Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
The last few months of my life have been totally overwhelming. Here are the major events. Negative first so we can end on a happy note.
About 6 weeks ago we learned that a pastor in regional leadership had been having an affair with his assistant for over a year and that for the last seven months it had become physical. The pastor was wholly unrepentant and abandoned his family and moved in with this woman. This was difficult news to process with our elders and leadership, especially given this pastor’s incredible ability to communicate the gospel. It was sobering to realize that no one is exempt from falling to temptation.
A week after that news a guy in our church threatened the lives of our pastors and others in the congregation. At one point he was standing outside our building cussing at the pastors. This also was difficult to handle given the degree to which the gospel had changed this man’s life. He’s an ex-biker with a violent past who was actually baptized with Jessica and I last summer. It was heartbreaking to see him in such a low place and to have to ask him to leave the church.
The last news is certainly the most devastating. A few weeks ago the two year old son of one of my friends was hit and killed by a car backing out of a driveway. I still really haven’t formulated anyway to explain the sorrow this brought. Even writing this I just don’t know what to say. I think the hardest part was being in England when it happened.
Now for some good news. The men’s conference that I was helping to plan was a huge success with over 500 men hearing the gospel preached. There’s nothing better than a bunch of dudes singing to Jesus. It was encouraging to see so many men who desire to see the gospel change their lives.
That weekend Nick was also appointed the director for our region of Acts 29. This means that he is in charge of coordinating all the churches within a 5 state region. Also, this means that a ton got added to my list of responsibilities which I always enjoy. Seriously. I’m not being sarcastic.
Two weeks after the conference I had the privilege of heading to England to visit our partner church in Leeds led by Gary Aston. The trip was incredible. We flew into London and spent a few days being real touristy before heading to Leeds. Being in Leeds was incredible. We were blessed to spend time in prayer with Gary’s core team. I was totally blown away by their hospitality. It was a privilege to get to know those folks and offer encouragement.
That pretty much catches us up to date. Life is beginning to seem normal again after the frantic pace of the last couple months. I’m trying not to get used to it because I know that things always change. With all that’s happened, good and bad, I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else or doing anything else. It’s truly a privilege to be able to do what I do. I look forward to doing it for a bit. I really appreciate everything the six people who read this have done to make this job possible. Thanks a ton.
Friday, December 24, 2010
- I have loved Christmas because I love myself. I love the idea of people giving me things, eating good food, and of course drinking Christmas Ale. Christmas allows me to be consumed by myself. It gives me that excuse to be selfish which I really don’t need.
- I have ignored the significance of Christ’s birth because it’s easier to pass it over than to deal with the junk in my life for which Christ had to be born. If I really dwell on what it means for the eternally existent God of the universe to take on flesh for my sin, there’s a good chance that I will be convicted of that sin. Conviction always makes life difficult for me.
So there are my Christmas realizations...
Thursday, October 28, 2010
The past month has flown by, I think that’s how I should start every blog...anyway. Seattle was a blast. It was a great mix of learning/being challenged and hanging out. The bootcamp was definitely a great experience and really challenged me in how I’m going about pursuing not only my future calling but also the roles I currently fill. I was really convicted about not viewing my current role as an assistant as a stepping stone to something bigger but rather serving faithfully where the Lord has lead. It was eye opening to see how the church will rise and fall with its men and if men aren’t living the gospel then the church has no hope for success.
It’s interesting how as I sit to write this I can’t think of anything that interesting that’s happened in the last month, but during that month I felt that I didn’t have the time to sit and write this. I guess what I’m getting at is that life in Columbus is pretty busy for the most part. Everything at the church is going incredibly well. This Sunday will be our first with two services, which is really exciting and a little stressful. It’s funny that when I was interning at Veritas we had this dream of two services...two months later and 100 more people and here we are. It’s incredible to see all of this in the scope of God’s faithfulness. It’s incredible that so many people are coming each week to hear his gospel preached. It’s humbling to be part of it.
I would be dishonest if I said that our growth has come without some benefit to me. What I mean by this is that I finally have an actual wood(ish) desk in a shared office (for the last two months my desk and office have been a plastic table in the corner of Nick’s office). I also have a snazzy fake leather chair. I’m a pretty big deal. That’s a joke. I’m told my tone doesn’t translate through blogs...
Again, I just want to thank all of you who are supporting us in one way or another. It’s really encouraging for Jessica and myself to have people come behind us and what the Lord is doing in Columbus.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Two weeks ago I visited New Orleans for the second time, this time I had the privilege of being shown around by a resident. There are some cities that I think you could visit as an outsider and still come to know the city fairly well, New Orleans is not one of those cities. I know my first trip was clearly one of a tourist and the impression that I left with is very much the one I arrived with, that New Orleans is a city of debauchery. It took a local perspective to shift my focus from that of consuming what I thought someone else’s culture was to participating in it myself. What this meant for my most recent trip was going to a brass band concert that started well after I’m typically asleep as well as eating shrimp in as many forms as possible including: as bbq shrimp, roast beef and fried shrimp po’ boys and shrimp etouffee. For real, shrimp is delicious.
Being in New Orleans for a few days, hanging out with church planters, opened my eyes to a couple things. First of all, the intentionality behind planting a church in a certain area. The necessity of being familiar with the culture in which you are planting was something that I didn’t think too much about before this trip, but it became so clear that ministry must be adapted to culture. For example, ministry in the Midwest looks totally different than in the South. It’s not that the gospel message changes, but rather how it is conveyed and what the expected response should be. This was quite radical to me, although it really shouldn’t have been. I think that in some ways this is where the traditional church has let people down. Too many churches have sought to bring their message to people without first understanding the people they are trying to reach. Sorry for the rant.
Secondly, I was struck by the power of the gospel and the need to have churches that are passionate about living the gospel out in community. In raising support to join staff at Veritas I have at times lost sight of what it is that church is all about, the weight of sin exceeded only by the glory of Christ’s sacrifice. Being surrounded by people who were so excited to see the gospel transform their city brought me back to truth. All of this was solidified this past week in studying 1 Corinthians 13, the infamous chapter on love. Coming to the understanding that love is not a checklist of things to be accomplished, but rather seeing that I will never love or be fruitful in ministry without first seeing love in the person of Jesus was really convicting. Before all things I must recognize that I am nothing without the love of Christ, not only that, but anything I do if not through the scope of love is worthless.
Since I haven’t been too faithful in updating my blog, I thought that if I put what I’m thinking about writing next at the end of the post I may actually do it. So I guess this is my form of blog accountability. Hopefully in the next week I will have a post that gives more details of my heart for church plants.