Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Today I was Challenged

For a good period of time now i have been reading and digesting BLOGS. I have even contempleted working on one for my boys so they can know their adoption stories from our perspective written not just oral.

With that said, in the last day i have listened to a Catalyst podcast from a few years back with an interview from a man that i respect highly Mark Batterson (Pastor of National Community Church and Author of Wild Goose Chase) and been involved in a Youth Pastor Interview with Jeff McGukin (exec pastor of Valleydale Church in Birmingham Alabama). In both conversations, both of these good men have talked about the purpose and usefulness of a blogs, especially in the days to come. One last comment propelled me towards this decision.  Mark, took a moment and said, man bottom line, if no one ever read it again, i would its good for my soul.

So I am challenged.  Challenged to consider what it looks like in my life to add another discipline to my pursuit of Jesus.  Like blogging, journaling has never been one of the disciplines that i have found very consistant in my life.  It has never been the lack of desire, more the lack of good penmenship when it comes to journaling.  And who wants to write a journal to read and reflect on later, that they can't even read themself.  However, blogging brings new possiblities to this action, and i am for things that are good for my soul.

So i will begin today.  My first gut is to really tackle why calling it Vision Passion Faithfulness.  However, i believe that subject will be better explained a little later in my blogging career. Never the less there is a rythem to my madness, so i will share eventually.

Today i have the privlidge of listening to a Catalyst podcast previously mentioned on my drive to Huntsville, AL.  Included in it was references to a couple of books that i plan to add to my list to pick up off amazon in the future.  The first is a book by Mark, also previously mentioned.  It is called "In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day" - taken from the passage in 2 Samuel 23 : 20.  The basic premise is that at the end of our lives it will not be the things that we tried and failed that we will regret.  But instead the things that we never tried at all, most often because of fear of possible failure.  I am moved by Mark's consideration of this thought, especially with all of the circumstances that our family faces right now.

The second book is called the Fred Factor, by Mark Sanborn.  Now i must warn you i know nothing about Mark, only that this book has sold more than a million copies world wide.  So it is at least worth consideration for my bookshelf and possible reading list.  Admittedly, i am a Catalyst fan (first and foremost of Chad Johnson) so i take many items they suggest for granted that they will be incredible.

Just to touch on Podcasts right now, on the regular i am devouring Francis Chan's Stuff from his church, Catalyst, Rob Bell from Mars Hill Grand Rapids MI (Not Seattle... sorry that's an inside joke for Brad and John should they ever read), and an obscure one called The God Journey, by Brad and Wayne.  I am plans to add a few more Bill Johnson out of the west coast peaks my interest, and if SLOWBURN Nashville ever gets theirs up and running, i plan to add that as well.

My next discussion today, surrounded a man name Jeff McGurkin.  Jeff is the executive pastor at Valleydale Church in Birmingham, AL.  They are in search of a Senior High pastor to join their staff, and so after a short phone and email discussion, Jeff and I decided to have lunch at the halfway point in Huntsville.  Jeff has been in ministry for over 30 years.  Serving with a few mutual buddies of mine in the First Priority world.  He gave mad love to Chris Lane, the exec director of FP in Miami FL.  In our conversation Jeff impressed me, he was kind, genuine, authentic, seemed to really love the opportunities lying ahead with Valleydale and the struggles that would come with its new leg of the journey.  We talked alot about my background, both in life and ministry.  It was a really healthy conversation for me to consider ALL that God has done in strategically maneuvering me along His path throughout my life.  It also reminded me how much i love the possibility of serving a local church again.  Its funny, heading farther south was never on Jess and my radar, however going where Jesus has called us to is.  Our heart's content, "Here i am Lord send me" so we will see.

Anther point of conversation to day was with my Iron Group buddy, Doug.  Doug serves the youth division of the Assembly Churches in OK.  He is a good man, still trying to get into the rhythm of his new gig.  Doug and I had a great time sharing and praying for one another while we both were on drives.  We discussed one major thought, and that was as a minister of the gospel, "I have chosen not to major on the minors".  Bottom line being that i will not be split from my brothers and sisters in Christ over issues like, the use of tongues, the terms three persons, predestination or not, etc. At first look this sounds like a theological excuse.  And it has caused some self examination for how clearly i see what i believe biblically.  At the same time it also is a freeing belief that allows me to keep my heart, mind, soul, and strength focused on the main thing.  That is to love my Jesus with all of that, which causes a natural flow of loving my neighbor the same.  For Doug and I, the realization that the church has come light years on this subject brought much life in each of us.  In John 17:20+, it states that it is by our unity, my opinion majoring on the majors, that will cause the world to know us?  To me the minors cause splitting, which begins to look alot like religion.  Of which admittedly i run from.  So many more details and thoughts on that subject, but i will digress from there for now.

The day came to a close, i had the good fortune of running into a couple of young men who i have had the pleasure of ministering beside it the past.  First was Los (Carlos) whom is so in love with the Lord that he challenges me in my walk everyday.  Los will graduate from ministry school on the 21st of May.  If he only knew how proud i was of the man he is being molded into. The next was my buddy Jeremy.  He is a youth minister at Christ Church in Nashville.  He was in YP mode big time getting ready for a cool night of celebration with students and families concerning their latest grads from the purity classes offered there.  Its funny Jeremy has been with me since he was 17, and now he is 28 i think, its been fun to watch him grow into a man all these years.  Next i spent some time with my replacement at CC (twice over as a matter a fact) Michael Alfred.  Michael is the truly of a man of Character.  The kind of guy that a rattle snake would bite, and would blame himself for walking in his territory.  You know the type.  Loves God, Loves his wife and family, Loves the world.  He does not know it but i am a big fan, and miss our days of working together.  Finally, i got to spend a few moments with Sara Johnson.  Sara is piratically Jess and my daughter, however now she is an adult and too old to be my child :<)  I got caught up on her world as she drove me home from pee wee soccer practice, and asked her to consider a few ministry school options that i have relationship with for the year to come.  Only time will tell what God is going to do with that child, but i will enjoy watching her journey, as Jess and I pray for her.

Finally, let me take a moment to ask you to pray for my little man Justus.  A few days ago he fell while playing around and hit his mouth pretty good.  Yesterday we noticed that it was bruised and his tooth very loose.  The dentist has said he must have it out.  However, i believe i heard the Lord today clearly. So i called Jess and told her don't let them take it out yet, i need some time with him praying for its healing.  So tonite Justus and i prayed, my hand on his little mouth, he laughed all the way through, said my hand was tickling his face.  But he and i believe that God can heal this tooth, the root, and all that surrounds it.  I hope you will believe that with us.  We'll watch God and go see the dentist again on Thursday to make a final decision.

Thanks for reading, even if i am the only one.... HA!

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