Seems the past week has gone like a blurr. This past Thursday night my buddy Carlos graduated from Ministry school, and began the next steps of his journey. It has been amazing to see how far Carlos has come since I cornered He, Martin, and PJ at the CC gym and shared a few items from my heart about the future of CC and their involvement in its leadership. I know i am NOT the only one that did so, however its amazing to see that all 3 of them are walking in ministry. Carlos the evangelist, Martin the missionary in China, and PJ the future Youth Pastor, WOW.
Friday, our family celebrated as i turned 35, but mind you i still feel 23. And if i could loose this 15 pounds that haunts my belly and buttocks and gain back a little muscle strength, i would feel that much better. Yeah that is the flesh talking, i admit it.
Friday morning, the Lord reminded me in so many ways of many of the moments in my journey that he had guided me through. So i reflected deeply on being a child, teenager, young adult, new married, and new parent. As i have written in the past, i reflect rather poorly. My choice to live fully, sometimes lacks in the calm to reflect. So i work harder to do so. Again it is the reason for my newer discipline of journaling through blogging.
Friday and Saturday were full of people. Humans that I value as co-laborers to the gospel, as friends, and as family. Its funny, as i begin this list, i am cautious to state that this list is so small compared to the many upon many humans that impact my life each day. So please see this list as a beginning of the effect, and a genuine gratitude for their lives. The Alfreds, Michael's call to students and families, Shelly's ability to see what really is happening, and their daughter, Nadia, bringing joy to their family and ours. The Halls, Michael and Adie the prayer warriors. The constant reminders to our lives that love and grace wins. And their daughter Charlotte, what a princess, what a doll. The Hollis. Chris and Colleens love for our son's. Our joy of watching their children walk through the later stages of childhood, and becoming young adults. The Thomas'. Clint and Jody, what a fun couple. Pastor Clint's heart to be a pastor to his family first. Andtheir 2 little ones, Livi and Calan. Then there is 3 of my little bro's. Phil stopped in town for a quick drink and conversation at Panera. Its hard to believe that he is such a man. Still so many things i want to share and discuss with him, but all in good time. The Lord is working on his heart, i just see it. Stephen and Ben, joined us as well. Again, what an amazing sight to watch young men, become men in the midst of trial, growth, and a longing to love Jesus more and more.
Saturday, a small group of us headed up to spend the day at Barefoot Republic to work on the campus, we are so close to camp time. I rode up with Carlos and Zack Self. Zack has been a topic of conversation for the Pastor's of SLOWBURN lately. He is a young man, who has a lot of call on his life. As we rode up to Barefoot, i asked Carlos to share his story with Zack. And he started this way, "Well Zack, I was once lost, but now i am found." I loved it. Over time Los began to lay out all God had been up to over the past few. Then we asked Zack to share his story. A young man who has been in "church" and under wonderful "teaching" most of his life. A young man, who at 18 is still looking for his identity. The Lord laid a few words of encouragement on my heart for Zack in this area. The greatest being this; in our lives, especially as men, we are often looking for identity. As a young man, in what i can do. As a father, in how i lead my family, etc, etc. However in each of these, i must always return FIRST to my identity in Christ. That in EVERYTHING my identity and who i am is found in the grace of God on the cross. Not by my power and strength but in His. I am convinced in there will be more discussion about Zack in the days to come. Los and I seemed to come up with a metaphor about him like this; Zack you are a piece of coal with a diamond inside. But nobody can see that diamond. As you die daily to yourself. Jesus will begin to chip off some of that coal, and the sparkle will begin to attract attention. You will reflect the savior. So grab hold of that identity and grow!
Also on our road trip was Pete Chod, Ben Scott, and Seth King. Man what a group of guys. We busted it for about 5 hours and then set off to the great metropolis in Scottsville, however on our way ran into a "bait shop" across the street from the camp. So we stopped in and got a ham, cheese, and mustard sandwich. Not sure what to say about eating at a bait shop except that it was quite an experience. We finished up the day at the camp, mowing, bush hogging, digging, cutting down trees about 2pm, and headed back to Nashville. Carlos and I continued to talk about all the Lord was up to, and how to seek him more in the midst. Man i like what the Lord is doing in that guys heart.
Our family finished the day at Olivia Bledsoe's graduation party from Ravenwood High. I have been Olivia's pastor in some shape or form since she was in 4th grade. So it was an honor to stop by her party briefly and celebrate with her family. This years graduates from my years at CC also included; Cameron Lee, Erin Banks, Megan Alonzo, Bekah Lemonds, Chase Lemonds, SarahCardente, Maggie Hardwick, Sarah Cage, Jacob Galloway, Taylor Dixon, Alyssa Abraham, AngelaSessler, Brandon Baker, Haylie Murray, Jake Daniel, Matthew McClure, Kirk Duclos, Lauren Black, Marshall Bolton, Michael Robinson, and Trey Long. I am sure there are many others, but that is who i could remember off hand. Again most of which i have known since 4th grade or before. What an honor to see them head off for their next steps. May the Grace, Peace, and Glory of Jesus, chase them...
Sunday we traveled to PA to visit family. Which took us to the Watsontown area on Monday for memorial day celebration at Max's home. What a gorgeous day!! Nate and Justus loved the pool. The sun was very warm and the water very cold, and the boys and i had a blast. Justus, loves to push the limits in the water, so i had to jump in a few times to get him back to the end of the pool he could stand up in. He has such an adventurous spirit. Nate began to walk to today on his own. That was a big moment, as Jess says often, he chooses not to, its not ability, and he proved that again to day as he took steps on his own. Jess and I both thanked Max for taking the time to put together this extended family time. This is one of the holidays my wife's family grew up spending at her Gram and Paps. And with their return to the Father in the past few years, if it weren't for a few moments like these, our boys would never know their extended family. Which is so important to us.
Today ended with some time working on a few little projects for pop. Running a LAN cable fornance's computer, adding RAM, working on toilets, etc. We ended the night at Dave and Emily's house for a Spaghetti and meatballs dinner, mmmm, good.
Tomorrow, i interview with GCCC just outside of Philly. Jess and I continue to thank God for all he is up to in our lives in Nashville. Obviously we have heard God's call on our lives, so if being a part of this community is what He has for us next in the pastorate, then so be it. However, at this point i have not yet heard the Lord say that this is "the" move for us. So we will continue to stay plugged in Nashville, "Fully Present" if you will until we hear his voice.
The word says to ask, seek, and knock. So i will do so even as i finish up tonite. Let your voice be clear Lord, let us walk in your ways, to do your will. For we love Jesus first, peace..