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Archive for July, 2006

30 is great!

July 31, 2006 5 comments

I have been 30 years old for a week now and it is not as exciting as I was told it would be. I thought that instantly wisdom would somehow seep into my brain when I made it to this age. I was most confident that by 30 I would be famous, well reknown in my field, and writing books about why my life has been so successful so that others could be like me. Those things have not happened yet. I have however recieved a notice from my health insurance company to congratulate me on becoming 30 and to let me know that my insurance rate would increase significantly because I was “maturing”. That made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

I must admit that God has been more than good to me in this life. I can remember being 10 or 12 years old and planning out my life. By age 30 I planned on being married, having 2-3 children, having a Ph. D in something, being able to provide for my family financially so that my wife could be a stay at home mom, and being active in the church. Well minus 1-2 children and the Ph. D, God has more than blessed me with what I thought I would have at this time. The funny part about all of this is that God gave me what I needed when I needed it. I am still learning that lesson more and more everyday. I am very impatient and like having things my way on my terms. God has been “blessing” me with experiences to help me get over my control issues. I will not say that it has always been fun or desirable but I have truly been blessed. I feel for the first time in my life I am finally starting to let go of some of my “baggage” and letting God use me. This is a freeing, but scary process yet God is faithful.

So what do the next 30 years hold for my family and me? I will not even begin to speculate, but I do know that God has already seen ahead, blessed it, and is patiently waiting for me to follow where He leads. I pray for the wisdom and courage to listen to God’s call and go WHEREVER He may lead. I must say that this journey has been an interesting one so far. I wonder what is going to happen next…….

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Categories: faith, Family

Tired

July 29, 2006 2 comments

Today I realized that the last nine weeks of my life have been a total blur. I have been so busy with my youth group this summer. I just returned from Six Flags in St. Louis. It was fun, but was physically and mentally exhausting. It was my last major trip for the summer. I feel like some good was done at Holmes Road this summer, but I have been paying for it with a lack of sleep, random moments of irritability, stress, and frustration. Things are beginning to slow down due to school being back in session in about two weeks. I am painfully aware that life will continue to be hectic due to us moving in only 26 days. I prefer to express time in days rather than weeks because it makes it feel like I have longer to wrap up things here. I am still in denial about moving, but August 24th will be here before I know it!

We are currently in the process of practicing our faith in God. We are attempting to buy our first house from 1000 miles away. I do not suggest this to anyone! I am very independent and a control freak (Many of you were not surprised to see that). It has been very difficult having to trust other people with a major life decision like purchasing a house without me being able to see exactly what I am getting into. Now I probably would not even trust my mother to pick out a tie for me at this point in my life, so househunting from 1000 miles away has been no picnic at all. I have just been telling myself over and over that God will work it all out. I am sure that is the reason why we are in this situation to begin with. I think God wants us in a place where we can only trust in Him. My controlling side is not liking this transition, but it has been good for me. Please pray that I continue trusting God because I will go crazy if I continue to try and be in control.

Categories: faith

Transitions

July 16, 2006 8 comments

Tomorrow morning I will be announcing to the Holmes Road congregation that I will be leaving to begin my ministry as a pulpit minister. This is a ministry move that I have prayed about for years, but it is finally coming to fruition. I will begin working with the Lebanon Valley congregation in Lebanon, PA on August 27th. The announcement will be bittersweet because I am sad to leave behind such a great group of people, but excited about the potential in this new congregation.

The members of Holmes Road have been nothing but loving and supportive to my family for the past two years. We struggled a long time about this decision, but feel it is where God is calling us. There are so many good things that we will be leaving behind, but I am confident that God has many more blessings that lie ahead of us. I will be 1000 miles (that is three zeros) away from my parents. It has been nice having them close to us, but I feel a strong call to minister where the church is not as well known. They will definitely miss being an active part in Mikayla’s life.

The Northeast is definitely a mission field. The county of Lebanon has a population of over 120,000 people with only one Church of Christ there. It will be nice ministering to a congregation of people who can’t ‘church hop’ due to the 30-40 minute drive to find a new church. This area will be very challenging, but I have been praying for a challenging ministry.
It is my prayer that I will be open to God to use me in anyway that He sees fit. I am excited about my future in God’s kingdom and hope that each of you will be praying for my family as we step out on faith.

Categories: faith, Family

Comfortable

July 10, 2006 3 comments

This past week I had the awesome experience of attending Summer Celebration on the campus of Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN. This is a summer lectureship series that my family and I have attended for the past three years. There are classes for all ages. This is one of the few lectureship that I have been too that has challenged my faith and encouraged me at the same time. It is unique in the fact that there were speakers from all over the spectrum in view of theology. Where else can you go to hear Alan Highers and Jeff Walling at the same lectureship. It was awesome to see that come together. If you have never been before then definitely plan to go next year.

This year’s theme was “Life in the Spirit: A Study of Ephesians”. Each class session challenged the listener to examine their spiritual life and how it affects everyone around them. Each speaker really challenged me to evaluate my call to ministry and my Christian walk. I really needed to hear these words this week because so many times I question why God has called me to ministry. I have NEVER wanted to be a minister. I have tried in many ways and occasions to “show” God that ministry is not for me. Each time he calls me back and gives me another chance. I STILL do not know what God is planning for me, but I know it is something great because that is the kind of Father that I serve. So for now I will continue to trust Him and follow wherever he leads.

I have been praying for a long time now that God would put me into a ministry where I am uncomfortable. I have been comfortable for a long time because I “know” what I am doing for the most part in youth ministry. I do not claim to being an expert in working with youth, but I have been doing it for about 8 years now and have picked up enough techniques that work well. I feel like I am ready now to do something in ministry that will make me feel totally inept. I want to do something that I do not have the training or confidence for. I want to be in an area where I can only depend on God and not myself. I am sure that God will answer this prayer when He is ready. My challenge for anyone who is reading this is to pray for ineptness. Pray for the unknown. Pray that God will put you where He needs you most and not where you think you need to be. God bless.

Moments with the Master

July 3, 2006 11 comments
After a seven hour trip that included lunch and multiple bathroom breaks, my group arrived at Short Mountain Bible Camp. I was not really sure what to expect of a “mountain” in Middle TN, but I was pleasantly surprised.
The theme for the week was “Moments with the Master”. We looked at several passages of the Bible that talked about people who had experienced a change in their life because of coming in contact with Jesus. This is a theme that will DEFINITELY be stolen for future preaching use.


This week I had a mixture of good and less than desirable experiences with people at camp.
I will share the stories of both.
The guy on the extreme right in this picture is Roger H. He was one the adult counselor from Nashville. Roger is a 43 year old man who has the mind of a 17 year old. I do not say this to poke fun, only to make a point that I hope is clear. He had some childhood illness that has kept him from fully developing mentally, but Roger is no fool. He knows when someone is making fun of him or is trying to take advantage of him. ALL WEEK long Roger was what I considered a role model for everyone at camp. He sang loud, hang on to every word from the preacher or Bible class teacher, and was friendly to everyone he came across. Roger was also a man of prayer. He wanted others to know what his spiritual needs were and wanted to know about theirs also. He was also a comedian and want to see people smile. In our cabin he would tell jokes and try to make the campers feel good about being there. He was awesome to be around. The best experience I had with him during the week was in Bible class. He wanted to lead a song that he “wrote”. The lyrics went this way

“Jesus is the answer for the world today above him there’s no other, Jesus is the way.
If you have problems, peace you cannot find. Call upon my Jesus He will be there right on time.”
Although he did not write this song the words ring so true. It was awesome to see that a man who by the world’s standards is not very intelligent actually understands the most important thing in this world.

Paul speaks about having a “thorn in the flesh”. I am not sure how long he had this ailment, but my thorn lasted all week and had a name – Ricardo. Ricardo is a 14 year old boy from Puerto Rico. He has been living in Nashville for the past two years and has only been speaking English for two years. He comes from a big family. This young man taught me many things this week (Not all good obviously). On my first night in the cabin I had to deal with him and his mouth. Most of you know that I do talk alot myself, but do not get easily angered. THIS WAS NOT THE CASE SUNDAY NIGHT. Because of some very vulgar comments and actions I was determined to see him go home. I did not want to put up with his attitude, but tried on sevral occasions to give him another chance. I know that the camp is for the kids, but I do not deal very well with anyone who does not show respect to others, but wants respect from all. He did not seem to care about anyone but himself.
The experience with him was difficult because there were times that I know I was a good example to him because I wanted to reach out to him and show him the love of Christ. I also admit there were times this week that I was not nice at all because of my frustation for his attitude. I know that I should have been the one who was level headed in all of this, but I admit my shortcoming and wrongdoing in this.
One night Ricardo began venting about how the church is so fake and how he enjoyed being in a gang because they were “real”. I had a hard time dealing with his line of reasoning. I wondered what would make someone want to be in a group of people who hurt you first before you could be accepted. It made me sad that he was more concerned about pleasing a group of people rather than pleasing God, but then I realized that we are all that way sometime. Most of us want to be wanted and will go wherever we need to get that attention. Some chooose the Boy Scouts, a sports team, the church, and even a gang just to feel wanted. I pray that Ricardo makes good decisions about his future, but I also pray that we all search for meaning and feeling belonged only in God and not in any man made institution.
Even though dealing with Ricardo was rough, it taught me even more clearer that everyone is in need of a Savior. Each of us with our sin is still worthy and needs to know about the love of Christ. I hope that my actions showed Christ and helped Ricardo to see that God cares about Him.

Overall I absolutely enjoyed this week. The staff and directors provided a memorable week for us all. I am looking forward to going back next year and hope to spend more moments with the Master in the weeks and years to come.

Categories: Short Mountain