Here are some random thoughts from this week:
I love the honesty and real talk that takes place in our community group each week! As we talked about City Church Tallahassee Vision, Mission and Values this week, one statement stood out more than any other from one of our group members. As we talked about reaching our community, he said (paraphrase) “Look at the text messages on your phone. How many of them are from/to people who are not Christ Followers? Maybe that tells us something about who we really care about.” His intent was we need to be involved in the lives of others, especially those who don’t know Christ. I appreciate his straight forward approach to life!
Continued to have good conversations about prayer with my wife, Cyndi this week. As she reads The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson, it has opened up new dialogue about prayer and specific prayers we both are praying! Although we have always had a very good line of communication with each other, this has been a fresh approach to something dear to each of our hearts. Praying specific prayers together is a good thing! God will honor them I know!
We spent some time doing yard work this week. With our frequent commute to Tallahassee each weekend, our yard is sometimes not the first to be attended when we get home each week. As we were in the front, several cars slowly drove by – looking. Some drove by more than once. As we came inside our realtor called to see if someone could show our house in an hour. Talk about some quick straightening on the inside! I’m convinced this is going to be the answer to a specific prayer of ours!
Watched a leadership lesson play out this week. One about delegation and being prepared. While it turned out not so good, it will still be a good lesson for those involved. Fortunately it was an issue far down on the list of “importance”. Sometimes you have to let people fail in order for them to lead – it’s all part of learning!
Easter At The Civic Center is going to be a big deal! Not for City Church Tallahassee but for God! I’m excited about the thousands of people who will attend and hear the gospel. Some for the very first time. It’s going to take hundreds of volunteers to make this worship event work like it should and I’m thankful for the many people who are stepping up to fill a needed spot. I can’t wait to write some about the neat things that happen that day!
Tomorrow is my wife’s birthday! I can’t wait to celebrate it with her! Part of the celebration will be seeing The Hunger Games. That will be a treat as the family will be watching together! We both love the time we get to spend with our kids! Hoping this year will be one of the best my wife has ever experienced!
Great conversation this morning with Cyndi Ellzey! As we talked about some scripture we read today, it was interesting how God used different passages to bring us to the same conclusions!
2011 was an incredible year of change, challenges, new friendships, faded friendships, God filled experiences, frustrations, doubt, success and sorrow. As Christ followers we are not immune to the wide range of emotions that capture the human race! But as Christ followers we do have something that others do not have – the Holy Spirit. And it is that Spirit that allows us to face all of these emotions and life circumstances with a different viewpoint – with a hope that we will conquer!
We followed God’s lead in 2011 like we have never done before! I quit my job as Executive Pastor of FBC Inverness the first week of Janauary 2011. We began volunteering at City Church Tallahassee the same week. We began a weekly commute that lasted all year-long. We laughed and cried with new friends and new relationships. We lived on faith like we have never done before. God provided in a unique way. God didn’t provide me a paycheck but He made sure our bills were paid and we didn’t lose our house!
As we begin 2012 we are excited to continue what God has begun in us! We are excited to continue to disciple others and to be a part of what He is doing in Tallahassee. Our goals have not changed, our resolutions have not wavered. My expectations are higher now that we have lived as we have. I find myself wanting a paycheck because it is secure but I know that God will take care of us in some form or another!
My prayer continues to be one that I will have faith. That I will listen to Him. That I will respond to His direction. That I will do what He wants me to do. That in 2012 I will be who He wants me to become!
My prayer for others is much the same. That Christians will become followers and not fans. That churches will raise the expectations for those that attend beyond attendance. That action will become the standard. That selfless giving will become normal. That more will become followers. That He will be made great in all that we do – not just in all that we say.
New goals in 2012? No, I just want to be really good at the ones I already have!
While in Cartagena, Colombia, our team had the opportunity to experience so many new things. From new food to crazy traffic. From new friendships to negotiating/bartering for most things. One of the things that was not new but somewhat unexpected was the openness and willingness of people to listen to what we had to say.
Our purpose for going to Cartagena was purely evangelical. We didn’t go to build houses, treat medical conditions, build wells or work in orphanages. We went to share Jesus with children through a series of Vacation Bible School activities, offer football (soccer) and baseball to youth and present the gospel of Jesus during the evening in churches, in the streets and on football courts! Dozens and dozens of people became followers of Christ. Children were told about the love of Jesus. Youth were exposed to the truths of Jesus and what the Bible says. God answered the prayers of hundreds of people who were praying for the people of Cartagena for months before we arrived! Hearts were opened, minds understood despite the language differences and relationships were developed. Conversations took place on football fields, in alleyways, on sidewalks, while sitting on porches and yes, just in the middle of roads. Opportunities were seized by our team as often as they were presented!
One of the strangest events was also perhaps the most meaningful and demonstrated clearly the need for Christ followers to go and tell! Most days we took time during the middle of the day to rest and try to stay out of the heat. On this day, most of our team members were napping. I was returning to the front of the house when I looked up and staring at me from the open window (standing on the outside stairs) were two young men. One was caucasian and the other South American. While I didn’t know them I recognized their dress. White short-sleeved shirts, dark ties, and dark slacks. Here in the middle of a neighborhood in Cartagena were two Mormon missionaries. These two didn’t care there were 14 Christ followers in the house. They were intent on speaking with the woman they came to see.
What shocked me the most was the realization that most of the people I know who are proclaimed Christians don’t understand the urgency of sharing Jesus with others. These mormon missionaries were intent on spreading a false gospel while many Christ followers won’t share the true gospel.
If we won’t go, who will? If we won’t tell others, who will? Jesus’ command was very clear. These issues bother me at night. They bother me during the day. I struggle with the balance between home and another land. I want to do what He commands. I want to be a true Christ follower.