Fundraising For Year 2

Can you believe that we are quickly coming upon 1 full year as XPA? It has gone by so fast. I’ve learned so much. I’m grateful for what I do. I’m thankful for generous hearts. I love my church. All of it is so crazy and I am blessed to be a part of Seven Mile Road as we try to advance the mission, love our neighbors, and preach and obey the gospel. I’m excited to continue in this work as God molds my heart, sharpens me and prepares me for pastoral ministry.

To that end, I am getting back on that fundraising horse and am going to be on another wild adventure as I trust God to provide for my every need.

You can read my support letter here.

I ask you to prayerfully consider partnering with me on this journey. 

Time to get at it!

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Blessings and Curses

A couple of weeks ago, I had a conversation with a good friend that I had not seen in a long time. During that conversation, she shared with me about a struggle she had about whether or not she should pursue a romantic relationship with a non-Christian. I have had some time to reflect on that conversation and during this time, God has revealed a tendency I have in counseling and advising people.

When counseling someone, it is important to both love the person you’re counseling and to guard the truth as found in scripture, to speak truth in a loving manner. You really can’t be faithful in your counsel if you don’t hold tightly to both truth and love (another post for another day). I can say with a clear conscience that everything I said to her was in love for her and in fear of God and His perfect Word. In a lot more elaborate and elongated fashion, I simply said, that in scripture, God clearly calls believers to marry believers (Mal 2:10; 2 Cor. 2:14).

The issue was not what I said to her but how I said it.

In the Bible, God makes covenant with Israel in the Old Testament. These covenants had a particular structure. Within that structure, there is a portion known as the sanctions. This portion of the covenant is where the blessings and curses are laid out. It outlines the good things that come with obedience and the bad things that come with disobedience (Deuteronomy 28 is a perfect example of the sanction portion of a covenant).

My friend has one of two choices. Obey God and enjoy the blessings of being in a lifelong committed relationship with a fellow believer or disobey God and deal with the curses and consequences of being unequally yoked.

I too have one of two choices.

The first is that I can encourage her to obey God because she is a daughter to a good, loving, perfect, caring God who wants her life to be happy and holy in Him. I can tell her that she can be beautifully led by a God fearing man, who will love her as Christ loves the Church, who will joyfully and willingly give up his pleasures to see his bride happy and holy, to lovingly lead, discipline, instruct, and encourage their children, to live generously and open-handedly with their resources, and to be single-minded in sharpening each other and loving their children and to beautifully display the glories of Christ through their marriage. There is so much good that God wants for his children and God calls us to obedience because it is the most joyful, life-giving, content, and happy place to be! I can encourage her with all the blessings that come with obedience.

The other is to talk about all the tough times ahead if she decides to pursue a relationship with a non-believer. I can tell her that her husband although able to lead in many ways will not be able to lead her in her most crucial place of need – her spiritual health, that she is uniting with a man who has no understanding of true sacrifice because he has not tasted nor experienced the true and real sacrifice of Christ, that this man will lead their children with the virtues of this world which are selfish and sinful, which have no anchor in scripture, that her children will be confused as to why daddy doesn’t pray with them during the meal or never joins them for family worship, that giving generously to the work of the local church will be handcuffed because he doesn’t want to give his hard earned money to something he doesn’t believe in. In short, I can scare her into obedience.

As I reflected upon this conversation, I realized that I usually counsel by way of the second route. Instead of encouraging one to joyful obedience, I scare people into curse avoidance. Sometimes the second approach is necessary. God puts them clearly in His covenant with Israel.  Often times, firm and harsh words are necessary. However, there is the reality that our good God has good intentions for his people but my tendency is not to remind people of that reality. Barnabas is referred in Acts 4 as “the son of encouragement.” If I were in the bible, I’d be “the troll of fear tactics” (actually, it would probably be much worse).

As I’ve prayed through this, I’ve asked God to reveal to me the beauty of His love, His perfect character, His affirmation of His children, His good intent for them, His ear to ear smile that He shines down on His saints and that I’d remind people that this is the kind of God we serve and it is a joy to obey him.

During my time as XPA, I’ve been affirmed that I have a particular relational gift. I hope to steward this gift well. I’m thankful that the Holy Spirit reveals to me ways in which I can better use the gifts that God has given me.

If you are one of those who counsel those around you, I’d encourage you to think about your approach when you counsel someone.

Give Me A Break, I’m Still Learning The Ropes

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This gig, as with most new jobs comes with a few bumps in the road. We can all remember doing every task in our new job with some hesitation and some uncertainty because we didn’t want to screw up royally. No? Just me? Fine.

This isn’t so much of a big screw up as it is a small, funny, honest-to-god mistake that gives others an opportunity to laugh at me.

Okay, some context. Seven Mile Road is part of the Acts 29 network. And as part of the network, we use The City to communicate. It’s a really great web based communication software for churches to streamline their communication (shameless plug, yes. The City should hire me). Now within the Acts 29 group in The City, there is a subgroup for administrative assistants, assistants to the pastors, etc. (XPA is really the coolest name for this position and I think it’s gonna catch fire and be a nationwide thing – you heard it here first). Anyway, because I was added to the group, I wanted to join in on some of the conversation that was already going on. You know, make some friends, do some networking, have an outlet for questions, etc. So I read this one post titled “Who Are You?” It basically asked for some general information about assistants, their church, title, role and how long they’ve been at the position. So I thought to myself “sure, introduce yourself, be friendly and get to know some folk.” So I respond with the appropriate answers and click “send.”

As soon as I sent the message, I felt compelled to see when this thread started and as I read it, my stomach sank. What was blind to me before was now in big bold letters.. “ABOUT 4 YEARS AGO.” And as I kept scrolling down to each subsequent post, I read “4 years”, “4 years”,”4 years”, “4 years”, “4 years”, “2 years”, “2 years”, “2 years”, and then mine… Feb 28 2013. *Facepalm.

The person that responded 2 years after the initial post must’ve felt dumb. Now multiply that by a few thousand and there I am, posting on some thread from ABOUT 4 YEARS AGO. It’s kind of like being at the office and having someone make fun of you and you come back the next day w/ “I have a great comeback for what you said to me yesterday” except instead of yesterday, it’s ABOUT 4 YEARS AGO!

At least no one saw it, except for the people on the thread (I imagine them gathering their entire staff, pointing at the computer screen and laughing hysterically), or so I thought. Promptly 15 minutes later, I hear a loud laugh from the office and I think, “no, it can’t be.” Sure enough, Justin, while trying to hold back his laughter says, “Bro, you know you posted on a thread that started 4 years ago? *laughter.” He likes to remind me from time to time about this. He gets a lot of joy out of it. I’m so glad I could do this to bring joy to his life. I know, I’m such a servant.

Good times.

Anyway, that’s my story. If you didn’t enjoy it, you’re weird.

Do you have any funny stories from around the office? Please share!