I’ve been wanting to push something into this space for a while now. I just could never put a finger on what it was.
Lately I’ve been thinking about this crazy, uprooted season of life we’re in and I’m stirred when I consider that every little moment is all a part of what God is doing in and through us both presently and in our future ministry endeavors.
If I’m not mistaken, there are others out there who are like me. We know what it was like to hear/feel/discern/sense the call to ministry. We understand the meandering that makes up the next few weeks, months….and years. We know what it’s like to not know what’s next. Uncertainty becomes the new norm and trust in the midst of that uncertainty becomes the new banner over us.
Praise God we have men and women, led by God in their own right, who have sought to slide in next to us. Their message? “This is what’s important in the call to the pastorate.” “These are the need-to-know’s when you’re headed to the mission field.” “It may be difficult, but the call to be a godly spouse is both sacrificial and sacred.”
The advice at our disposal makes me blush.
But lately I’m realizing that lost in the countless amount of things proposed to us, there aren’t many places anyone can hear from us.
Just a quick post to pass this along. I regularly revisit the collection of sermons from the 2014 Desiring God Conference for Pastors, primarily because of the conference’s theme for that year – “The Pastor, the Vine, and the Branches: The Remarkable Reality of Union with Christ.”
The first sermon was from Dr. John Piper and remains the best exposition of John 15:1-11 I’ve ever listened to. I’m encouraged by Piper’s handling of the text here and my heart soars with every listen at the beauty of this doctrine that seems so difficult to lay hold of.
A video of Piper’s sermon is below and all the messages from the conference can be found at Desiring God’s website.
I get it. Twenty-eight isn’t that far down the line. And looking at my stage of life, I wasn’t as “ingrained” as one could be at that age, but still. Relatively speaking, my wife and I were enjoying life where we were. We were surrounded by close friends, both our families live in our hometown, I was on staff at a great church, and on and on it goes. To say we were comfortable is an okay way to describe it. To say that’s why we left would be missing it completely.
I’ve read the books about risking and forsaking. I’ve heard the stories of God’s provision when it just didn’t seem like things would be possible. But I don’t number my own story among those, really. At least not yet anyway.
There were and are easier ways to do this. Online education is completely in vogue. And more to the point, online seminary training is making waves because who wants to leave their church? So what was it that moved us to, well, move us?
One day I hope to make a more formal case for residential seminary training, but what you’ll find here is me as purely as I can manage.
Over a year ago we responded to the call to step away from a ministry position I’d held for 7+ years to move halfway across the country for seminary training. In a lot of a ways it has felt like starting over. New town. New friends. New church. New stories to carry. New brothers and sisters to trust with carrying our own.
During my time at Midwestern,
I’ve had the privilege of working alongside Jared C. Wilson at the For the Church website.
But long before my arrival on campus, Jared’s voice was influential in renewing my gospel focus as a 20-something in ministry and I continue to be grateful for the way God uses him as each new title is published.
On May 2nd, Jared’s latest book, The Imperfect Disciple, will be released to the wild. If anything is certain, we can trust it will fit its billing as a book written about discipleship for “people who screw up, people who are weary, people who are wondering if it’s safe to say what they’re really thinking.”
If you’re headed to Indianapolis next week for the TGC Conference, you can pick it up early. Otherwise, you can pre-order from Amazon or ChristianBook.com today.
Perhaps it was like any other night – a jail full of captives under the watchful eye of a faithful guard in the evening’s waning hours.
It was midnight and the guard had fallen asleep to the sounds of prayers and hymns, acclamations made by Paul and Silas despite their seemingly hopeless circumstances. The two had been dragged into the marketplace, mocked and beaten, carried away to prison, and placed in the innermost cells where their feet were fastened into stocks. With no other recourse, praise seemed appropriate.
Their voices reverberated off the prison walls (the passage tells us other prisoners were listening) and, at one point as they prayed and sang, the earth began to shake. The rumble of the ground breaking, the very foundations of the jail trembling. The doors of the prison cells flung wide, the prisoners’ bonds were now loosened.
The guard, awakened by the chaos and instantly panicky, rose to find the prison doors now open. Supposing the prisoners had already escaped and resolving to avoid the shame of it all, he reaches for his sword and goes to turn it on himself. For this guard, saving face would mean losing his life. Or so he thought.
“Christ did not die to forgive sinners who go on treasuring anything above seeing and savoring God. And people who would be happy in heaven if Christ were not there, will not be there. The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God. It’s a way of overcoming every obstacle to everlasting joy in God. If we don’t want God above all things, we have not been converted by the gospel.” – John Piper, from God is the Gospel
Recently I was joking with someone about what blogging typically looks like, i.e. a collection of 10 or so posts that all begin with: “Man, it’s been a WHILE since I’ve written. I’m about to get back on it and keep at it!” Over and over again. A vicious cycle.
We’ve had a great summer in KC and even got to see a lot of Georgia friends since the last time I posted an update. If you follow any of my social media, you’ll know I am pretty enthusiastic about the changes in weather up here. This afternoon, we ate lunch. On our porch. Outside. In peace. With no gnats. And didn’t sweat. All of the words in that description matter. And we even survived our very first earthquake with minimal damage! Incredibly minimal actually. So minimal that I created my own. CNN had all the coverage and if you scroll down you’ll see that I became moderately famous for a day.
Alas, the fall looks like it’ll be beautiful here and we’re excited. So on with the updates…
Just a quick update for those who care a tiny bit about our transition to Kansas City… Probably just our moms, but that’s okay too.
At Home We’ve landed in a cozy, little 2 bedroom apartment in Kansas City’s “Northland” (basically the area north of the Missouri river). We haven’t met many neighbors yet, but we will soon now that the weather is halfway decent. We’re up in a third floor apartment so we’re certain our downstairs neighbors love our 90 lb. bumbling bundle of puppy joy – our dog Ramsey. Our seminary doesn’t allow pets on campus, but we’re about a 10 minute drive to both the seminary and to downtown Kansas City which is great.