I guess some of you see that there has been a break in the blogging for me. We left Christmas Day and drove through the historic midwestern snow storm last week. Pretty uneventful trip and ended up here at my Mom’s safely. I’ve had pretty relaxing days all in all. We went to her church on Sunday and have been shopping for some post Christmas bargains. Yesterday, worked on my Mom’s clothes dryer for a bit. Today, helping her take down Christmas decor. Oh, we also finished a 1000 piece puzzle. Watched some movies as well. That’s about it. I anticipate the week gaining speed as we return home later this week and get back in the swing of things here soon.
Sorry for the lack of posts last week. I gave the updates on Chandler and then was off of the radar far a good bit last week. I took an extra day off to go the movies with my wife in Wichita. We saw Disney’s The Christmas Carol in 3D, which was lots of fun. Then, on Friday, I got my new computer in the mail. After tinkering with that most of the weekend, I think I have all of the software updated and files transferred. So, hopefully, it will be back to business tomorrow.
Thought I owed my readers some sort of explanation.
Here’s a manuscript from what I said this past Sunday night at our church’s Thanksgiving Dinner…
On Sunday mornings this fall, we have begun to look at the book of Colossians. The more I steep in this book, the more the theme of thanksgiving seems to emerge.
In 1:3, Paul says “we always thank God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ when we pray for you” and continues that refrain in 1:11-12, when he told us that we please God the Father when we are “with joy giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.”
In 2:7, it is as we are “rooted and built up in Jesus Christ and established in the faith, just as you were taught,” that we will be “abounding in thanksgiving.”
In Colossians 3:15-17, Paul instructs us to “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” It seems that the constant drumbeat of those who live under the supremacy of Jesus Christ are thankful hearts.
Finally, in 4:2, Paul tells them to be passionate for prayer and thanksgiving when we he says, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” We are called to be a grateful community. We’ve received so much more than we deserve. Therefore, tonight, we set aside a time to boast in the Lord and praise Him for the grace He’s shown us as a church.
What are you thankful for? What things has God done in your life this year? How could others be encouraged hearing of these things?
Some highlights for me included:
• Celebrating 5 years of marriage to my greatest gift, Meghan
• Purchasing a new home and moving out of an old one
• Watching God mature us and lead us and show His faithfulness with all the issues of water and mold in the basement
• Seeing God’s Word come alive in lives and hearts as we’ve studied Mark, Luke 15, Hosea and Colossians
• Deepening relationships I have with men and the Elders
• Traveling to conferences with men and other pastors, to Student Life Missions Camp, to visit the Stickels, to vacations
• Experiencing deep fellowship in small groups
• Sensing God’s encouragement as new ministries have emerged and new people have come our way
I’m sure there are other specific things you all have as well. What are some of those?
Today, in 1 hour, we will sign papers on the sale of our home and then, in 2 hours, we will sign papers on a new home. We plan to start moving stuff around 1PM and any help anyone can give would be much appreciated. The big day has come.
I remember sipping coffee with a couple of the elders a few weeks back lamenting some anxieties associated with buying a home and one of them wisely counseled me that “In 6 months, these things won’t even matter and what can you change by worrying.” Good counsel indeed!
Thanks for all who have helped already and for those who will help. We are amazed by God’s kindness to us.
Yes, we are back from our trip to visit the Stickels in North Carolina. There are many things I’d like to say to many people on the heels of this trip, so here goes…
I appreciated getting to know both David, his wife Julie, and their family (Rochelle, Sean, Daniel, Christiana, and Jubilee). They live an amazing life of devotion to God and service to others.
I appreciated all the many who fill up what is missing at Crestview in my absence. This includes people opening up doors, making coffee, running sound, working with the musicians, preaching (Josh’s sermon, Is There Any Hope? is now online BTW), and countless other small things that make the weekend work.
I think that many of us are prejudiced towards internationals, and we need our eyes opened afresh to Gospel realities and categories so that we can relate to them in a way that pleases our Father. This is one of the big lessons that sunk into me this weekend.
At any rate, I should be back with regular posts here soon. Thanks for your patience, prayers and encouragement as this traveling has taken place.
I posted a reading update a while back and thought it was time for the latest…
As I mentioned in the previous post, I’m really being helped by Lou Priolo’s book Pleasing People: How not to be an “approval junkie”. I can always grow in my battle against pleasing men. And this book gives great help for the sanctification I need to be pursuing in this area.
Manly Dominion by Mark Chanski is a helpful book (so far) on what it means to exercise our role as men and, even more basic, to be the people God created us to be.
Sent by Ed Stetzer will be our small group curriculum this Fall. I’ve read it twice and am going through it one more time very meticulously to get a better feel for how I can use this material in my small group.
I am also going through Elyse Fitzpatrick and Dennis Johnson’s book Counsel From The Cross for the 3rd time. Why? I am so encouraged to read this. Counseling is an area that I need to be consistently growing it. I am swayed that keeping the Gospel central is key to healthy churches and numerous other reasons. This time I am slowly working my way through again.
I also keep reading some in The Mission of God, giving the foundational Biblical and theological underpinnings of missionally reading the Scriptures.
Anything big I’m missing out there?
Today was the final day of camp. We got up early, loaded up the vans, (I drank lots of coffee), grabbed some breakfast, and went to morning celebration decked out in our silver, for the final day with our mission site coordinator. Good time there. Billy and Cindy took us out with Knees Are Bowing. We were dismissed and got on the road, arriving back in Hutch around 3PM. We had an uneventful ride home, for which we thank God.
So, what things emerged to me this week?
1) I was encouraged to be bold in preaching through Neil’s solid leadership.
2) I was exhorted to God-centeredness in the song portion of our services through Billy Foote’s amazing music.
3) I was challenged to serve by Student Life’s staff, as they willingly decreased so that our group could increase. I’m praising God for them.
4) I was warmed through good Christian fellowship with old friends and new. My good friend Dale Baker was there and I was able to meet some new friends in youth ministry and on Student Life’s staff. Furthermore, our group was excellent in discussing the gatherings and reviewing what stood out.
5) I was excited to see God’s Word produce fruit again. While there were many tools God used, if God hadn’t moved by His Spirit, it would have been and empty and futile gathering. God’s Word was lifted up and produced fruit.
I am looking forward to another year of camp next year and am prayerfully considering what God would have us do.
Morning Celebration today was on John 14:1-7 and how what we believe relates to how we live. There are many realities that emerge in this text that have ramifications for what we believe.
We finished up our week of missions with a Cookout for those we had the privilege of serving.
Then, tonight, Evening Worship included Billy & Cindy’s excellent leadership. Neil preached a provocative message (in my opinion) from 1 Corinthians 10:1-11 and how we need to flip live and learn to LEARN AND LIVE. This passage calls us to learn 4 things from God:
1) Worship Him!
2) Listen to Him!
3) Trust Him!
4) Follow His Leaders!
We ended the day as a church group together. Good day and we head home tomorrow.
Yes, the reports are true…