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Monthly Archives: November 2011

This is really happening

So we’ve finally gone public (which means that the 3 people who read this already know) with our big news- we’re moving to Santa Cruz, CA!  I’m probably the most surprised person of all that we’re really doing this.  Apparently, I’m a “stay-er”, though I love to imagine that I’m a free-spirit type, taking risks and moving out boldly on a whisper of prompting from God’s Spirit.  But my track record would seem to indicate otherwise.

Evidence includes:  Leading the college ministry I’d been part of as a college student- pastored it for over 13 years, not including 2 years as an unpaid intern.

Serving full-time at the same church for over 17 years; part of that same church for over 28 years in total.

We’ve lived in the same house for the last 13 years- all 3 of our kids were born in the same hospital. I’ve lived in the Phoenix area since 1985, plus 5 years here as a kid- 31 of my 44 years have been right here.

So this move is big for me, for us.  It’s clearly not a whim (see the above) and it’s not because I was bored or just wanted to live by the ocean- though my wife is pretty delighted by that reality.  I’m excited to discover a new (and very cool) place, too, but that’s not what’s prompted us, either.  We’re making this move because God- as best we can sense His direction- is leading us.

That kind of statement gets thrown around so casually these days, I almost cringe writing it.  But I don’t know how else to describe what’s happened in this: I wasn’t seeking a move or change, but got an unexpected call and invitation from a long-time trusted friend to consider coming on staff at his church.  This is the same friend that I’d turned down 3 separate times in the past, so apparently I’m able to muster a “no” when I need to.  But something happened inside of me that hadn’t before:  despite my own fears and my tendency to stay put and “stick it out”, God freed up my heart and will long enough to say, “Yes”.  And in stepping out into this- for me- scary place- God has kindly and regularly affirmed this direction.

There was affirmation from the elders of this new church- without even meeting me (long story, but they had seen video of my teaching from 3 years ago)- they were ready to hire me.  Kelli is able to keep her current job.  The kids were able to spend time in Santa Cruz this summer before this even came up and loved it there.  Perhaps best of all, the church that we helped to launch is going to continue, likely led by people that I’ve been privileged to invest in.

Not that God had to provide all of this confirmation.  He just graciously chose to, apparently knowing that I’d need it.  For that I’m very grateful.  But there’s one piece that has me even more convinced- I’ll call it the “risk factor”.  While it might not seem large to many people, this feels like a pretty big leap to me.  There are plenty of aspects to this move that I’m having to simply trust God for.  And my sense is that is exactly the kind of leap that God desires- one that requires Him to come through.

I’ve preached and taught that kind of message many times- to take the next step, however scary, that God is inviting you toward.  And I’ve taken my share of small ones.  I guess God decided it was time for a bigger jump.  So….. here we go…

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

On doing something (before doing everything)

I read this today and liked it so much I thought I’d share it- it’s by Oscar Romero- Archbishop of El Salvador in late 1970’s, he was assassinated while serving Mass)  

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation
in realizing that. This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well. It may be incomplete,
but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference
between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
Amen.

-Oscar Romero
(who served the people of El Salvador and was assassinated in 1980 while he was saying mass in San Salvador.)

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Am I a human doing?

OK, that title makes me sound either verbally challenged or a bit over-medicated. (I did just get back from having a root canal…hmmm)  But I’m referring, of course, to the difference between doing versus being.  And even though this seems like it shouldn’t be too hard to understand, I seem to get things turned around pretty easily.

This reality struck me today when I was at home alone for a couple of hours- doing some reading and studying.  After a while, I became aware of the simple sound of… quiet.  No TV or music filling in the empty spaces, no hum of background noise.  Just quiet, peaceful.  I savored it, an unexpected but welcome companion.

But those moments also made me realize how much I’ve allowed myself to become defined by activity, by a compulsive need to be doing something.  Gotta get things done, checked off the list.  Keep going, keep moving.  Like a hamster on a wheel- keep in motion on a road to… anywhere?  I know better than this, don’t I?  Apparently if I don’t make the deliberate and sometimes ruthless choice to slow down and simply be- be with God, be still, be quiet, just be– then I lose my bearings.  Urgency replaces priority.  Doing trumps being.

Today was a good reminder- and one that I need to keep coming back to.  Good thing I wrote it down.  Actually, God wrote it down first.  “BE STILL, and KNOW that I am God (Psalm 46:10)

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2011 in Uncategorized