and Light of Messiah Ministries for coordinating and leading an excellent Passover Seder … we highly recommend their ministry!  They are taking the message of Jesus back to the Jewish people and teaching Christ followers the heritage and foundation of the faith.

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We are thankful for the Seder volunteers who invested their time to coordinate the numerous details and for the support and funding to host events like this one.  God continues giving us opportunities to reach a wide array of folks from inside and outside Community First! … and also from inside and outside the faith community.  We rely on volunteers and consider them the lifeline to everything we do to help imperfect people find and follow Jesus.


Easter Sunrise Service

The dream of The Gathering at Community First! is to empower the greater body into a lifestyle of following Christ with the homeless.  We need faithful volunteers to make that happen.  We are pumped to celebrate the greatness of God’s love and power at our annual Easter Sunrise service.  We need YOU to serve w/ us to maximize the party that will be Sunday, April 21 @ 7:07am. Here is a link to sign up & join in the celebration!

https://mlf.org/the-gathering-volunteer-calendar/

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Please pray:

  • that the message of Christ would be clearly proclaimed in all we think, say and do as we minister and serve 

  • that God would raise up faithful, available, teachable and responsive disciples who make disciples

  • for God to provide the volunteer support we rely on from week to week

 

The Gathering is a mission that is 100% donor-funded through generous, tax deductible contributions.  To invest, click HERE.

 

Thank you for caring, praying and investing!

The Past, Present and The Near Future

The Past …

The Gathering helps imperfect people find and follow Christ. Most of the ministry takes place at Community First! Village. Once a year we host two retreats outside of Austin -- the Walk to Siloam for men and the Walk to Samaria for women. These awesome getaways allow our friends the opportunity to hit the “pause” button while unpacking their stories and considering the radically real claims of Jesus, our Healer and Rescuer. The responses from the weekends were overwhelmingly positive: 

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 “I never understood God’s love for me until this weekend.”  (John)

“Hearing the powerful stories of Jesus giving people a new life never gets old.” (Helen)

“This retreat has given me a glimpse into what heaven will look like one day.” (Sheila)

“The brutal authenticity + the power of the Gospel removes all barriers.”  (Ed)


The Present … 

The Freeman’s are seeking to raise an additional $35,000 to purchase a park model tiny home at Community First! that will facilitate:

  • a place of permanence for The Gathering to help imperfect people find and follow Christ 

  • a venue to host supporters and disciple ministry leaders

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The park model home will serve as “The Gathering Getaway” and will foster Christ-centered spiritual renewal and refocus. The Gathering is a mission that is 100% donor-funded through generous, tax-deductible contributions. You may invest HERE.


The Near Future …

We are excited to host two nights of worship and learning that will spotlight the Judeo Christian story of forgiveness, peace and hope in Christ.  Join The Gathering at Community First! for a powerful Passover celebration:

  • Saturday, April 6 at 5:05pm:  Intro to Passover and the Jewish roots of the Christian faith

  • Sunday, April 7 at 5:05pm:  Passover Seder meal to see, hear and experience the story of Jesus  

More details are on our Facebook page HERE 


 Please pray …

  • that God would raise up more volunteers as we empower the greater body of Christ to serve alongside the homeless … volunteer and serve by clicking HERE.

  • that God would provide the funds needed to bring Christ to the disabled, chronically homeless at Community First! and beyond … you can invest HERE

  • that the Gospel of Christ and the power of His grace and truth would transform lives.