Saturday, January 31, 2009


Well I received a bit of encouragement lately about this blog that people are reading and I need to just do more short updates. Now this is a huge exercise of discipline of the will for me. As many of you may know that I am a bit of a perfectionist and highly analytical, so just jotting notes that go out to the masses without a good 20 or 30 proof reads along with a final proof from my wife is almost an emotional impossibility. But here goes, installment 1 of stream of conscious, barely edited blogging!

I really just want to let all of you know how grateful we are for your prayers for us during the last week. Our experience at Church Planters Assessment was one of the hardest and most rewarding experiences of our lives. I could write pages about the experience. However, the most important thing for you to know is that your prayers were felt and answered. God worked amazing things in our lives over those four days. We received amazing affirmation of our call to plant a church, defined direction of what that church is supposed to "look like," and supernatural encouragement from the people that we encountered and interacted with through the process. So thank you for your prayers. We got home on Thursday afternoon and are about recovered sleep and energy wise. We are looking forward to being able to unpack and communicate this experience more clearly over the next weeks and months, and look forward to sharing some of those learnings here.

Grace and Peace,


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Just in Time

Well my unofficial New Year's resolution was to be more consistent at blogging. So, I have a whole week to spare in making the month of January entry!

Our past few months have been very full. November and December we had several weddings mixed in with the holidays, one that we were witnessing and one that we were photographing. We were able to make a dash to Indiana to spend time with Kassie's family for Christmas. It is always great to get to her grandparents' farm. New Years saw us moving into a new house.

In the mix of the holidays we found a new home to share with my parents. We had been looking around for months for a place that would accommodate the four of us. Dad has been working just outside of Asheville, staying with us during the week, and traveling to Atlanta on the weekends to be with mom. With the current economic situation their house has been on the market in Atlanta for about 15 months and being apart was beginning to wear heavily on mom and dad. When we were starting to feel like we were not going to be able to find the right space, price and location for all of us, God provided an amazing spot just outside of Asheville. It is a great location for dad to get to work and Kassie and I to still get to town in a reasonable amount of time. The house has an amazing layout with mom and dad, and Kassie and I each having our own living area. Its on a river, has a great yard for the dogs, and a great office for me to study and work out of.

In the meantime of traveling, moving, and keeping up with school, we began our Church Planting Internship at our home church. Our internship has kicked off with us preparing to go to a church planters' assessment that will happen this upcoming week (Jan 26th-29th). The process has already been a bit stretching with both of us having to complete 4 different personality/leadership/spiritual gift type tests and a 60 question application. We would really appreciate your prayers as we go through this experience.

Please keep in touch, and let us know how your lives are going.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Winter Garden
by Shae Cooke

The powdery snow falls silently upon the forest floor,
Blanketing the brushwood in it’s downy softness.
The wind blows lightly causing a slight shiver
amongst the threadbare branches of the stately Alder trees.

Dancing shadows leap across the pallid mantle of snow
As the bright light of the wintry moon
shimmers upon the tips of the glistening tree boughs.

The snow muffles the distant bay of a solitary wolf,
Silently echoing the sentiment of his loneliness.
The trees sway in unison as though
Dancing to the cadence of their cries.

The Winter Garden.
Splendid in its austere exquisiteness.
The snow drifts awash in a palette of
Shades of white, heighten its
Unadorned beauty.


It is Winter. And it is beautiful.

This year, I am so thankful for a change in mindset towards this season. Normally, I would scoff at its seemingly monochromatic and dull canvas. As a person who is greatly affected by my environment, Winter's bland offerings do not help lift my spirit and emotions. I have often blamed the season for my overcast moods and fatigue. But a new light has been shed on this holy season. Someone mentioned how Winter is restful and quiet, and that it is integral for life to manifest itself in the following seasons.
Okay, so I have heard this all before, but for some reason it hit me this time. It changed me.

Just a few nights ago, I was awoken. I had no idea why I felt so rested, so ready to wake up during the middle of the night. In fact, I laid there wide awake until morning's light. A thought was brought to me that I believe was from the Holy Spirit. This experience was an analogy for where I am spiritually and emotionally.

You see, for a number of reasons, God has been resting and healing me for some time now. Through the quiet I have gained perspective and have been maturing... my roots have been growing deeper in faith. Now, it seems, He is awakening me. The Lord has opened my eyes from my restorative slumber, and I am awake! There is always a time for me between waking up and getting out of bed when I am still, yet am surveying my rest from the night before and measuring the tasks at hand for the day. This is where I am. I am realizing and am grateful for the rest. I am weighing, with hope and passion, for the day ahead. I am finding myself being propelled by Winter. The stillness, the quiet, the rest will always be integral for life to manifest itself in the following seasons of my life.

I am aware that Winter's canvas returns every year. But next time, it will be welcomed.