10 whole years ago today…The Yes over the No

10 years ago today we were in revival services at church.

I remember it like it was yesterday…

Jeremy came down and poked his head in the nursery where I was serving. He had a sly grin on his face.

“David from the Summit Church just called and asked me to pray about being their Kids’ Pastor.”

I laughed…out loud!

“You’re a Student Pastor. Not a Kids’ Pastor.”

And we forgot about it. Didn’t pray. Moved on.

Because we were somewhere special. Somewhere sweet. Surrounded by people who had cared for us the past year like we were blood relatives. (Union Grove…we LOVE you!)

And who in the world would move from a place like that?

A week passed and he called back. And Jeremy and I began to figure…huh…maybe we should actually ask God about this.

So we did. Over and over again.

“God, we don’t want to leave. Really. We love these students. Their parents. This staff. We’ve seen You move. We’ve got events planned. Surely this is some kind of test.”

But it wasn’t. And time made it clear. God was calling our family to the Summit Church.

Stephen was 2. I was due with Caleb in 8 weeks. The timing was bad.

We went to Lifeway and purchased a book about Kids’ Ministry. We poured over it like a college textbook.

A few months later we said some hard (really hard) goodbyes. And joined the Summit family.

And holy moly…only God could have known what He was doing!

10 whole years!

It’s been fun and hard and I’ve cried some and we’ve been stretched lots and I love the people here and still love the people at Union Grove.

Too many emotions and grace to even put down.

God has been faithful. He’s changed us. He’s taught us. We’ve gone deep in the Gospel and tried to impact wide.

To all those who journeyed with us before 10 years ago. We love you. And to those who believed in us while we struggled through new town and new ministry. We love you. And to those who still hold our hands and believe in God’s good plans for us. We love you.

What a 10 year ride it has been!

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20,21)

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The week we moved.

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Where has the time gone? (And where did all those kids come from?)

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Little Boys and Super Heroes

We have four boys. Their room is scattered with Nerf guns, Legos, Star Wars posters, and so on.

Recently we’ve entered the Super Hero realm. Captain America. The Winter Soldier. Iron Man. My knowledge is growing each day.

Then there are the movies. How much is too much?

There’s a balance. Can we ever fully protect them from everything? And could it possibly become a disservice when we hold too tightly? When we overreact and under explain?  Could we be encouraging them to rebel?

You see…We want our boys to be looking for a hero. We want them to pull for the good guy. We want them to know what it is to be a man. And that doesn’t necessarily mean muscles, a nice car, or a pretty girl.

The hero they’re looking for isn’t found in the most recent movie or comic book.

So Jeremy and I watch the movie first. We check Plugged In. Then we watch it with the boys. Often we fast forward. But most importantly, we talk.

And it ends with this…Who was the hero? What made him the hero? Do you know that everyone’s looking for a hero? Who are they looking for?

And without fail one of them gets it…Jesus is the hero.

He came with super powers, but He chose to lay them down. He came with ultimate strength, but He chose to be weak. He wasn’t just willing to die, He did die. For you. For me.

Yes, as parents we must be wise. We must protect.

But we also must prepare. We could teach our kids how to filter everything through the Gospel. How to look for Him in everything they face.

Because we are all looking for the same thing. A Hero. And we are willing to do whatever it takes to reach our boys with this message.

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)

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Here’s a little snapshot of their room!

 

A Misconception of Adoption

Before Esther’s arrival we had the Gospel-connection with adoption all confused. We talk about how people who embrace God’s spiritual adoption are often moved to adopt themselves. True statement. But we’ve missed an even bigger picture of the Gospel in adoption…birthmoms.

I love Esther’s birthmom too much to share certain information with you. I will protect her at all costs. But I will say that I have seen the Gospel in her self-sacrifice more than I’ve seen it in our choice to adopt.

There were tears. And hugs. And wondering. But mostly there was love. A love that chose what she thought was best for Esther over what felt best for her. She mothered Esther in a way that only she could. And in choosing to place her with us, she exemplified the Gospel in ways I can never put words to.

We are truly the one’s holding grace here. Because of a Mom’s sacrifice. And that love-it’s the same one that took Christ to the cross. That’s Gospel love.

Thank you….! We are so blessed by you!

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“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

“Frozen” and the Gospel

The five of us went and saw Disney’s “Frozen” a few weeks back. Most importantly, Jeremy bought me this awesome “Catching Fire” cup from the concessions!

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Anyhoo, we loved “Frozen” and easily found the Gospel in it. Jeremy and I try to do that anytime the boys watch a film. We want them to see how every story is looking for a Redeemer, and true happy endings are only found in Christ.

Here’s what we told the boys (spoiler alert!):

In the end, Anna must find true love to live. She thinks it is found in a kiss. But life isn’t found until she gives herself up (freezes) and dies for her sister Elsa. Anna then finds healing. Death brings life.

We are like Anna in that we look for love and life all over the place. But it’s not until we are willing to give our lives up for others that we truly live.

We are also like Elsa. We need someone to take our place. To love us enough to die for us. That’s what Anna did for her sister, and that’s what Christ has done for us.

Love is shown in sacrifice. That’s what God did when He sent Jesus.

And there you go. I have no idea if the boys are getting this or not. They were pretty taken with Olaf and on a pretty big soft drink and popcorn high afterwards.

But we are looking. And planting. Talking. And praying. Not completely running from the world but facing it. Explaining it. And looking for God in everything.

So go see “Frozen.” Find the Gospel. And share it!

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Meet My “Running Shoes”

These are my running shoes. I got fitted for them at a real running store.

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The first time out with them I thought I’d be faster. Maybe I’d even make it around the block. Wrong. Still stopped when I started breathing hard. Still hated every second of it.

Sometimes I convince myself I’ll run a 5K…the Disney one to be exact. Then I hear about people running marathons. What? How did the ante get upped so much? Come on people! I just want to make it past my neighbor’s mailbox.

Maybe running isn’t the only thing we’ve raised the bar on. Could it be that we’ve done the same with parenting? What about being a woman? What about Christianity?

Did we somewhere along the way decide that grace wasn’t enough? When did we start adding to “It is finished?” Was it at the same time we convinced ourselves that our sin isn’t so bad? Have we forgotten what we really deserve?

Paul had it right when he said, “And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (I Corinthians 2:1,2)

In running, I focus on the basics. Breathe. One step at a time. Don’t pass out.

Maybe that’s a good place to get back to with Christianity. Gospel. “Jesus Christ and him crucified.” Jesus in my place. The beginning and the end. Undeserved grace.