Eeyore and Grace!

Do you have any Eeyore’s in your life?

The message God gave me for this past Sunday was on grace. I am a pastor for those who may not be aware. We are studying our way through the book of James on Sunday mornings at RC4SQ Church and had come to chapter four, verse six where James writes, “But He (God) gives greater grace.”

The definition of “greater” means that there is nothing better; nothing bigger; nothing grander; no-thing at all greater than the grace God gives to you or me. Grace is not a concept either; it is a Person, the Person Jesus Christ!

As I was putting together my notes and power-point during the week I had run across this posting on Facebook…

“One awesome thing about Eeyore is that even though he is clinically depressed, he still gets invited to participate in adventures and shenanigans with all of his friends. And they never expect him to pretend to be happy, they just love him anyway, and they never leave him behind, or ask him to change.”  (I added the picture)

eeyoreHaving been, and sometimes still feeling like Eeyore, I thought this statement was fantastic especially when looking at grace as the Person of Christ. You see, Jesus is that friend who invites me along for all the adventures and shenanigans. YES! It is OK to have shenanigans as a Christian, just within reason!

However, Jesus does not ask me to pretend to be something I am not, happy or otherwise. He does not leave me behind. He loves me anyway. As for change, He does that in and through me as He sees I am ready for it, then it is called growth and maturity.

I used Eeyore as my illustration because most everyone can relate to his situation. Tails fall off and we need help putting them back. Dark clouds do sometimes follow us around. People come into our lives that need help and have nowhere else to turn.

God even brought an Eeyore right through the front door of the church as some of us were still hanging around in fellowship. This Eeyore was in a mess. We helped how we were able. Did a follow-up this morning but cannot find the person.

What do we do? We stay available for the next time that tail falls off and we pray for God’s safety to be around and with this person. In short, we love this person anyway.

Look for the Eeyore’s in your life, love them anyway.

Oh, and did you notice…Eeyore does not where socks!

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Joining a ministry family…part two…

In the first segment of this series I mentioned that in ministry we often ask the question, ‘What is God saying and what are we going to do about it?’

When we merged our church with the Family at Faith Community we joined something larger than just a local church family, we joined in with The Foursquare Movement. Founded as an interdenominational organization with the intent and focus of evangelism, this larger family has now brought us into the fold. As I had shared previously, I have been going through the licensing process. Last month was my interview and recommendation before the board of directors. On April 30th the board voted and approved me and today I received my official License to Preach…

Officially Certified!

Officially Certified!

The original plan was that I would get licensed and be installed as associate pastor with Faith Community. That was until that phone call back in January, the one from our divisional supervisor about a church nearby that was in need of a pastor. Well as it turns out the pastor who has been there for over fourteen years is retiring this month, he was supposed to retire last year but didn’t feel right about it plus this year his wife is retiring from nursing so they get to retire together.

The church in need of a new senior pastor is in the community of Ridgecrest California. A small city in the Mojave Desert with a Naval Weapons Base as the main employer. It just so happens that our oldest daughter and son-in-love have lived there for several years, and our middle daughter and son-in-love go over there for visits quite often. This is a bonus as we will get to see them all more often together.

Well if you figured it out by now (and I know you have because you are all rather intelligent people who read my stuff), I am now the new senior pastor of Ridgecrest Foursquare Church!
Chuch pic
A small church with a rich history, loving people, and a hunger for what God has in store for us and the community as we serve together to advance the Kingdom of God!

This journey has been like no other I’ve experienced with changing leadership in churches before. Most of the time it has been a long drawn out process of resumes and interviews, this however has been so chill that it just feels so natural and planned out ahead of me for years. That is how God works after-all!

So after just a few short months of planning and prayer, my Honey and I will be starting another season of life and ministry as of June 1st! Prayers are appreciated for us and our new church family as well as our extended family at Faith Community!

And yes, this journey will be done mostly without socks of course! Is there any better way to live?

Hostels…an update on our travels!

So, my Honey and I have escaped to the last frontier for a16 day vacation!
She’s calling it our ‘backpacking through Alaska in a car’ experience!
In order to save on our overhead for the trip we are staying in hostels.
Many people do this world wide, and we figured this would be a great way to travel, meet people from many different places…and we have!
Anchorage was great! The Artic Adventure Hostel was great! Met many wonderful people…
Masa; the young Japanese man who was robbed of some of his items to go climbing on Denali. Now part of my stuff will be going with him along with my prayers for safety!
Will; the humanitarian worker from Panama we talked about Christian ministry and missions work opportunities!
‘The Professor’ didn’t catch his first name but had a great conversation about traveling and family!
Tiffany: our hostess, nice gal she should be on duty when we get back to Anchorage..
Many others who we didn’t get their names but enjoyed their company!
And then there was Rene’! I’m gonna call him my adventure brother from another mother. This guy is a gregarious German who shares my bald head choice! He’s on an adventure on motor bike from northern most Alaska to southern most Argentina! Talk about a bucket list item!
I’m going to dedicate a separate post for him later!
He left while we were gone yesterday but as we were headed to Seward today I see this motor bike and a guy in a turn out and it Rene’!
I flip a u-turn on the highway: Deena’s thinking I’m nuts til I tell her that’s Rene, we stop and exchange info; well I ave him a business card so he can email me!
Only in Alaska right?
Oh, and by the way, so far I’ve only worn socks for like five hours total since being here!
Shalom!
And our current location of bedding down…

Yeah, let’s just say the smell reminds me of my grandmothers house when I was a kid and its not as nice as Artic, but we are troopers and will motor through!

Please, wave with ALL your fingers!

I am sometimes truly amazed at the moments which cause me to go to the Lord in prayer. Sure, there are the “normal” times such as someone who is sick, the death of a loved one, protection during traveling, protection for your kids…

But sometimes the strangest thing can cause you to pray…

Like an old man going the opposite direction of me on a two lane highway while I am headed to the dump with a load of trash! I didn’t recognize him in any way. He was driving a pretty common truck for where I live. Things were not blowing out of the back of my truck. As he approached though I noticed his hand go up. This too is pretty common in our small community.

But there was the distinction in his “wave” that only the longest of his bony fingers had left the company of his other right hand digits!

It was a moment of, “Did that old guy really just do that? No way! Did he? Oh yeah, no doubt!” (This is not a normal conversation for me to have on the way to the dump.)

I immediately thought that this old guy must just be an angry old cuss…I was thinking, did I recognize him at all…nope….

“Well Lord, You know who he is and what he needs in his life, his struggles, whatever it is Lord I pray You take care of it.”

Then I began praying for anyone who drives a truck remotely like mine…maybe they had offended this man…maybe they were long time enemies…I prayed for them to have (or make) peace with the old guy!

Whatever the case may be for the old guy, I had a good time of prayer on my way to dump some garbage…

Maybe that was his need…to get rid of some garbage in his life. Oh well, God knows, that all that matters.

Thanks for checking in, I know it has been forever since my last post. Things have been good, God is at work. I will try to do better and report more often.

A longer lag than I had planned, but God is at work!

I’m sure I’m not alone here when I say, “Where has the time gone?” Are ya feeling me here? Don’t leave me hanging, I can sense some of your heads nodding…

It’s been 12 days since my last post, my apologies, let me fill you in on the “what’s what”, it’s been full of changes and advancement of God’s plan for our lives.

In my last post I mentioned the offer on our coffee house was made and we accepted. Have you ever been in a place for ten years and now you begin to look around, packing up certain things, cleaning up things, and reliving the memories? Yeah, its been just like that for us. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears have gone into this little mom-n-pop adventure. The memories of building a successful business out of nothing are encouraging as we move into the next chapter of God’s plan.

The next chapter is going to take just as much work and even more faith for it to be as successful as God intends it to be. (More on that in another post later) First, the things that have been taking my time these past weeks…

My Honey is today (Sat 7/27) at the crux of her trip to North Carolina to the She Speaks Conference to gain valuable insight in writing her book. As I write these words, she is meeting with her third publisher. The past couple weeks prior to her leaving was spent getting all her ducks in a row, which at times was more like herding cats! Me being the one who is her cheerleader through this, have been really trying to keep her up and going. She owns this time!

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Sticking her tongue out one last time!

Just days before her leaving, we had to put her 13 year old Cocker/Terrier mix down though. Maggie has been a big part of our family, but we just couldn’t see her suffer any more. She’s had breathing problems for quite sometime now. The boys (Murphy and Tekoa) got their chance to say goodbye when I brought her body home. They knew something was going on with the old girl for a week or so. They both had been “nice” to her. But they are a bit confused right now because just two days later my wife and I left and only I came home the next day. Me and some of the guys from church were joking last night about it over dinner that the boys were talking to each other that if Dad says, “Lets go for a ride, don’t do it! Look what happened to Maggie and where’s Mom by the way!?!?” I know dogs don’t really do those things, we humans tend to humanize their actions, but it sure made us laugh at dinner!

Last night I also received solid confirmation that we are on the right path in following God into this chapter. The guys and I went to a men’s group who meet once a month called Strong Man’s Network. It is the ministry outreach of a truly anointed man, Charles Twist. Some of the guys have been going for several months, I started last month and was very blessed. Last night even more.

Charles had a special word for me at the end of the service. Now for some of you this can be too “out there”, but I felt it was so well timed that it had to be from God. Prior to last night, I had not had more than a couple minute conversation with Charles.

He looked me square in the eyes last night and told me that he had seen me this week and was praying that I would attend. He went on to say that I am a man that has been given a strong vision to accomplish from God. That it would come to pass. I was to write down and share the things God is doing in my life. Then he concluded that as I rely on God to complete this vision, my influence would reach beyond anything I could imagine, as long as I allow God to continue His work in me.

Influence…that word is just marinating around in my brain.

I’m honored to have this man confirm for me what God has started. He had no idea that we had sold the coffee house and are embarking into this next chapter. But he did know that I needed to hear his words from God. After the evening was over, I went up to him and filled him in on what God has been doing…what a blessed encounter.

To top it all off, at the beginning of the event my phone vibrated with a message that my second oldest daughter who is pregnant right now is having a BOY!!!!! He’s gonna grow up tuff being the first boy after four girls in two years, the youngest just turned two on the 25th, the oldest 4 on the 26th. God’s got big plans for that little boy…can’t wait to meet him in December!

Well, that’s this shepherd’s stance for today, thanks for checking in!