Saturday, August 15, 2009

Weekend "Mind Dump"

I can't believe I didn't even get to my blog this week! It has truly been one of those crazy & busy weeks that left my mind & body weary but my heart energized for Christ and the ministry of Grace! In light of that... here are some of what's going on in my head right now;

My wife and I just spent a week without our kids. Last Saturday we met up with my parents in Bath, NY. I just love that my kids get to spend a week with their grandparents as I have very fond memories of times together with my grandma and grandpa. Can't wait to see them all tonight!!!

I love my job as XP, but it sure was fun to prep and engage in a number of speaking engagements this week. This week I enjoyed prepping a message in Ephesians, a student ministry talk and prepping for this Sunday's talk from Romans 8:18-25. I'm feeling rusty and don't like that, but God is good and does what He does in and through my willing heart.

Spent quite a bit of time in prayer this week due to a number of large decisions that weigh heavy on a leaders heart that are kept between him (the leader) and his God!

Enjoyed some great discussions with ministry leaders about the future of their areas of oversight. God's doing incredible things in and through them and it pumps me up!

Favorite Comment of the Week: I had just finished one of my lengthy rants about the future of Grace that outlines more work and energy than any of us has (It's God who works in and through us making it all possible) and this ministry leader commented with a smile that the "twinkle in my eye" somehow makes her think that I love the challenge before us. She's right... I can't wait to keep pouring myself into Grace Ministry because I believe with all my heart that the best is yet to come!

Favorite Date of the Year so far: August 14 as Susan and I celebrated 16 years of marriage! Love you Susan and would do it all over again a million times over as I couldn't imagine spending my life with anybody but you!

There's a million other things going through my head right now... but I'm off to finalize my prep for tomorrow. Trusting God for Great Things!!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Godly Influence & A Tombstone (Part 2)

In my last post I had mentioned how my grandfather in both his life and then in his death made a huge impact upon my spiritual life and I want to wrap up my thoughts on the impact a visit to his tombstone made upon my life.

A few months after his death, God was most definitely at work within my 17 year old heart. I was being challenged by a youth pastor to give it all to God and through a series of events with friends felt like I needed to make a decision on whether or not I was going to give myself to a life of following this Jesus I had grown up with or dabble with another life path. On one particularly low day, I ended up at my grandfather's tombstone. His was a life I admired and for some reason I felt as though I may gain some insight with a visit to the cemetery.

One of the things I have come to appreciate about both of my grandfather's tombstones is that they have Scripture on them. There is no fancy man made poems or thoughts, just Biblical truth that brings hope. On this particular visit to my one grandfather's tombstone, I was hit with three simple words "Awaiting the Shout" (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). To a casual onlooker, these three words don't mean much but they hit me like a ton of bricks that day. The Bible speaks very clearly to the real and living hope we have as Christ followers because of the truth that for those who have trusted Christ as their Savior, there is coming a day when He will return and raise up those who have died in Him and take us with Him to our eternal home.

It was on that day looking at those words that I realized there is no better way to live this life than to follow hard after the One (Christ) who loved me enough to not just save me from my sins, but give me a living hope that I will see Him face to face and live with Him forever. I committed that day to be an individual who walks this earth looking forward to the "shout" rather than fearing it.

There is power in God's living Word (the Bible) and my prayer is that for all who read this blog they too are "awaiting the shout" with great anticipation rather than fear and/or confusion. I give thanks for the godly influence my grandfather provided in both his life and even in his death.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Godly Influence & A Death (Part 1)

In a week I have the opportunity to speak to the students of Grace Student Ministries. It is a group I haven't interacted much with, so I have felt led as of late to share my story with them as the mighty work of God is many times most clearly seen in each of our life stories.

As I got thinking about my life journey, I couldn't help but reflect upon one of the pivotal moments of my teenage years (and there were a number). It was 1988 and my brother and I were driving to school to finish out our year and take some final exams. My grandfather had not been well and my parents had been spending quite a bit of time with my grandmother, so we were not shocked to see them gone when my brother and I awoke that morning. But... we were shocked when we pulled into the school parking lot and saw them sitting there visibly upset.

It was that morning I found out my grandfather with whom I was very close to had passed away. He was a wonderful man who loved and served the Lord faithfully his entire life. He was a pastor who had the spiritual gift of evangelism and he spent the later part of his life traveling around the Continent sharing the good news that Jesus Christ saves sinners.

His death did two things within my life as an almost 17 year old. It left a huge vacancy as I always enjoyed hanging out with my grandfather. He was full of life and it was contagious! But it also got me thinking hard for the very first time about spiritual matters as I was forced to face the reality as a teenager that life on this earth is but very temporal which left me asking, "then what?".

God was at work in my life and months later He would use a visit to my grandfather's tombstone to influence the very direction of my life. More on that in my next post...