Tag Archives: Appreciation

Let’s Run A Little Farther- A Conversation with my Wife

“Come on, let’s do 8.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, we’ve already run 7.5.”

This was the conversation as we neared the end of our long run in the rain on Sunday evening. I was taken aback a little bit at her wanting to squeeze out another half-mile. It was the longest either of us had ever run continuously. But we ran on, passing the end of the driveway as it called for us to stop short, and finishing mile 8. Even though our legs felt like jello, we felt confidence that we would be able to run the half-marathon coming up in a couple of short months.

On the drive home, we began talking about what the call of God is for us right now. “I’m not sure it was God’s will to plant a church in downtown. I thought it was, but now I don’t know; I feel like I have no clue what He wants us to do.”

Her response was, 1) “I’ve been praying about that,” and 2) “I think we’re doing what we need to be doing.” My fears that our ministry is insufficient melted. Just like when she said, “Let’s run a little farther,” I felt an assurance and a push to keep on going.

I’m thankful for a partner to run the race with, a godly wife that is there for me, as I try to be there for her.

Advertisements

To My Wife- Thanks for Making Me a Better Man

(With my love on Valentine’s Day 2015 at Montgomery Bell State Park)

I want to pay tribute to a few ways my wife has made me a better man recently.

She talks to me about news and current events. She shares stories with me that she thinks I will be interested in. We had just watched a video about the current state of affairs between Israel and the U.S., and she said to me, “I wish there was something we could do to support Israel.” I’m glad she shares my burden to change the world.

We went out to eat after church on Wednesday night. It was unusual, but we had few groceries at home and we needed dinner. A man came up to us and asked if we were Apostolic. I told him that we were. He told us that he works for a trucking company owned by an Apostolic. We spoke a few words, then he left. A few minutes later, Julie said, “I wish we would have said more to him or prayed for him. Maybe you can still catch him?” I had thought the same thing, but I’m not sure I would have gone out and looked over a good portion of the semi-truck parking area if she had not encouraged me to do so. I didn’t find the man, but I believe we encountered him just so I could experience my wife’s heart more intimately.

I see how my sons grow and thrive under her care and teaching, her commitment to being at home so their mother is present with them, and I think about how much different it would be if she wasn’t committed to a godly home. She makes sure they know how much I love them and that my time working is so they can have things they need and enjoy. “Thanks daddy for working so hard so we can eat out,” she might say. I never need the thanks, but she deserves so much thanks for teaching them to love and respect me as their dad. I hope I do the same for her as their mom.

To my wife, for all the ways she makes me better and helps me grow. I love you more than you’ll ever know!

The Top Six Church Planting Lessons I Learned In 2013

20131215-052503.jpg

It has been a year since my family and I resumed our journey with The Lord in planting a new church. We’ve had tremendous victories and unexpected setbacks, but Jesus has guided us all the way. While there is still much to learn, I wanted to go ahead and write out my lessons learned thus far in the journey in hopes you will be uplifted by them.

The Power of Stepping Back
We needed time to heal and regroup after several years of ministry busyness, but the vision for a church in downtown Jackson never left us. We spent 2 years in a detour that took us to a place where we could rest, heal, and realize the blessings God had given us in spite of the struggles. Serving under Pastor Harold Jaco helped me see the kind of leader and minister of the gospel God wanted me to be, because he demonstrated it for me. He and his church loved me and my family in a way we can never fully repay. But we are doing the best we can by going on to do the real work He has called us to.

The Power of Saying “No”
Last spring, we had the opportunity to partner with someone who could provide a building for our new work. The problem was this person had a negative reputation from his past involvement in church building. In spite of him saying he wanted minimal involvement and no leadership role in the work, I was uneasy with having a partnership with this individual. So we said no. Since that time, we actually have been given the vision for a network of house churches with a slow buildup to renting a facility.

The Power of Saying “Yes”
My wife and I decided to find out what is going on in our community to address the issue of abortion. We found out that other than the crisis pregnancy center, there was no other on-the-ground effort to raise awareness or do advocacy in our county. So we said yes to the chance to start a Right To Life chapter, and it was not a minute too soon. There is a major battle going on in Tennessee concerning our state constitution having an implicit right to abortion and the way the court ruling that decided this has struck down laws that were protections for women and unborn children. With a public referendum coming in November 2014 that will allow the people to amend their constitution and right this wrong, it’s all hands on deck. God sets forth the path for each of us and it is important to know when to say “yes.” Your “yes” may be the answer to someone’s prayers.

The Power of a Jump Start
We made no big strides toward starting the daughter work in the first 1/3 of the year or so. We took our time getting ourselves and our children acclimated to our new church. But in April, an evangelist came to our pastor asking for assistance with a tent revival in Jackson. My pastor realize that this would be a good opportunity to build contacts within the community of our calling. But it forced me to get in gear and jump into an effort that would prove valuable in putting us where we are today. We started our first home group from the participants of that revival and we continue to have meaningful relationships as a result.

The Power of Habit Over Intention
In spite of the jump start, there was a period of weeks in which we had to make major decisions about how we spent our time and where we placed our effort. We had established patterns and habits that we had to adjust or outright breaking in order to make church planting a priority. So it is with all decisions in life. Good intentions and a strong calling will not be enough.

The Power of Persistence
This is a lesson that is ongoing. We have hit bumps in the road along the way, but we have to keep going. We’ve made mistakes, but we have to learn from them and keep going. We’ve had to apologize, and even when the apology was not accepted, we had to keep going. Jesus continues to show Himself in ways great and small. We have had to be patient as some have decided not to continue with us in our ministry. We have had to bear with people through loss and sorrow and setback. But it is worth it when those people appreciate our prayers and use the word of God that we have been teaching them to find their way through the trials.

Do any of these lessons ring true with you? What would you share with me from your experience in the ministry? Let me know in the comments.

Involuntary Commitment

I buy things at the store, or walk in a park, or drive my car, and sometimes think to myself, “I am now old enough that I choose to do this.”  When I was a kid I would never have been allowed to do some of the things I do or make some of the decisions I make on my own.  I can’t really remember where the line fell between childhood and adulthood, but at some point I became old enough and generally responsible enough to make good decisions.

It would help us adults a lot to remember that kids do almost everything under the direction and as a result of the decision of an adult- involuntarily.  The older a child gets, the more they have things they want to do and get to do when they want to, but even those choices are subject to the needs or wants of someone else.  They are generally powerless to get what they want, on their own, without consent.

It would serve us well as parents or adults that have some role in the life of a younger person, to remember this fact when those children get testy, resistant, or defiant.  When young people aren’t afforded safe opportunities to make choices, they will begin to make the choices we certainly don’t want them making, and usually behind our backs.  Whether it’s throwing Spaghetti O’s or going to a friend’s house without permission.

We have to at least appreciate the fact- children can’t choose for themselves.  And as a result, we should try to offer them choices where we can.  And think about it in this way, as I have- I get more pleasure out of seeing my kids get to do something they like, than I do out of making them do things they don’t.

Appreciation

It’s more than a simple thank you-

It is ascribing worth to something worthy.

It is recognizing value in what is truly valuable.

It is being awestruck by that which is awe-inspiring.

It is having respect for that which is formidable.

It is losing your breath at that which is truly breath-taking.

It is never taking for granted those relationships that are truly significant.

It is the distance between knowing and loving, the difference between owning and cherishing.

It is more than presence, it is passion.

It is greater than self, it is larger than life.

It is resident in man, but provided by God.