Cyndi and I are headed to Mexico Beach, Florida tomorrow afternoon. This view is what we’re hoping our evenings will be like for a few days!
Some random thoughts:
1. We’ve been walking for 12 straight days! Three miles in the morning and three miles in the evening! Great time to spend with my wife!
2. I calculated this week that we have spent about 25 days (24 hour days) commuting from Inverness to Tallahassee the past 18 months. Knowing that this was what God intended for us in this season of life has helped with the fatigue and stress that creeps in. Knowing He has a plan for our future keeps us going! Waiting for Him to reveal that plan!
3. Leadership is/can be hard. If it was easy, everyone would be a leader. Leaders who won’t do the hard things really aren’t leaders.
4. Laughter is good! We celebrated our end of semester community group this week with a “cook out”. Great food and so much laughter with some of our best friends. I can’t remember when I have laughed so hard or so loud!
5. Good friends are valuable. If you have a good friendship, work to keep it. If you don’t have a good friend, work to find one.
Usually my simple writings try to detail some event or experience I’ve had in the past week or so. This post is somewhat focused on what will be happening the next few days! Not too detailed but with some quick descriptions!
Exciting weekend plans for Cyndi and myself! Friday we will drive to Tallahassee to attend a Good Friday service at City Church Tallahassee. Cyndi has been fasting (Daniel fast) for about 10 days and we both will fast on Friday until the end of the service. Good Friday services are mostly somber and quiet remembrances of Christ’s death on the cross. We’ll end the service with communion – the first food all day! I enjoy these types of services in a selfish way – they help me focus and remember in a personal way why I believe what I believe.
We’re headed to Mexico Beach, Florida after the service – hoping to spend Saturday in the sun! Kayaks will be accompanying us and we’re excited to spend the day on white, sandy beaches on what we believe is the most beautiful stretch of Florida’s Gulf Coast! Hoping our kids will join us for the day as well!
Sunday is Easter! The time of year when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus! We will be celebrating along with thousands of others the Civic Center in Tallahassee. City Church Tallahassee has rented this venue to share the gospel with as many people as possible at one time on Sunday. The past several years City Church has held Easter services at The Moon – a local nightclub in Tallahassee. The past year was standing room only so the decision was made to move to a larger space! In addition to the band and production team, it will take hundreds of volunteers to have this event – people will serve in our Kid’s program, First Impressions as greeters, parking attendants, information stations, ushers, care team members, etc. It’s going to be an exciting day and I’ll be posting pictures from it soon!
Easter this year has a special meaning to Cyndi and me. I have prayed for years to be allowed by God to be a part of a large movement of His. Tallahassee is experiencing such a movement right now and we believe Easter will be a celebration of that. If you’ve been reading along over the months, you know our journey with City Church is unique. I quit my job 15 months ago so we could be a part of this group! We travel about 400 miles round trip each weekend to help out where we can. I’m thankful for the opportunity this season in life has afforded us. Who knows what will take place after Easter? I’m still looking for employment and am confident God has a plan for us! Anticipation about the future – our future!
Quick post about my week.
Today when I drove into my driveway I had been gone from my house for more than 170 hours. Seven days and a few hours! Loved every minute I was away but also secretly wanted to be in my house, watch my tv, sleep in my bed tonight – you get the picture. Tomorrow morning we pack up and head out again – but for a much shorter time!
I had the opportunity to spend about 40 of those 170 hours with a group of staff and volunteers from City Church Tallahassee as we road tripped to Anderson, South Carolina to participate in Unleash – a one day conference hosted by Perry Noble and Newspring Church. This was not my first visit to Newspring but I enjoyed it as if it was! Having an opportunity to worship, listen to some incredible original music by Newspring Worship, hear Perry Noble twice, talk and connect with some people who do community groups with excellence, participate in a breakout with Shane Duffy as he shared about cultural relevance and Biblical truth – all with 34 others from City Church (of yeah and about 3,500 other people!)
Here are two take aways I brought with me: 1. Numbers do matter because every number is a person. Every person has a story. God is interested in our stories. Numbers do matter. 2. If you’re going to do something, why not do it with excellence.
I love what is taking place in Tallahassee right now! Easter at the Civic Center is going to be unbelievable! All because of Jesus!
I have a confession.
I had begun to feel sorry for myself the last few weeks. This unemployment thing was beginning to get to me. Nine months without a paycheck was starting to affect my self esteem. I was questioning a lot of different things – not the least of which was my judgement! Afterall I am a husband and a father and I still have financial responsibilities in this life!
About the same time as I began this self pity party, God provided some areas for Cyndi and I to take a huge leadership role in. Our church is faced with some good issues – ones that come with rapid growth. Our experience and knowledge are going to prove valuable in these areas.
The first area God has shown me we can lead is in finances. Finances? I know I just admitted to being unemployed for more than nine months! But God is bigger than employment! Cyndi and I have had the opportunities over the past two weeks to share our faith in God to provide, to be bigger than any financial issue and to encourage others to give – yes, to give. To give obediently, to give gladly, to give without regret, to view giving as not only a responsibility but an opportunity – an opportunity to worship!
Everything I have, everthing I have ever had and everything I may have in the future is His. He has entrusted me with a lot of resources. What I do with them is a test. One I hope to pass!
God doesn’t need our money. It’s his to begin with.
As Cyndi and I share the responsibility and blessing of giving, it’s our hope that others will begin to grow and understand that God wants to use our resources as we give them back to him – as we surrender ourselves to Him.
We often think that giving is a financial issue – and to some who have become slaves to debt, it appears to be a financial issue. But giving is really a heart issue – it’s a measure of our relationship with God. Not that if we give a larger $$ amount than anyone else we have a better relationship with God – not that at all. But our love for God and our relationship with Him should be evident in all areas of our lives – the things we treasure show our true love.
God used the past two weeks to show me He has some great things in store for us. I really am excited to see what it will be!
Each Monday night, Cyndi and I lead a small group discussion group – a Community Group that delves deeper into the weekly message from Dean Inserra at City Church. As a group we honestly address issues that we face in our daily lives. Issues about faith, forgiveness, holiness, salvation, redemption, sharing our faith, living out our faith and generally what it means to be a real Christ follower.
Last night was another good time with some people who are really committed to Christ. One couple brought a friend – Michele. Michele will leave next week for a two year long mission to Hungary with the International Mission Board. I tend to ask a lot of questions and Michele intrigued me – so you can guess the rest!
Michele will spend her time building relationships with college students and members of the community she will live in. Her goals will be to disciple believers and lead them to a point of facilitating comm;unity groups when she leaves in a few years.
Although Michele will be paid to do this, aren’t each of us as Christ followers charged to dod the exact same thing? Isn’t our primary goal as a follower of Christ to share his love and glory with others? Doesn’t Jesus Christ himself leave us with a charge to go throughout all nations and teach others about Him?
I’m excited for Michele! She is embrking on an adventure that is beyond cool to me! I challenged our group to pray for Michele. I know I will.
As we closed our time together, Michele’s friends asked me to share a little of our story with Michele. While I look at our life and our actions as doing what God has called us to do, others seem to look at it with a different view. When I quit my job and began commuting 200 miles one way each week to facilitate this group and to offer my skill sets and knowledge to City Church, I did what I heard God telling me to do. He was in fact answering a prayer I’ve prayed for a very long time. I’ve begged God to let me be a part of a big movement of His. He is answering that right now! God is working through City Church in Tallahassee in a remarkable way! And I get to be a small part of it!
God has blessed us in so many ways. Last night I was reminded of the people He has surrounded us with and that may be the biggest blessing of all!