Thursday, August 13, 2009

Refreshing Rain & Beginning Again

Kim and left CA at 4:42 AM this morning and drove to Tacoma. We arrived at 6:00ish (too tired to notice the exact time...I'm a morning person). We left three really hot, Sacramento days that had us sweltering. I know it's not hot like the South or like Houston, TX, but my theory is that anything over 100 is just hot -- dry or not.

Entering into WA today, God greeted us to our new home with a Texas style thunderstorm. They don't have too many of them in this part of the world, but the two I've witnessed are amazing. The thunder, lightning, rainbows -- all of it, was just wonderful. It was very refreshing to see, smell and take in.

I've now moved from New Mexico to Texas to the Bay Area of CA to Sacramento to Seattle. For the first time, I'm going to live in a world filled with God's refreshing rain. The words of the Christian song, "Send Your Rain" come to mind. It's going to be a great opportunity for a new experience in life and a new beginning for a new chapter of life.

Love to hear your ideas on making adjustments. Good advice is something I never get too much of.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ministry Screamin' Style, August 3rd, 2009

I'll have to begin with an explanation of the title. One of my favorite rides at Disneyland is named, "California Screamin'." It's a unique experience. Most roller-coasters are designed with the same beginning. You get in, strap down and start by climbing a hill. You can hear the click, click, click as you notice how slowly you are climbing away from the earth before you plummet to the depths below. Not for those riding CA Screamin'. You strap in, stop and listen to a countdown, "In five, four, three, two, one...," and you take off. You shoot up the first hill going from zero to sixty in four seconds and drop 108 feet as you crest the 120 foot rise.

As we get ready to depart from CA and head to our new home in WA, I'm torn between the two experiences. Since we made our decision on April 26th, it has felt more like the traditional slow ascent. However, with one week to go, it starting to feel more like CA Screamin'. You know the anxiety you feel on the traditional rise of a coaster? You have that same anxiety on Screamin', you just don't have as much time to think about it. The thrill is the same for both, but there is something very attractive about the take off with speed and power that keeps me coming back for more.

Paul gave us all some good advice about times when life feels like a roller-coaster: Put the past behind and press on forward toward the upward call of God. One of my friends put it this way, "Never look back." Others say, "Bloom where you're planted." It's pretty much the same message no matter how you put it.

Right now my stomach is filled with anxiety and excitement. I've been waiting along time but have that nervousness that comes with the unknown. A sadness persists knowing that relocating changes everything. Regrets roll around as you question the "could haves" and "might have beens." There is the enticement of an open book that has yet to be written in just as you're hesistantly recording your latest thoughts in a journal with only a couple of pages left.

The good news is this: heaven awaits us all. People have all kinds of heavenly expectations. One of mine is reunited friends and an eternal party that gives us a chance to really experience fulfillment.

This time next week I'm going to Disneyland. I'm going to strap in and listen to that countdown. I'll be nervous, scared, excited...all at the same time. For those of you wondering...that's pretty much how life feels right now.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Moving In Ministry

Making a move is a very difficult choice in life. Moving in ministry is even tougher. Unlike many ministers I've talked to, Kim and I have never "had" to move. We have felt "called" to move.

We worked in Ft. Worth, Texas for fourteen months as our first work. When the minister left, we knew it was time to move forward. While we could've stayed, we didn't have the skill and experience to handle what that congregation needed. We also know our choice to serve there was really a choice to serve with the minister more than with the congregation. We left.

At the same time, we felt strongly led to the church in Livermore, CA. We had never heard of Livermore, but the people were wonderful and God really matched us up with the right church at the right time. Many of the teens from that era (1988 - 1995) refer to that as the "glory days" youth ministry. It was certainly a blessing for our family. Ashley was born three weeks after we arrived, Josh came 14 months later and Livermore helped us grow and mature.

In the fall of 1994, I became aware of some financial difficulties facing the church. We had some really tough times in the leadership, but had weathered those storms and moved past several difficulties. When we realized the church was only two months away from operating in the red and laying employees off, I sent out one resume to one church -- Cordova.

Cordova was again, the right church at the right time. While we could've stayed at Livermore, the congregation there wasn't in a position for me to preach and teach and write. They still needed me to wear more than a dozen hats. Cordova on the other hand was prepared and ready to help me focus my ministry in a new direction. Josh and Ashley started and completed school in Cordova.

Now, the next chapter. . . .