Sunday, June 28, 2009

Proud Husband!

This week, another chapter of life is coming to an end and my wife Susan and I are about to begin writing a new chapter together. As of June 30th, 2009, Susan will have completed her role as Director of Children's Ministries here at Grace and I wanted to take a moment to tell her how proud I am of her and how much I love her.

I met Susan back in 1990 at Philadelphia College of the Bible where I truly felt my call to become a pastor. As our love and relationship grew, I was blessed to be dating a very attractive young lady who was more than willing to spend her life as a pastor's wife. Over the years she has willingly moved as God has led us and faced some of the incredible pressures that go along with being the wife of a pastor. But together, we have also enjoyed and seen some of the incredible blessings that come when we choose to walk in obedience to God.

When we moved to Lancaster County, we prayed that God would open up the right door of service for Susan as she was desirous to serve the Lord in whatever capacity He so chose. We would have never guessed it was here at Grace Church. Over the past three years my love, respect and awe for my wife's giftings and abilities has grown tremendously as I have watched her stretch and do things for God she would have never dreamed. It's been good and I can't wait to get to heaven and see how God has used her servant's heart to impact His kingdom.

Selfishly, I'm looking forward to getting my wife back. The past 12 months have been long and tiresome as we both served long hours here at Grace while trying to balance family life. I know she will miss many aspects of what she did daily, but I also know she is excited about God's next adventure for her as by faith we wait upon the Lord's leading.

WARNING: It's about to get mushy... Susan, I love you and I am proud to be your husband. You are my soul mate and I can't wait to keep living God's adventure for us together with you. It has been 16 wonderful years of marriage and this I know for sure... I LOVE YOU AND APPRECIATE YOUR HEART FOR THE LORD, YOUR FAMILY AND THIS CHURCH! I have no doubt the next chapter of life will be anything but dull!!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

God's Doing Great Things!!!

I'm feeling a little tired today, but I can't wait to come back to church again tonight for our 4th evening of Vacation Bible School here at Grace as God's doing great things! Here are the highlights so far for me...

  • I love all the high fives, giggles and laughter that go along with 400+ kids pumped up and excited to be here every night!
  • I love it when the kids come up to me so as to make sure I've met their best friend who they have brought to church for the very first time. How cool is it to see our children meeting and moving!
  • I love watching all of our volunteers! Before this week is over there will have been over 160 volunteers give themselves to this cause. That's awesome!!!
  • I love that 15 children trusted Christ last night to save them from their sins. There is something very special about the simplicity and sincerity of a child's faith.
  • I love that at 10:00 PM last night I received a text from a parent who just had the joy of leading their child to Christ as they went to bed because of what they heard at VBS.
  • I love that the kids are filling a large tent with non-perishable foods to donate to a local food bank as they learn about the value of serving this week.
  • I love that our part time audio and media directors are here at the church every night with smiles and energy not because they have to be here but because they want to be here.
  • I love that the staff members who are participating in this week are not only a blessing to our church family but that God is blessing their socks off through their efforts.
  • I love that serving Jesus is not boring or dull. The energy, enthusiasm and joy of these kids and volunteers every night is contagious.

I sit here and give tremendous thanks for a gracious God who is using the Body of Christ here at Grace to accomplish His mission here on earth!!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Monday Morning Thought... Blowing my mind!

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." (Ephesians 3:20-21)

These words are words that I have known for quite some time, but I feel like for the first time in my life I'm really just beginning to catch a small glimpse into the reality of this truth. Don't get me wrong, I've seen God do some incredible things in my life and ministry, but He's doing immeasurable more right now at Grace Church then we are even asking. Here are a few examples...

Thursday Night: We had an elder meeting where we introduced some of our new staff and recognized some elders that have served faithfully for many years. What I experienced Thursday night at a "meeting" was nothing short of what true fellowship is. The sense of togetherness, loyalty and willingness to charge the gates of hell together was present all because of JESUS!!! He was lifted high Thursday night and it is HIM we celebrate and share in together. To have a leadership on task and focused like this is incredible.

People Around the Table: One of the things you learn quickly as a leader is that I can't even come close to doing it all. As I give leadership at Grace I knew immediately that we would need the right people around the table on a number of fronts if we were going to accomplish all that God has called us to accomplish. This morning as we held a "team huddle", I looked around the table and couldn't help but give thanks for the team God is assembling for us. The skill sets, expertise and passion for Christ and His church is evident and growing and I can't wait to see who else God brings us!

Church Management Software: One of the areas we are seeking to grow in within our office is our use of technology to better connect the entire ministry and its systems. Right now we are working way too hard and frankly wasting to much time using outdated systems. As we enter into our new fiscal year, we had set aside a substantial amount of money to implement a new Church Management System over the course of this year. Found out this morning that we may get this for free! That's God doing immeasurable more than I had asked!!!

There is much more I could comment on, but those are just a few of the thoughts running through my mind this morning as I get ready to hit the top 10 prayer request list again! Trusting God to MUCH MUCH MUCH more than I'm even going to ask! Blow my mind again God!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Boys Night Out!

Last night my son and I enjoyed a night out at the Phillies game with another father - son duo. This game was special in that my son and I always enjoy trying to take a Toronto Blue Jays game in when we head up to Canada to visit family in the summer. We also enjoy trying to get to a Phillies game every year as well. This year, the Blue Jays were scheduled to be out of town on the weeks we were to be up there, so we decided to take a boys night out and kill two birds with one stone and take in the Phillies playing the Blue Jays. We had a great night even though it rained as we enjoyed overpriced hot dogs and cheese steaks. My son and I also enjoyed watching the Blue Jays beat the Phillies by a score of 7-1. We'll see what happens today as the Jays-Phillies close out their series.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Evaluating Statements of Change Three

"I pray that we will guard against the mindset of preserving a model versus fulfilling a mandate!"
This statement of change is one that I will fight for intensely. Christ's call to the church is not complicated. We have been called to "make disciples"! (Matthew 28:19-20) That is why I love Grace Church's purpose to Meet and Move. I believe it encompasses the call to make disciples. Jesus calls us to "go" and meet people right where they are at. We are to seek them out in their mess and tell them there is a Savior who loves them and wants to rescue them from sin to give them hope for all eternity. The passage then goes on to tell us to move them (baptize and teach) so as to see them grow into fully devoted Christ followers that will continue to repeat the cycle of making disciples.
The challenge comes to each and every ministry as it sifts through various methodologies and models to fulfill the mandate. The above statement of change is so powerful in that it reminds me of the truth that the local church has a tendency to hold on to its methods and models long after they have run their course while harming/forgetting/forsaking the very mandate we are called to fulfill.
As noted in the statement, it is something well worth every leader praying for daily. We must keep a laser focus on the mandate of Christ and while continually evaluating the models and methods we will use to fulfill it for His glory and honor!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Rest in Altoona

It's been a crazy busy great week!

I know that's not the most grammatical correct statement, but it reflects how I'm feeling this AM. It is now Friday morning and I find myself sitting at Panera Bread in Altoona, PA enjoying some Wi-Fi, quiet and good coffee. I'll hit my final statement of change in my next blog, but here are a few other thoughts roaming through my head at present...

I love Free Wi-Fi! How cool it is to be able to get away from the office but actually accomplish just as much if not more in a remote (yes Altoona is remote to me) and relaxed setting.

I hate being sick. I came down with the cold my son got last week and I'm still suffering badly from it as it moves into my chest. I'm far too busy to be sick and I'm a grumpy patient.

I can't stop smiling about what God is doing at Grace. God is moving in incredible ways and I along with a great staff and volunteers are moving right along with Him. It's a ride that's hard to even put into words, but we are hanging on and enjoying every minute of it.

I just finished up with two Christian School graduations in one week and I was blessed to see a number of young people sent out into the world to make a difference for Christ. I'm thankful for Lititz Christian School and the impact their wonderful staff is having upon my kids lives.

I missed the first two periods of the Stanley Cup finals last night. Wasn't happy!!! Go Pens!!!

Looking forward to Sunday as this Chick Flick is an interesting one.

Not looking forward to Saturday AM - It's is Community Yardsale day and we have more junk (I mean priceless objects) to sell.

Time to go... We are taking my in-laws out for a late b-fast this morning before heading back home.