Rainbows and Recaps

the rainbow

– dawn neldon

Saturday Morning I woke up and the very first thing I did was pull out my phone to check my weather app. I had been anxious all week – monitoring the weather like a teenage girl monitors her “likes” on instagram. I was obsessed. We had been planning and praying for our Taste of Community event for weeks. We were excited and exhausted and exhilarated and determined that rain would NOT spoil the goodness!

My heart sank when what had been looking like a clear-ish forecast now predicted rain. ALL DAY. The eternal optimist in me was unshook. “It’s gonna be fine” I said. “God’s got this I said”. But as one event after another got rained out Saturday morning my optimism was waning.

In fact, my optimism soon turned to pleading and I found myself convincing God of the merits of my argument while anxiously/angrily throwing laundry into the washing machine (as one does….) “God – I really need you to come through on this. It can’t rain God. God, I’ve pictured tonight in my head and that picture absolutely did NOT include rain. Do you understand? It can’t rain!”

Suddenly, from my laundry room window I saw a glimmer of sunshine and I felt God nudge “I’ve got this.” My heart lightened but frankly, that wasn’t enough.  “God, I can’t take it. I need to know you’re gonna come through or I’m gonna be an anxious mess all day. I need you to show me a rainbow. God, I NEED a rainbow okay?”

Having just seen the sun break through, this didn’t seem like an unreasonable request. So I dropped my laundry, frantically pulled on my boots and ran outside (kinda like a crazy person), searching for the rainbow that I was certain I would find waiting for me. There was no rainbow. In fact, the one patch of blue sky was quickly getting swallowed by incoming clouds.

That’s okay I told myself, I have all day. “God – you hear me? You’ve got time! I just need to see a rainbow today – I need to know you see us.”  And, in all honesty I was certain that He did see us. And so I spent all day hunting for rainbows. Everytime a patch of sunlight would break through I would run to the window and crane my neck. Several times I scurried into my muddy front yard in the rain (much to the confusion of my neighbors I’m sure)…but no luck.

Finally, I had to give up rainbow hunting to get ready for the event – all the while checking my weather app like it was my job. Truth be told, things weren’t looking good and I was preparing for the worst. And that’s when it happened. Just as I had finished getting ready, my 5 year old, Rubi came into my room.

“Mom, I drew you a picture!”

“Oh ya? What is it?” (because *pro-tip* you always ask a child what they drew. Guessing is for rookies.)

“It’s a monkey dancing under a rainbow.”

And I smiled. God showed up.

As I headed down to Old Poway Park to set up for the event I was just laughing to myself. It’s just like God to show up in a totally unexpected way. And this unexpected nature of God means that we often miss what He’s doing. If I hadn’t spent the day hunting for rainbows I would have missed the fact that God had my daughter hand deliver His message of promise. I would’ve missed the wink from God that said, “You are seen and I’ve got this!”

Honestly, I think this happens all too often. God offers us hand-delivered messages and we overlook them because we are busy watching for our narrowly defined “something else”.  We can do better! Let’s be a people on the lookout for God’s Uncommon activity in our midst. This week let’s hunt for rainbows – watching for God to show up in our lives. Convinced that He will – perhaps in surprising, unexpected ways.

the recap

Saturday night was simply amazing!

Even with the threat of rain looming all around and knocking out everyone’s little league plans, the evening turned absolutely beautiful on us!

About 200 people came out to Old Poway Park in all of it’s night time glory, and a good time was had by all under hundreds of glowing cafe lights.

Music made the whole scene great with sounds from Cody & Zogby, aka “Doc Zog & the Codfish” and our new friend Kyle Reynolds. These guys all worked to have a chill and welcoming vibe for everyone to mingle and connect… so good! Listen to more of Kyle’s music at kylereynoldsmusic.com. God is doing great things with this guy and we were so stoked to have him join us!

I don’t know how many potatoes and pounds of chili we went through, but the crowd enjoyed a lot of great food and well paired beverages on the balcony! I absolutely loved seeing so many friends reconnecting, hanging, enjoying community and not being in a hurry while kids ran around in total joy everywhere. We all need more times like this!

King’s Craft — thank you for the great coffee… we drank it all!

Jan — “You’re welcome” for winning that hairy-belly-fanny-pack… it was almost as good as getting a new Uncommon [good] hoodie, huh?

All in all —  If you felt joy, connection, and a strong sense of belonging, then you got a great taste of Uncommon [community]. That right there is a gift from God that not everyone feels. And we pray to have more people be a part of this community and love that we are all made for.

Thanks to all who came out on a cold and almost wet  San Diego night to enjoy the big family that God put together!

May U[g] continue be a catalyst of love, community, and faith for all.

Check out the rest of our photos on Facebook…

Pics of the noche

You are loved and valued.
Thank you and God Bless!


Weekly Update 3-2-2018

groceries & [living water]

– brad lichtman

I was at Costco the other day and noticed the name tag on the young woman setting up to bag my groceries. It said “Photini.” I engaged her and asked if I was pronouncing her name correctly, to which she replied, “yes.” I then remarked that I could not recall coming across that name before. She informed me that it was the name of a saint. I had to ask, “do you mind telling me the saint of what?” She said it was the name of a Samaritan. I paused a quick second and then asked, “the woman at the well?” She seemed surprised and said, “yes.” Curious, I admitted I didn’t know that and asked if the name was in scripture, to which she said she was Orthodox and it was in her tradition. I thanked her for sharing that and for doing such a great job bagging my groceries. As I left, we were all smiles.

Driving away I thought of several things that intersected in that moment. First was how faithful God is to granting my almost daily request to put someone in my path whom I could bless, even if only in a small way. Second, of the hundreds of people with whom this contemporary Photini must interact each working day, very few probably treat her as a real person, someone of tremendous value. She has a menial job in a very large organization. She is supposed to be largely invisible in that order of things. And, third, that her name is most fitting.

In John 4, Jesus comes across a woman from Samaria, an outcast of that day, as she was drawing water from a well. He decided to engage her, asking for a drink, which was a real surprise as she knew that he was far above her station. Learned men like Jesus did not speak with lowly women such as her. Fast forward through the dialogue and Jesus says, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

The living water in Jesus’ telling is a love that is infinitely refreshing. While we can only offer smaller samples of that, those samples are life-affirming and a reflection of our design. How often do we engage strangers with the perfunctory “How are you?” without really meaning it? How often are people around us largely invisible as we go about our business? What if we regularly paused during the day at the checkout counter or in the restaurant just to smile, give good eye contact, and say more than a mere, “thank you?” What if each of us seeks to open our eyes to see people as God sees them? No one should be invisible. We are surrounded by Samaritans and we put them there each day. Jesus offers us a way to refresh with living water. Thank you, Photini, for that reminder.


community is happening!

We are all set to party tomorrow [Saturday]! It’s gonna be a great night and for those of you coming, we are so excited to see you! Check out the details below [we say deets cause we like to abbrev.] and get ready for this uncommon party…


the “deets” for saturday

As of now, it looks like we might see some light rain and a little bit of cold (well, San Diego cold). So dress accordingly! We have Templars Hall and the Gazebo to escape any potential rain, but if you want to hang out outside bring some blankets and chairs, too!

You can park anywhere at Old Poway Park EXCEPT The Old Hamburger Factory. Let’s be good neighbors and keep those spots open for their customers. There’s plenty of other parking. 🙂

Food & Beverage
We will have plenty of food and beverage for all with full potato bar and hors d’oeuvres. And we’ll even have some fun kid food available. We got the hook up with some Lost Abbey kegs, King’s Craft Coffee, and hot chocolate for the kids. But feel free to bring your own beverages!

There will be plenty of fun for all, including music, lawn games, and kid-tivities. But again, feel free to bring your own fun-ness.

See you tomorrow! And if you’re like, “huh, what party?”, just click on the red button below and show up tomorrow to Old Poway Park!!

A Taste of Uncommon [community]
Saturday, March 3rd, 5PM, Old Poway Park


You are loved and valued.
God Bless our uncommon [community]



Weekly Update 2-16-2018

We see great pain today…

and here is life.

At the same moment we celebrate love, evil is right there with us. And when we encounter evil, it shatters our sense of security and comfort in an instant.

We are shaken, afraid, angry, and we lift our eyes to God for answers and help.

We had some other words to share today, but we dropped them because our hearts and prayers go out to all of those families, students, and faculty in Florida. So we offer this prayer…

Dear God…
May your presence draw near and comfort those that are crushed, hurt, afraid, and angry.

May you surround those families with loving arms — with a community that can grieve alongside them and cry out for a brighter future.

May your Spirit guide humanity towards wisdom that brings about a better world — one of safety, liberty, and mental health — one of protection, freedom and hope for the next generation. Give us your eyes for justice, love, and life, Lord.

May your will be done on earth as it is heaven.


An Invitation To Hope

As you pray this week and hold on even tighter to those you love,
we invite you to a night of hope and love — celebrating life and community.

This will be a night of music, inspiring words, food, and drink for the whole family. We want to share a taste of this community that God is bringing together!

And we’re calling it…

A Taste of Uncommon [Community]
Saturday, March 3rd, 5PM
Old Poway Park



We raised over $500 last week to make this event happen. Thanks to everyone who contributed. We are so grateful to have you with us on the adventure of uncommon [good]. See you March 3rd!

You are loved and valued.
God Bless our uncommon [community]

Weekly Update 2-8-2018

Jesus and Peppermint Joe Joe’s

– dawn neldon

We went camping over New years with several families and one night around the fire I brought out peppermint Joe-Joe’s (I know).  Mind you, I haven’t had a peppermint Joe-Joe in several years because, you know – gluten. So I was particularly excited about this experience because THIS year – Trader Joe’s introduced GLUTEN FREE peppermint Joe-Joe’s (so basically we’ve reached the pinnacle of human existence). I brought out my two boxes of Joe-Joe’s, one full gluten and one gluten free and proceeded to be the only person to enjoy the gluten-free version. Everyone made fun of me. I was undaunted – they tasted amazing! But then…then “they” [meaning everyone but me] decided it would be fun to do a taste comparison and things went downhill.

To the shock of no one, my gluten-free Joe-Joe’s paled in comparison to the real thing. My husband Drew basically spit it out. Moments before this experiment I had been happily pretending that my gluten-free experience was just like the real thing when suddenly it became clear that I was not having the same experience as everyone else. I was missing out. *sad face*

So we’ve been talking this week about what sparks us (in more profound ways than peppermint Joe-Joe’s). What gets that God-excited, heart-bursting, lift-in-our-chest when we think about this journey towards Uncommon [good]? For me, this question is always linked to what breaks my heart. I’m weird, I know.

But when I think about the things I get most excited about it always has to do with filling a need or fixing a problem that breaks my heart. Here’s what breaks my heart: Jesus came to offer this beautiful, full, abundant life (John 10:10). This is clear because he talks about this life and models how it’s lived throughout the scriptures. It’s full and vibrant and abundant.   And yet we read these scriptures, we know these stories and still choose to settle for scarcity and gray-scale living. It’s as if there is something real and full within our grasp but we just keep eating our gluten-free Joe-Joe’s pretending they taste just like the real thing.

I think this stems from a fundamental lack of understanding about the God that Jesus knows. I think we often picture God as a cosmic teetotaller carefully weighing out our every action and judging it as good or bad. This god is not creative or funny or vibrant. There’s nothing abundant about him. We’ve basically imagined God as the heavenly version of an IRS auditor who is watching to make sure we tow the line. And “the line” in our minds is no fun. It’s straight and narrow-ed and buttoned up. It’s sanitized and wholesome. It’s white bread. It’s gluten-free white bread.

And here’s the thing: If Jesus reveals God, not only through his teaching, but also his action – this seems wildly out of line with the God that He knew.

Consider this:

Jesus challenged the straight and narrow, buttoned up version of life that religion had been demanding of people. Instead, his actions flew in the face of this understanding of God and religion. He ate with and partied with and befriended all the wrong people. In doing so, Jesus reveals a God that is wildly in love with people. All people. Messy people. You and me people.

Jesus colored outside the lines of the religious assumptions. He pushed the boundaries and challenged the box-checking way of religion. Revealing to us that God is more interested in our love than our perfection. And showing us that life is about recklessly running after a God who freely offers GOOD things to us. Not solemnly, carefully navigating a balance beam of perfection trying to earn His love.

Jesus healed and fed, he made wine out of water and communities out of outcasts. He challenged our assumptions of scarcity and revealed the abundance of God.

John tells us that “In Him [Jesus] was life and that life was a light for all people.” (John 1:4-5)

To put it simply Jesus illuminated a life fully lived. Born out of his deep understanding of who God is; His life-light points the way towards a life that is abundant, wild, messy and full of grace. This is what I am passionate about. This is what I long for people to experience: the mess and beauty of a life truly lived.



A Taste of Community

Before we do buildings, programs, coffee, small groups, and everything else that will come, we are going to create moments that give us glimpses of our Uncommon future… and the ‘first look’ won’t look like a ‘church’ service.

Yes, we want to give you a taste of Uncommon [good] – and it looks like a party.

Jesus met with people in real life places. He modeled a life in which he most frequently met with people over food and drink. He reclined with them — shared meals with them — his first miracle even worked to keep a party going and kick it up a notch!

People who were nothing like Jesus liked Jesus, and they wanted to be with him.

He met with the saints and sinners all together (you choose your own label there), and He created a lot of parties along the way — so we’re going to do the same.

Saturday evening, March 3rd, we are going to have a party that will be our first gathering of those that God is gathering for Uncommon [good]! We will break bread together (as well as other foods), and we will experience the joy and energy of the community that God is lining up! The whole family is welcome, as well as any friends that you can invite that may be interested in a new thing that God is up to! So…

Saturday evening, March 3rd
A Taste of Uncommon [community]
More details coming soon…


Help Us Make It Awesome

We need you to help us BE the community that makes a party FOR the community.

So your invitation this week is to help make this event happen!

We want to offer this as a free event for all who want to come. If all the Uncommon [peeps] that are receiving this email pitched in just $20, that would cover the costs of making this party AWESOME! Click the button below to give towards this Uncommon [event]!




Note: This button will take you to our general giving page. Any new gifts given this week will go towards this event.

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

By the way! We had such an amazing Facebook launch this past weekend. Thank you so much for participating. Watch this video for a proper thank you!


You are loved and valued.
God Bless our uncommon [community]