Sunday, October 26, 2008

the news

Hey Gang,

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

A Fall Thought and Some Big News

Hey Team,

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

A little update

Hey All,

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,