Settling in?

Well, here we are, me and my Honey and our short hairy kids, 20 days into the transition of this new ministry opportunity and things are slowly beginning to feel like normal. Well, actually it has felt like we were supposed to be here all along. It was part of God’s divine plan for our lives. We know we are in the right place.

Several years ago a friend of mine began a new ministry in the Kern Valley (where we have lived for the past 19 years, and still call home even during this transition). The day he moved in, I think it was in June, it was the hottest day of the year so far at 110! Plus the humidity was up around 30%! For a guy who was moving from the Central Coast, he was ready to melt! Thing is, he was moving into a home. He had a place to get cool and could relax at the end of the day.

My honey an I have chosen (key word here) to “live” in our travel trailer until we can find an actual home to be in when we are over at the church for various functions. We can get cool where we are, sure, but its still a big metal box in the Mojave Desert! And yes, the church has cooling capabilities but no real place to just relax very well.

It’s been like camping with perks. We don’t have to shower in the trailer, there is a shower in one of the buildings making it feel like a campground shower. There is a kitchen where if we don’t want to cook in our trailer we cook in there, kinda like a KOA community kitchen, just without the other people.

Currently we are sitting in the fellowship hall both writing blog posts! Kinda like a community social hall at a campground only mid-week when nobody is around. We did have a spruce up day today here at the facility and it went very well despite the 100+ temperature! There were more people then sitting at the tables we are at, it was a good day!

We have plans on utilizing our ministry style – having an open home, both floor plan and hospitality, as soon as God opens the door for us. I for one hope it comes very soon. I’m looking forward to getting more plugged into the community and the neighborhood we are meant to be in. A pool would be nice too! (Jus’ sayin’ it would be nice God!)

All in all, this has been a good few weeks. Tomorrow is Father’s Day and some of my kids and grand-kids will be together at our oldest daughter’s house for a BBQ. Some good friends will be over to see us at church, and our new church family is very welcoming, accommodating, helpful, and excited about the future (and even some of the changes coming down the road)!

I’m still doing life without socks (except for today 8~\  only because of the work involved and being on ladders), so life is good!

I have a couple of friends who have lived in their RV’s for a period of time, one for over a year, the other for seven years!!! I don’t think I have that kind of stamina, but I’m not telling God “no” in this!

Shalom Y’all!

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Joining a Ministry Family…12 Days In…

Well, here we are, 12 days into this new adventure of being the pastor of Ridgecrest 4Sq Church! It feels good, very natural so far. I drive around the town and it feels like I’ve been here for a while. Of course it doesn’t hurt that we have had one or more of our kids living here for the past eight years.

It actually got started before the first of the month when I officially took the helm of this dessert ship. I got a message a few days before the 1st from one of the NA members about the toilets overflowing!!! I called my “facilities fix it dude” and he was aware of it the problem. Apparently it has been happening for a while. There is apparently a trick to running the kitchen water and timing it with the flush of the toilets! Gotta love old buildings!!!

So along with the plumbing issues, there have been my first council meeting, internet troubles, water leaks in the swap cooler lines, no air conditioning in what is to be my office…minor glitches (not the council meeting!)…nothing this pioneering spirit and his awesome Honey can’t handle!

The people here are great and very welcoming, ready for what God is going to do! My first message was well received and we’ve even had people who haven’t been around for a while stop by to see what’s going on. Maybe that’s due to the fact that we parked our travel trailer out back of the church!!! Insert “You might be a redneck preacher if…” comment here!

I think our short hairy kids are taking it the worst. I went back over the hill for a school board meeting and took them with me. They were glad to be in their familiar yard and home. They stayed in this position on our bedroom floor though for about two hours…

IMG_1399[1]They are pretty adaptable “kids” though and have fun running around the church property and hanging out in the main building while I do stuff in my office. Don’t worry, they will survive!!!

Becoming a desert rat is not something I ever real figured would be in a description of me. I’ve always been a cool weather person. But hey, my shorts and flip-flops fit in very well here! And besides…there is beauty in the desert that happens no other place…

IMG_1400[1] Even with the wires of the city, there is beauty that only God can provide when you stop to look around!

Shalom peeps!

And remember…always remember…try something without socks…life’s just too short!!!

Mr. Skiddles, room Mom!

One of the things that has been keeping me occupied these past few months has been spending time with these crazy people…
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These are my seventh graders at one of the best schools on earth in my opinion, South Fork Middle School.

Yes, I said MY! Not that I am their teacher, although had I not been chosen for the vocation of pastor, I would most likely gone into teaching. Well, that or stuntman, there’s not a big difference when you are talking about Middle School kids!!!

I had gone to science camp with this group last year when they were sixth graders and we had a great time. This past Fall this group of young people got hit with an unfortunate memory they will have for the rest of their lives…the loss of a classmate due to possible suicide!

Suicide is a devastating way to leave those behind…so many unanswered questions…so much self-blame…so much pain! Add in being a 12-13 year old with the onset of puberty and all its ugly monsters and you’ve got a recipe for the prefect storm.

When the tragedy hit our small school (24 in 7th grade, only 120 in 5th-8th grades combined) we were hit hard. I met on a Sunday afternoon with our superintendent and some other key faculty to set up our game plan for the coming week. I was going to be with the seventh graders since I had a connection already.

After our camp trip last year, I had wanted to spend time with these kids, crazy right? A guy who has raised his own kids and is working on grand kids actually wanting to spend time in a classroom with seventh graders!!! These kids are very good kids and part of my calling in ministry is to minister to all.

Well after our tragedy I rescheduled my schedule so that I could spend a few hours a couple days a week in their homeroom class. It’s really not that hard to find three or so hours two or so days a week to give to someone else who needs you.

Well after a while the kids, as they will, began playing with my name. Having the last name of Siddle, it wasn’t hard for them! I’ve been used to it my whole life, no worries here! But the fun part came when they added the moniker “Room Mom”! You see there is a bias that happens in schools that mostly mom’s are the ones who volunteer in classrooms!

Guys! Buck up and find some time to be in the classroom and not just on the sports field with kids who are not your own! (More on that in a later post)

Back to MY kids…Today was our last day of school, so we had a party. They could have had it any day this week but when they found out Friday was the only day I could be there due to being out of town for #Connection15, they chose today!!! I’m glad they did. I just wish these future leaders of the Class of 2020 would quit making my eyes sweat!!!
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Oh, and there is another thing! This is one thing I had to do with socks on. You see, we have a no flip-flop policy on campus. A policy I broke today, the last day of school, and ended up getting my first blue slip of the year! Life is good!

Joining a ministry family…part three…

Well, my Honey and I had our meet-n-greet with Ridgecrest 4SQ Church our soon to be new home and family for ministry. It was a very nice and relaxed day with laughter and some tears thrown in for good measure!

We got over there about a half hour before the regular worship service and started chatting with some of the folks, shaking hands and saying ‘hi’ as people arrived. We were jokingly reluctant to pick a seat to sit in as we did not want to take anyone’s desired or preferred location. This happens a lot in churches unfortunately due to the fact that people are creatures of habit!

Well we chose a spot and as it turns out it was where one of the council members and his wife sit! Yeah, say to start out strong, right?
They were good natured about it but we will sit somewhere else next time.

We went out to lunch and shared some more of who we are with some folks, did some shopping, stopped by to see the kids and grand babies…it was a really good day!

Monday we set off to meet more of the big extended family…4SQ Connection 2015, our version of annual convention. Its been a really blessing worshipping with 4,000 or so family members, making connections and sharing our new adventure! This is gonna be a great new season of Gods work!

We know more each moment that where God is sending us is right where He has been preparing us to be over the past three years!!! We are being SENT…

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Joining a ministry family…

Last year ministry wise was a big change for me. My Honey and I had pioneered a non-denominational church plant way back in ’04. This came after my graduating from seminary classes in ’03 and some friends posing the question, “So, how do you start a church?”

We had opened our business, a Christian Coffee House the previous year and things were going well, why not plant a church too! Fast forward ten years and the demand of business owner and shepherd to a small church was taking its toll on us. Our marriage was struggling and we had began counseling in late 2012 to get that back on track (we were given a clean bill of health just a few months ago!).

The decision came to sell the shop and focus on ministry. My Honey threw out the question, “Why are we still here in this area? Maybe God has something else in store for us. Do you still get those listings for churches needing pastors?”

I had been subscribed to church job search websites for a long time, so we began to look again. I dusted off my resume, wrote a new cover letter and began sending out feelers. We came close to going to Central Washington around March of last year, but that was not where God wanted us to be. When that was a possibility I had contacted a long time friend and fellow pastor (Neal) who had just merged his ministry with another church he had grown up in.

Their plan was to have three campuses serving together in the community but they didn’t want to move into my area of the valley without partnering with us or if by chance I wasn’t going to be in the area. I had asked him if we did move North if they would bring our church into the fold and carry on the ministry. Well when Washington didn’t come through I sat down with God and had a long talk.

I came away with the sense that I would just be content in waiting for His timing and direction. It was closing in on Easter and I figured that no church would be going through the process of finding their new pastor for a while. I had it in my heart that sometime after Easter I would get another call for an interview or something.

Well the Monday after Easter my buddy Neal calls me to talk. It had been a few weeks since he had found out the Washington position had not gone through and wanted to see how things were going and what I thought God was doing now. We met for lunch the next day and then with the other pastor (Jon) and his wife that following Friday. God was at work and we talked about making the full merge with them.

The timeline was aggressive to make the merge, plus we had our trip to Alaska planned right in the middle of it. But it was what God wanted to do so we followed. It has given me a chance to reflect on my ministry calling and gain a fresh perspective as well.

When we joined up we still felt as though God was calling us out of the area and that this new merge may not be permanent. The plan was to get me licensed in Four Square and then just see what God was going to do. Well I started the process of licensing and we were six months into the merge. Neal, Jon and I sat down for a focus group kinda meeting…where are we, where are we headed, what’s the plan for the next six months?

Well, a couple weeks later I get a phone call from Jon and he’s telling me that they heard from the divisional supervisor of a position open about an hour East of us. They warned me when I joined up with Four Square that it was a family type relationship and that things like this happen a lot. Things like getting a phone call instead of the whole resume and searching process.

One of the big things we ask about life in ministry is this – What is God saying and what are you going to do about it?

A big part of my ministry family! Amie, My Honey, Me, Jon, and Neal (Stacy wasn't up there with us but she's a big part too!)

A big part of my ministry family!
Amie, My Honey, Me, Jon, and Neal (Stacy wasn’t up there with us but she’s a big part too!)


We decided to see what God was saying at that point. You’ll have to wait for my next post to see what I am doing about it though…

Enjoy your life and try it without socks!