Our Previous Step

I don’t know how many times I’ve written and deleted this post, or versions of this post–maybe 10 or 20 times. Every time I get the words out I feel the pros and cons lists growing in my head about whether these words are too truthful or foolish and I go back to word-smithing and tweaking sentences and phrases.

As many people who pay attention to this blog know that I write mostly about student ministry and how to equip parents to help their students own their own faith. Well, that will be changing. I’m still very passionate about people owning their faith and even teaching people how to teach others, but after 3 years at CenterPointe God has shut the door on that ministry and is preparing something new.

The reason I’ve written this post so many times is because I’m not sure what to share or even if what I share makes any sense at all. Do I share the whole story in one post? Do I share the journey Ruth and I have been on over many posts? Because we still aren’t sure what’s exactly next, should I wait to post anything at all?

Maybe, it’s time to stop thinking and still share even with many unknowns. So here it goes as of March 15, 2016.

The past 6-plus months have been a whirlwind. Since mid-August 2015 my wife and I felt God leading us in a new direction. We were unsure where this direction was taking us; the thought was most likely church planting, but maybe to an unknown opportunity. Based on wise counsel, assessment and a few trips, it seemed that direction was going to be church planting, so we have passionately pursued that option. Church planting seemed to be the logical conclusion, mainly, because why would a 24 year old with a wife and 2 kids leave a secure job and a thriving student ministry to step into the unknown if it wasn’t church planting? For sure, God had convincingly shown us it was time to depart from Lexington, KY to lead and learn somewhere else. I am and will forever be incredibly thankful for the people and leadership at CenterPointe and for the time God had us in Lexington.

In answering the question earlier, the short answer to why we left is because God said so. I hope to unpack what God has shown us and how we are arriving at what’s next, with God’s timing, in later posts soon.

The answer and reasoning to why we left seems so strange to many, not all, but many. It seemed strange to set an end date at a ministry when they next step wasn’t clear (the end date was Dec 13, 2015). As I’ve shared our story, it has dawned on me that the norm for some has become to only take a step to what’s next when the step is clearly laid out for them. I’ve faced this battle in my own life. I’ve been conditioned by my training for when I hear others say “because God said so” a red flag gets sent off and to be cautious–be skeptical. But, as I’ve walked this path for a few months now I can say that God dependence is a truly daunting endeavor in a “churched culture.” When a path does not seem logical or clear, direction from God drives fear and skepticism into the hearts of those who feel they could never do the same thing. Often, God reminds me that it’s easy to read stories in the bible of God dependence as fairy tales that happened in some parallel universe, or as epics in a galaxy far far away.

However, when it comes down to it, doesn’t God want us to be totally dependent on Him? What does that look like day-in and day-out?

If we don’t value (show fruit of it in our own life in accordance with His Word) God dependence then the antithesis is self-dependence and from my reading of the Bible that’s called sin.

Within the whirlwind of discovering where God is preparing for us,  it’s been exhilarating and a little frustrating to take God at His word and to just take the next step He shows us. I am thankful for the support and encouragement we have received as we take one step at a time. Ruth and I are also thankful for those who disagree or pose questions about the decision because God uses you to strengthen our convictions, while also using you to teach us.

All I know is that God has us right where He wants us and we will continue to take the next step. Pray that we continue to abide in Him, so that much fruit grows for His glory. I’m excited to see how God continues to draw us closer to himself as He shows us what He is doing across the globe.

Thank you again to those who have encouraged and supported us in prayer or provision while we have been on this journey!

CP Parents Taking Home the Word (8/23)

 The GATHERING

Last week, we talked about how Daniel resolved to not defile himself and how in a sin soaked world we can do the same. This week we continued with the second part our of a three week series, “YOU ARE HERE” –the you being God. The basis for this series is a look at Daniel in the Old Testament. Daniel was a young teenage boy who, along with his friends, was snatched from the comforts of Jerusalem to the pagan culture of Babylon. The Babylonians wanted to turn good Jewish young men into Babylonians. Yet when he was thrust into this culture that was much different from the Jewish culture and lifestyle of living for God, Daniel was still able to live a pure life. He was able to live a holy life because Daniel knew whose he was and he knew that God was with him. Daniel was not the only one who took a stand. He had three friends known by their Babylonian names, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendego, who also took a stand in a prideful culture.

We challenged your students this week to build upon the fact that we have to know God to live holy lives. The next step is to trust God and that His way is the way worth pursuing. Often times we think knowing something is enough. Many of your students shared how they know what is right or wrong, but don’t always choose what’s right. Knowledge doesn’t intrinsically You know this first hand as their parents. We challenged the students to ask “How do we get to a point to where we are actually trusting God moment by moment?” When the pressure mounts and we cognitively know God is there for us, do we believe and act upon the right path? In essence, do we take that step/stand of faith and trust God? Ultimately, students will have to resolve themselves to not be defiled by worldly and cultural pressures and instead live for God.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendego were able to answer the question mentioned earlier by knowing who God is and what God is like. Through studying the Word from a very young age and communicating with God through prayer, they were able to not defile themselves by bowing. In order to live a Christ-centered life we too must know who God is and how He acts, so that we know whose we are. Because of this we can then live in response to our identity in the Father. We challenged the students to take a step to trust God more this week.

KEY TEXT: Daniel 3:16-18

CRITICAL QUESTIONS: How do we resolve to not defile ourselves in a sin soaked world as we live for God? How do we trust God? What’s your next step this week in trusting God more?