Monday, September 27

40 Miles from Nineveh

My friend (who was also my boss for a couple of years) Carl is back on leave for 2 weeks from Iraq. He is a Chaplin in the national guard and still has another 5 1/2 months left in Iraq. This past Sunday he spoke in his home church which just happens to be a block from my home so I went to hear him and then got the chance to each lunch with him and his family.

I can't tell you how good it was to see him. I've missed Carl and was anxious to hear about what was going on in his life and how he was handling being in Iraq. Additionally, I went to hear his take on the war. I wanted to hear from someone that I knew to see if it was worth it.

This really isn't meant to be a political post; I just wanted to share as Carl said, one man's perspective from a base in Iraq.

First off, Carl spent 3 months in Kuwait before ending up at his post. He said he never once saw anyone begging in Kuwait in three months. The day we crossed over into Iraq there were children lined up begging for food. One of his jobs is to go to villages and assess the needs of the various villages. Without fail he said that all of the villages need clean water, that most of the children in the country (or at least his area of it) drink from the sewers.

He said that in their area most of the farmers use shovels and plows to do their daily farming, and that most of the roads are dirt roads.

It's not that being in a rural area of farming using archaic methods it that tragic, but when you realize the vast resources that they have and all the money the get from oil. And you look across the border at Kuwait and see the standard of living could be so much different.

Carl gets to preach every other month in the chapel there. He said that he did a series on Jonah not to long ago. He said you know it really changes your perspective when you know that the city your talking about is only 40 miles away. I can't even imagine.

All that to say pray for our troops... guys like Carl, that are proud to be there, that do a great job and some, like Carl, are ministering in the name of Christ.


It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month ... which we know today as the honeymoon.

Thursday, September 23

Useless info

In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. When you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase......... "goodnight, sleep tight."

I love stupid stuff like that.

Monday, September 20

In case i missed ya in the e-mail . . .

Friends and Family,
I just wanted to give you an update on several exciting things that God is doing in my life. Many of you know that I have been looking for a position as a Youth Minister here in the NW for the last few months. I’m excited to tell you God has led me to Discovery Community Church in Tacoma Washington. The process was long and at times a little painful, but I’m excited about joining the team at Discovery.

About the Church
Discovery is a relatively new church (a little over 3 years old) in the Tacoma area. We meet in Movie Theater, and reach a lot of 18-25 year olds. It’s very laid back in its approach and extremely community oriented. The church has lots of college students but hasn’t really had a significant “Youth Group” to this point. They have some good leaders that want to reach youth, but just need someone to help focus the vision and strategy.
So starting next week I’ll begin volunteering with the church on the set-up team and getting to know more about the church and the area where we minister. The plan is simply to pray and look for what God is doing and move forward with the leadership at the church. I can’t tell you how excited I am to be apart of this body. I’ve only been to a couple of services and a retreat, but already I’m anxious to grow with this community.
One last thing that I gotta share about the church is the vision statement. It’s something that resonates deep within my soul and it’s not often that I say that as I’ve seen many statements and missions in my young ministerial career. At any rate, The Discovery Vision:

The simple vision for Discovery Community Church is that I and every other person connected in this family could wake up each morning with the excitement and anticipation of encountering God, and each night go to sleep with the satisfaction that we did and somebody else did through us!

Looking for a Job
While I’m extremely excited about the position at Discovery, this will also mean that I need to get a “secular” job to pay the bills. At this point Discovery isn’t able to pay me a salary. While at first I was hesitant about this God has really given me a change of heart. I really am excited about being able to rub elbows with lost people on a daily basis. I covet your prayers though, as I need a job that is flexible enough to allow me to do ministry, and still pays me enough to not worry about how I’m going to pay the bills. Also, a job in Tacoma would be great as it will give me another door into the community. Currently I am still in my position at the association, and will remain there until I can either find meaningful employment or Dec. 31st which ever comes first. The association has been very gracious and understanding during this transition.

The Girl
I have met a young lady here who is incredible! We’ve been dating for about 3 weeks now. Her name is Beth Buchanan; she’s from Florida, recently graduated from the University of Auburn (Correction: Auburn University:)) and is up here for the sole purpose of helping with RiverChase Community Church (one of the church plants that I work with through the association). She took her sophomore year of college off to help plant RiverChase, and came back as soon as she graduated (this past May).
Beth and I have known each other for about 2 ½ years, but only recently “noticed” each other. She shares my heart for the Northwest, loves working with both children and youth, as well as being an avid sports fan. She has aheart for the lost and a passion for the church, which makes for a great ministry partner. While our relationship is relatively new it is progressing rather fast, as we’ll be making a trip to see each other’s families in early October. If you’re in NW Ark. we’d love to stop by and say hi; we’ll be in town the 13th – 15th. I’ll keep ya posted on how things are going.

Thanks so much for your prayers and support. I’d love to hear how your doing and what’s going on in your neck of the woods.

Keep in touch,

Friday, September 17

The Beginning . . .

This evening will mark the end of my search for a youth ministry position. I made many presumptions about what this search would look like and how it would end. I can say that the search was painful, it was long, and in many ways very confusing, but . . . It was good. God has used the process to refine me, to expose some things in my life that were less then His best. It's hard when God reveals something to you about your character that you don't want to see, because then you make a choice run from it or confront it. For me it was an issue of Faith, real practical daily lived out faith. As I began looking for a job I wanted to be in a place that was impacting the lost in a relevant almost organic way, a place where there was freedom to try new things, where risk taking and failure were virtues, a place where I could grow as a minister, and I also wanted a place that would allow me to support a family. Planning on being at this church for a several years it's an important thing.

Then a friend of mine went and wrecked the whole thing. Brad a friend of mine that I've gotten to know here in the NW challenged me to talk to his pastor about coming on staff at Discovery. I talked with Jon (the pastor) a couple of times. I remember being excited about the vision and direction of the church, but there was a major catch. They had no money for the position. Immediately, there was a part of me that said "well that's obviously not God's will for my life" but the other part of me just couldn't let go. So I did what you supposed to do I prayed. I asked God to allow me to interview with another church so that I would be sure that Disco was the place I was supposed to be.

Now my thinking was let me interview with them and then I’ll get this magical feeling that Disco is sooooo much better and I’d rather be there then have money. Long story short, after my 3rd interview things were going well with this other church, I still wasn’t “sold” , but I could see things working out. They had a good youth group and a budget, and I knew the salary package would have been very nice. SO that’s when the other church called to inform me that they were going in another direction.

As I began to process what had happened with friends and think through my decision. It became obvious to me that God was exposing my interest in the church as being primarily about security (well money to be more precise). So that left me back at square 1. I had talked with 3 other churches all of which were offering full time positions, but none of them fit any of the other criteria. So I took Jon up on his offer to come worship at Discovery with them whenever felt like it.

There were no magical moments in the process but over the next few weeks, through friends, family, sermons, and prayer God began to make clear to me that Discovery was the place that he wanted me to be. I’m completely at peace with this decision. I have no idea what this process will look like, how things will work out, or even how I’m going to pay the bills, but I know that this is where God has me and I’m excited to step out in faith and watch him provide.

So tonight and tomorrow I’ll be attending a leadership retreat with the church. Then this Sunday I’ll attend my last service as member of High Pointe. And join the team the next week, on the set up team. Go through another 101 class with disco. And see what God is doing in student ministry in the Tacoma area.

It’s not the end of a chapter it’s the beginning.

Wednesday, September 8

The last 2 weeks

Wow, where to start?! Well first off I met the most amazing girl. I actually already knew her, but it was like I discovered her for the first time. Beth is amazing. For those of you keeping score at home (dad) we’ve “officially” been dating for about a week, but we’ve been hanging out for almost 3. I’ve known Beth for over 2 ½ years but she went back to Auburn (the university) to finish school. She moved back in May to help out at her church.

Long story short this came out of no where for both of us. She was a staffer for the camp that I helped put together for the association. We hung out a bit to do several of the tasks that needed to get done, neither of us had any interest even through the end of camp, we were both so busy that week that there wasn’t time for any of that. After camp several of the staffers stayed to see Seattle ect. So we all hung out for the next couple of days, it was during this time that we both started to think “hummm . . .” One thing led to another and we just started to talk. The next day same thing, hang out and go talk. A week, my birthday, a peanut butter pie, a rubik qube, and several conversations later we had the DTR.

(ok so this isn’t that short, deal with it).

Today, I can’t get enough of her, hours seem like nothing and there is no-one that I’d rather spend my time with then Beth. We are totally on the same page on everything that’s important. Not wanting to move back to the South, enjoying church planting, and just wanting to seek God in everything we do. So yeah it’s been a great 2 weeks.

Oh yeah my mom was in town over the last week too. It was cool to be able to let her see all that was going on here. Meet Beth and just see what I’ve been doing the last few years. Always good to see mom.

Oh yeah there are new developments in the job situation, but nothing’s official and I’ve got some meetings this week. I’ll update ya when I know more.