Sunday, October 26, 2008
I guess I kinda left yall hanging last week with the promise of "big news." Well without getting into all the details right now, the news is that I will be going on staff with our church here in Asheville in January. We are really excited about this opportunity to do a one year internship with the staff at Highlands Christian Church. The position will be a church plant internship that will help prepare us to plant a daughter church hopefully in 2010. I hope to spend some time soon writing out this story, and giving you all more details about what all this means for our future. For now though, we hope that you celebrate with us that God obviously has a plan for this seminary and training time. Pray for us in the details and stress that this great journey entails for us. There is so much work to do with school and preparing to plant a church. It is a little overwhelming at times and so easy to be like Simon Peter and start looking at the waves and not at Christ walking on the water.
Today in church I was feeling a bit of what I call "Moses and Jonah syndrome." That feeling of knowing God is calling you to do something specific, yet feeling so inadequate for the task. Like Moses I often want to say "Pardon your servant Lord. Please send someone else," Exodus 4:13. Or like Jonah, I want to get on the boat going the opposite direction that God told him to go, Jonah 1:3.
It is in these times that I like to remind the Lord that "You don't need me God." I like to let him know that he has plenty of other options of people that could go to seminary and plant a church. There are many other people who are plenty well qualified to lead in his church. It is in these times that he so gently reminds me that I am right, "he does not need me, but he wants me." It is in these moments that I am reminded that this whole thing is about a relationship, not a ministry. It is in the moments of life where life is overwhelming that the Lord beacons me, "Just press in son, just press in." In pressing into the Lord I am forced to abandon those things that my mind tells me he needs me for and like a little child submit myself to the relationship that my heart knows he made me for.
As I was wrestling with these things the praise band lead us in the worship song "Before the Throne of God Above." I love songs that sing the Gospel so clearly and richly. As we sang the second verse it was if the Lord wrote it to me and said "take your eyes off you son, press in to me, press in to me."
"When Satan tempts me to despair and tells me
of the guilt within Upward I look and see Him there,
Who made an end to all my sin"
I am adding the link here to an 8min version of the song done by Shane and Shane. I have had it on repeat for the last few hours, just letting the Gospel be sung to my heart. Maybe it will provide the same comfort to you.
As always, Thank you for your prayers and support in so many ways....
Saturday, October 18, 2008
I hope that you are settling into a great weekend full of whatever it is that makes you the most happy: hiking, football, cookouts, reading a book, being with friends and family. This weather creates such a social atmosphere and energy that is contagious so I hope you get to enjoy it to the fullest. I truly do feel sorry for anyone who does not get to live in the mountains in the fall. It is so amazing to watch the world fall asleep for the winter, so beautiful. Here is an early fall picture that Kassie took, and I think the light and detail that she composed in one shot is amazing.
School is going well. It is amazing that I still feel like I am learning how to learn, but I am loving the material that is being covered in my classes. Often I read until I just can't take it anymore, but after a break or a good night's rest I can't wait to get back and "see how the story ends." I wanted to share a couple of things in this blog, it is probably enough for two blogs seeing as how rare I do get to these updates, but I will try not to bog you down too much.
First, I just want to pass on some encouragement and learnings to you from my studies. As you know, one of my biggest prayers has been that this seminary journey would be one of intimacy with the Lord and not simply of academic growth. Some of the early material that you cover in Seminary is simply how to study Scripture. A quote that I read this past week in a commentary has really encouraged me, and so I wanted to share it with you.
"...the aim of thoughtful Christians, after all, is not so much to become masters of Scripture, but to be mastered by it, both for God's glory and his people's good." Wenham,Motyer,Carson,France. New Bible Commentary, 21st Century Addition. Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press. 2007. P12
What a refreshing reminder that it is not our job to "figure the Bible out," but in coming to the Word, it figures us out. When we approach this amazing book as a text book with answers to our life we miss out on the fact that it is a story, God's Story, a story that we get to play a part in. In that vain of thought, I wanted to expose all of you to a couple of books that I think are amazing resources for anyone who desires to learn how to read the Word as God meant it to be read. They are easy reads and relatively cheep purchases off Amazon. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, Fee and Stuart; How to Read the Bible Book by Book, Fee and Stuart. These two guys are some of the most brilliant and respected biblical thinkers of our time, and they did not necessarily write these books for academic study. They wrote them to make the tools of sound biblical study accessible to everyone. They are just such good books that many seminaries use them. So for what it is worth, I hope that some of you take advantage of these great resources and take another step in letting Scripture transform who you are as God intended for it to.
Well this letter has been long enough so I will wait until next time to reveal the big news! (hint, we are not pregnant! : )
Grace and Peace,
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
It is amazing how the weeks get away from us. I cant believe that we are moving into the Holiday season. Those of you who contribute financially to the scholarship have been getting some monthly mailings that have kept you in the loop with your giving and what is going on with us. For the rest of you, it seems like we have kinda settled into this new season of life. What was the exciting new start of seminary and fund raising and job has turned into the day to day now.
Here are some bullet points (or dash marks) for you to pray through and be aware of...
- Kassie is in Indiana with her family right now for the funeral of a family member. Pray for the family to know God and his goodness in death, and for safe travels for those who have gone to be together in this time.
- My mom's brother is in the hospital with some long term health issues. He was in the ICU until yesterday with a grim prognosis, but he has turned in the last couple of days for the better. Pray for his continued improvement and praise the Lord for his extra time here with his family.
- My health. I have been strugling the past few weeks with allergies and overall fatigue. It has made it hard to keep up with school and work.
- Praise God that some really random but good outside construction and team building work came my way the last few weeks and was a good subsidy to my part-time job.
- Keep praying for class, that it will be about me knowing God and not learning about him.
- Keep praying for Kassie's business to grow. She is getting enough work to keep her engaged and growing and we are looking forward to future opportunities.
- Just a "bug in your ear" I had a meeting today to confirm an internship for next year. I have talked to many of you about this exciting potential opportunity that has been developing over the past 6 months. Well today it was made official that it will happen so we are relieved and looking forward to beginning this new job on January 1st. There will be blogs to come with more details and information on how you can pray for this internship and also get involved with some of that work....WE ARE REALLY EXCITED...
Thank you all for being involved with your lives and encouraging and praying for us. You mean so much to us...
Grace and Peace,
Thursday, September 11, 2008
I am trying to get in a rhythm with the blog with posting prayer requests mid week and doing a journal/devotional beginning of the week. I hope it will keep you all updated and also encouraged.
So... mid week prayer....
-praise God that He always meets our needs... there always seems to be the random opportunity or photo shoot around the corner ever time we need it... we are learning to live in His faithfulness.
- i am also trying to pick up a half shift at work... pray that will be available and not take away to much time and energy from study
- Kassie is going to a woman's retreat at church this weekend... pray that will be a good time to connect with other woman in the church and be refreshed.
- my big prayer right now is energy. i am really struggling to be rested and fresh every day. i can tell it is really affecting my studies and i feel like i am slipping behind more and more. i have a pretty well regulated schedule of diet, exercise, rest, etc...but i just feel really run down and that is not a good place to be with two more classes coming in the mail yesterday. i dont know if it is just the long days that i am pulling with work and study, or allergies or what.. pray i know what adjustments to make....
thanks for your thoughts and prayers as always...
pete, and kassie
Monday, September 8, 2008
It seems like babies are everywhere these days. No, we don’t have one, but everyone else seems to. We joke a lot with our friends because it seems like our small group at church went from the “newlywed” group to the “young parent group” in a matter of months…well about 9 months to be exact. At the same time, we added two nieces to our family in the last year, and have one on the way in November. It seems like every time I log into a blog or go to church it is another announcement of “we're pregnant!” or “he/she is here!” And though Kassie and I are not yet parents, in a lot of ways we have felt the affects heavily in our life. Whether it is looking more forward to that day ourselves, missing our nieces and nephews that are out of town, or having our whole social world rearranged by the affects of kids on the lives of our friends or the time that we spend with our friends. It is great, amazing in fact. I love that the world we move in is constantly being inundated with new life and growth. It blows my mind to go to our church small group every week and see these little people that were just yesterday laying there begin to crawl, stand, take a step, walk.
I think that because these new little lives are all around, that my Scripture reading this morning had a whole new meaning. I have been reading through Psalms to start my day. As I was just cruising along from verse to verse this morning, this one just reached up and tripped my mind. It made my brain stutter a little bit and forced me to go back and ponder at the ancient thought that I had just fallen over.
“Through the praise of children and infants, you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” Psalm 8:2
What an amazing and odd, yet powerful and mesmerizing mental picture. My mind went to ideas - mostly from movies - of these images of ancient cities surrounded by tall stone fortresses. These fortresses have their gates drawn because some neighboring, uncivil, really hairy tribe with big clubs and bad oral hygiene have come to wage war and steal all that is good from this civil, fortified city. And at that moment when all seems lost and the big hairy men in need of Listerine are about to break through, this natural phenomenon occurs….all the babies in the city start to make this gosh darn awful sound that they do at three in the morning when they are hungry and have pooped all over themselves. (Now I have spent the night with friends and family and experienced this situation, but not yet having had the experience of being the one who had to get up and do something about it I can not fully associate with my own analogy here…but I am sure that many of you reading feel the full weight of this “3AM reality”...and if you are reading this at 3AM it may be because the mental image is all too fresh in your mind!) Back to the story…In my mind's eye these barbarians stop, and listen to this cry of babies, these shrill screams of infants who have needs to be met. As they pause from their warning the sound grows and grows, but not only does it grow, it changes. It changes from annoying and burdensome to beautiful and magnificent. The cries of these children leave this warring nation with no choice, they must flee the city. Not because the thought of changing diapers is too much to bear, but because the worship of a mighty creator is so compelling that they no longer have a desire to do evil.
Now I don’t know if what went through my mind this morning is what the Psalmist had in mind for this passage. However, the imagery of the poem is one that beckons us to invite a special kind of peace into our lives, a peace that comes when we realize that God does things completely backwards than the way we do. I find the imagery beautiful. At the point in life when my nature is to pick up a bow and arrow and sword and fight the mangy invader, God says “No, wait, I have a better idea….I am going to make all the babies cry…”
I love it when I find these little subtle paradoxes in Scripture. These evidences that God’s plan of redemption was not a mistake or something conjured up at the last minute. Instead it was well thought out and he gives us hints of his nature from the beginning of His Word to the end. We think our answer is a king on a throne with sword and power, He provides a son to hang naked and abused on a cross…We stake our security on the labor of our hands and the power of our wits, He establishes strongholds on “the praise of children and infants.”
May the Paradox of the Lord’s power dwell richly in your hearts this week.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Thanks again.... Stay tuned to the blog.... Now that I have this first test under my belt I hope to be able to spruce this page up a bit with some more thought provoking writings and some pics for your enjoyment!
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
On the academic front. I am well on my way with Greek and I LOVE IT! Your prayers are being answered in that way as well. I am not far into the study, but enough to know that I am going to enjoy it. My first exam is in a couple of weeks, and I have several chapters to go to be ready. A lot of ground in a short amount of time, so please pray.
Kassie is in Atlanta the rest of this week with her family and doing photo shoots. I will be headed to Charlotte Friday through Saturday for orientation. I am pumped about being on campus again and getting to meet folks. Pray for our travels while we are apart.
I have to get in the habit of writing on a more regular basis. I think I am just going to send a short note and then I get long winded with all the things I want to tell you (a pastor in the making I guess!) Feel free to jump on the blog and send us a "whats up?" to encourage me to keep you up to date with prayer and life details.
Thank you all again so much, you are playing a part in God's story for us and we cannot say thank you enough.
Monday, August 4, 2008
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Just wanted to update all of you on my job interview last week. The interview went great and I decided to take the job. It is at a cafe and catering business in town named "Laurey's." They are a very cool company and though I have never worked food service, I feel like they are going to be a great fit. I will only be working Monday's and Tuesdays. Also this week I was offered "when ever I need it," painting work by a friend in town. That was a blessing and a curse and a prayer request. The blessing because it is always good to have options in the back pocket for supporting my family, but a curse in that the since of responsibility to provide for my family makes me feel as if I have to take every money making opportunity that comes my way. I need prayer that I will learn to balance my fears about providing for my family with faith that God will provide enough so that I can study. Thanks to all of you who prayed and asked about the job situation.
A couple of other prayer things. Kassie is going to be in Atlanta from the 14th through the 17th of August for a couple of photo shoots, but would like to book a couple more while she is down there. So if you know anyone who is looking to get portraits of any kind done in the Atlanta area then consider suggesting that weekend to them. Every photo session that Echoes Photography does is that many more hours that I get to spend studying. Second request: GREEK! I received the material for my first online class in the mail just as we were going out of town for vacation 2 weeks ago. I though I would begin this past week but some construction work took more days than I had imagined and now I plan to being this coming week. 2 weeks have now ticked off my online timelines and needless to say I am a bit intimidated by the reality of getting started. I need your prayer to realize that God has been faithful in bringing me to this place and will be faithful in providing the ability to learn and study. This is just another time in life when I have to come to the realization that jumping out of the boat is my part, walking on the water is the Lords. Right now Greek looks like a pretty big ocean to cross. Please join us in prayer for my studies here at the beginning of school.
Thank you all more than words can say,
Monday, July 28, 2008
Kassie and I returned home yesterday from a beach trip. It was a great time to get away with some friends who invited us to stay with them at their work's beach house. Kassie and I do not generally enjoy the beach all that much, we are just more mountain folks. However, this trip was a lot of fun, and the beach is always just a great opportunity to experience the Glory of God in a different setting than we are used to. I was able to take a see kayak out one morning and see dolphins up close. What a treat! Sitting there rising and falling with the tide I felt like I was feeling the earth breath in and out below me. To sit there and have my spirit commune with the Lord and utter his praise with unspeakable words is such a gift. Then in that moment to have dolphins swim around you so that you can see their eyes and hear them take a breath was almost to much. It was if the Lord hand wrapped and delivered this personal testimony to me of how loving and amazing he is.
Often during the trip I would think of all of you and how you too have been a similar gift to us in this time in our lives. With each of your prayers and letters it has been as if the Lord is personally telling us through you that He is in our lives leading us, encouraging us, and displaying his glory. Thank you.
I have a job interview in the morning. It is a random situation that I have fallen into through a friend. I am not sure if it is the right situation for Kassie and I right now or not. So please pray for wisdom about whether or not this is the best option for us in light of our needs and present life circumstances.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
I just had a couple of things I wanted to run by all of you.
1. if you are subscribing to this blog, would you please send us an email or comment just so we know who we are writing to on a regular basis.
2. Prayer requests
a. Pete has some job decisions to make in the next week or so. Pray that work will come and
that it will be what is the most conducive to our needs and his study.
b. Pete got his books this week for his first online class! So exciting. Pray that he will have the
focus, time, and energy to really take in all the info.
c. The donor cards for the scholarship should go out at the end of this month and commitments
need to be made by Aug 29th. Pray that enough will come in. Pete has registered for class
in the belief that we will have the reduced price, but if the scholarship does not happen then
we will either not take the classes, or pay full price.
3. Also, our friend Josh Adams broke his neck Friday night in a work related accident. Miraculously he is going to make a full recovery in 6-12 weeks. Praise the Lord with us that Josh is alive, not paralyzed and going to be fine. Pray that he does recover completely and that his families needs are met while he is not working for several weeks.
Thank you all for praying. It means so much to us...
Pete and Kassie
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Make sure to subscribe to the blog (at the bottom of the page) if you have not already and want to be updated. Also, email us your address if you want to know more about contributing to the scholarship.
Friday, July 11, 2008
We have walked through many geographical, social, professional, and academic transitions over the last four years. Each time believing that the Lord was taking us through seasons of baby steps that he was using to mature us individually and as a couple. We are now at a place in life where we are privileged to look back and see the value in the things we have been through. We believe God is showing us that the next step is into a more formal season of training. Pete will begin graduate school at Gordon- Conwell Theological Seminary this fall for his Masters of Arts in Biblical Studies.
As we begin seminary this fall, our hope is to surround ourselves with a team that will join us in this place in our journey, and travel with us as our life of ministry plays out however the Lord desires. We hope that as you and your family continue reading about the roles that need to be filled on our team, you will prayerfully consider what role and capacity is best for you now and in the future. Right now there are 2 primary roles on this ministry team, each needing groups of multiple people.
1: Spiritual Friendship – this group of people will commit to being the backbone of our team. Their primary role is to pray and encourage. Committing to this is very simple, just subscribe to this blog. When our life, ministry, and prayer updates come out you will be the first to know. All we ask is that you pray and then respond on the blog, or in private, with whatever encouragement you feel lead to administer. You will remind us that we are not alone in this journey and that the Lord is involved in our lives.
2. Financial Partnership – seminary is expensive and vocational ministry does not generally pay well. : ) We are obviously not making these choices based on future income, so there are several ways that you can help us now financially.
a. Pete has been accepted into Gordon-Conwell’s Partnership Program. The program involves extracurricular activities designed to help students learn valuable stewardship skills for their ministry careers. Each member of the program (other Gordon-Conwell graduate students) raises a team of supporters to make tax-deductible contributions to the trust. Those able to successfully raise the minimum amount of support reduce the cost of tuition by 67%. To qualify we have to establish from a church or other source an annual gift of $500, and a team that is willing to give a total of $210 a month for the duration of the masters program. We are hoping to finish the program by the end of 2010 or early 2011. It is our desire to gather a team of at least 21 people giving $10 a month. However, if there are donors who feel as though they can give more than $10 a month, it will reduce the number of people who are needed to meet the Scholarship requirements. One time gifts are also appreciated and contribute to the balance of the scholarship. All contributions to this trust are tax deductible and you will receive a monthly receipt for your gift that includes an update from us. This is the primary need we have now from our Financial Partners. If we do not have the donors, we do not get the scholarship. The deadline for financial commitments is August 29th. Many of you will be receiving notices in the mail soon. However, if this is something that you would like to be a part of, please e-mail us and make sure we have your mailing address. These support team members should also subscribe to the blog to receive our periodic updates.
b. Non-tax-deductible contributions can also be made to Pete’s tuition balance and books through the student account.
c. Finally, you can support us by using and promoting Kassie’s new photography business. We have recently started this new enterprise and we are hoping that the business will generate enough income to pay our living expenses and allow Pete to go to school full-time. So if you need a photographer, or know someone who does, we would love to serve you in this way! Check out her work at www.echoesphotography.com.
We believe that God is telling his story to the world using real people, in real time, in day to day life. We also believe that each of us has the opportunity to play a role in that story. That is what we extend to all of you, an invitation to let our spiritual stories intertwine as together we engage God’s plan of redemption for the world.
Thank you in advance for your support. We look forward to hearing from you and connecting with you personally in the near future.
Pete and Kassie
Please contact us if you have questions or want to catch up. We would love to hear from you!