Monday, May 18, 2009

You don't really know someone until you create with them

Today i had the honor doing something i have not done before, but thought i would really enjoy.  I got to be part of a team of 4 guys that designed a 9 hole Disc Golf course on the Barefoot Republic property in Scottsville, KY.  This means i spent an intense amount of time with a few guys. And to borrow a saying from our current presidents brother in-law "You don't really know someone til you get them on the Disc Golf course and create with them".  Ok so its slightly skewed, but it applied incredibly today.

The team was led by a veteran designer named Ron Pittman.  Ron is a 50 something, that has an incredible amount of energy and genius, and a genuine understanding of human beings. Most of this understanding being at a comical level.  I will spend a few minutes on my new buddy Ron in a minute, however I also spent this time with Keith Mason @keithmason. Keith is an old friend, youth ministry parent, and loves to be with others that are walking with Jesus.  So Keith and i have reconnected thanks to disc golf, and a mutual suspicion that God is up to something in our world.  The final gentlemen in this equation is the director of Barefoot and its visionary Tommy Rhodes.  There is not enough to say about Tommy, however i will begin my summation with this "Tommy knows his dreams for barefoot are often 'crazy', however it is that logic that seems to drive him to see how far God wants to take this organization."  Admittedly, each of these men attribute qualities that i hope to someday also shine as i serve Christ.

Ok, so back to Ron.  Ron runs a business locally call Southeastern Painting and in his spare time runs the local Disc Golf community in Williamson County (he is the man to thank for having 18 great holes at Crockett Park).  However, it seems after talking to Ron, to be more of an ends to a means, than his heart.  Ron has been involved in ministry for a long time, practically since he was in highschool.  He has had his share of victories and sorrows while serving in the church.  He has 3 children, one almost my age, so when Ron speaks, i do my best to listen up. What i most enjoy thus far about Ron is his genuine love for his God, his family, and specifically his son Ryan.  Ryan has down syndrome, which the more i listened to Ron, Ryan's handicap is just a great opportunity for their family, daily.  So my day was blessed about great conversations about the modern church, the local body of believers biblical call, and how each of us fits in it as families and individuals, which led often to the tangibility of that.

As for the course, i want to personally invite you (without Tommy's permission mind you) to come up after June 1st and play the course with us.  Its about an hour and 1/2 drive toScottsville KY from Nashville.  But trust me, when this puppy is done, playing 18 up there will be worth it. The creating process, really was great to be a part of, and i can't wait to put the sweat equity into it over the next 2 weeks to get it ready.  Any of you that would be interested in being part of the team to make this happen let me know, i will be glad to plug you in.

Being around a group of good men like these 3, helps me to often take stock of the life the Lord has given me to live.  I turn 35 on Friday, and the Lord is continuing to reinvent me as a pastor each day.  Again, almost to a comical level.  Right now, the Lord continues to use me to serve the existing cities of First Priority for encouragement and growth, serve my buddies church plantSLOWBURN, connect to Barefoot Republic, serve a few youth groups in Nashville for camp this summer, and walk along side a number of young men and women that are working through their ministry call.  As most of you know, like so many nonprofits world wide, First Priority has fell on tougher times financially.  So our family is a few months behind on receiving paychecks.  Yet, the Lord has not only provided for every bill, he has also streamlined what it is that i do well, and placed me in those giftings.  He has truly taught me that He is our families provider, He is my source for what it is I do. 

This also leads me to a genuine thankfulness for the family he has given.  My wife (Jessi) is an unbelievable blessing for our family.  First as my love, man i am overwhelmed with her grace, trust, and poise as we serve in the ministry and we learn these lessons of provider together.  On top of that, she is an incredible children's minister to our kids, in fact i am so sure of her talent i would put her side by side with any out there.  But i don't have too, instead she finds great joy in being our full time children's minister at my home. You know that's right! Then our boys, i am not sure how to appreciate our boys enough to Jesus. All i can say is, if you have never heard the stories of God's graciousness to our family through the gifts (miracles even) of Justus and Nate you need to.  I was in the midst of each, and i still say WOW when i think about them.

I will close with this thought. Tomorrow is a special day.  It is the day that a bunch of Jesus followers have chosen to set aside to pray and fast for an organization i mention often calledKeza.  They are in dire straits financially, and yet are bursting at the seems, with their creative team exploding, their internship blooming, their women run businesses and ministries sprouting, it truly is an awesome time to see what THE LORD can do when men and women lay down what they have created so they may walk in what He has for them.  I would appreciate any of you that can to spend some time reflecting for the needs in East Africa and KEZA.  And fasting, the bible is clear in Ephesians " the battle is not flesh and blood but of the Spirit."  The enemy is taking pop shots at the people of God and we will not stand for it.  So tomorrow we battle, because this kind "comes out" through prayer and fasting. I thank you in advance for being a part. And i will report back with the victory announcement when it comes, so we can all celebrate together.  Til then, His Peace, His Grace, and His Glory - Pastor Steve

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