Another year is behind me and behold, I am twenty-seven as of today.  Life as of late has been quite the interesting experience, and I figured I’d catch up on what I’ve been doing and where God has been leading me these past few months.

While I was 26 I had a good time – In the last year I graduated from seminary, moved to my new home – Springfield, Missouri, and I’ve joined a sweet covenant community of believers at LifePoint Church.  Also, for the first time since I had first moved to Fort Worth, I have my dog Jack with me, and it’s good to have him around.  I’ve lived in Rogersville for the past six months, and the country living has been good.  I experienced fireflies for the first time, and enjoyed a real fall – the trees changing colors are gorgeous here in southern Missouri.

As far as employment goes, I went from being a glorified telemarketer to doing customer service with Wyndham, and it has been nothing short of a huge blessing.  I’ve enjoyed consistent paychecks, excellent benefits, great opportunities for advancement, and gracious management that have all allowed me the peace that a good job affords.  God has also seen fit to bring many good and godly friends into my same workplace, and in so doing has built an atmosphere of missional engagement, encouragement, and deep camaraderie.  I am thankful to not be depressed at work everyday, thankful for not having to drive to Branson, and thankful that I am both encouraged and challenged to do my best for the company that I work for.  Though my first few months in Springfield were rough to say the least, God has now seen fit to bless me with a solid, steady job for this season.

My new home church (LifePoint Church in Ozark, MO) has also been a huge blessing.  The elders there are both wise and godly men who lead their families well.  I have had the joy of learning from them as an elder-in-training for the past several months, and God has also given me an opportunity to use my gifts to encourage and sharpen the congregation.  I have spoken to Apex, the high school student ministry on two occasions, and along with writing several other documents for and with the elders, I will also teach/lead a session at our upcoming Community Group Leaders’ retreat in January.  So God has also seen fit to use me for public ministry in several ways, and I’m very excited for this next year to see how we grow together, and how I can be used of God for the betterment of his Bride.

My personal ministry has also been going well – I’ve been leading a dear younger friend (Logan) through the process of preparing for marriage, growing in the knowledge and application of the Scriptures, and in spiritual leadership.  We’ve had a great time thus far, and I’m both honored to be his mentor, and excited to see him grow and make more disciples himself.  I am further honored to stand at his side during his wedding in April, which will be a great joy.  I’ve known quite a few solid guys in my day, but there are very few that I have more respect for than my dear friend Logan.  He has shown me much about my own sin and walked through it with me, and he has been a gracious disciple as we’ve met and sharpened each other.

Along those same lines, I have been asked to officiate the wedding ceremony of another set of dear friends, Corey and his beautiful fiancée Alli.  I was overjoyed to accept, and am looking forward to seeing what happens in the next few months leading up to their wedding day.  Corey is a dear brother, and when I think back over the long hours of conversation we’ve had about marriage, I believe he will be nothing less than a godly, Christ-emulating, God-glorifying husband for his bride-to-be.

Though things as of late have been going quite well and a calm and comfort has found its way into my life for now, I have noticed a somewhat unsettling trend in the “things I never thought I’d do” category of my life.  For example, I never thought I’d have a job with a cubicle – I have now had two in a row.  I never thought I could have a job where I would be on the phone everyday all day, much less one in telemarketing – but I did serve my time there as well.  I had hoped to never turn in my Texas driver’s license – I have done that (with a bit of reservation).  At one time in my life I never thought I’d move out of Texas, much less enjoy life in another state – I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Missouri, and look forward to the next few years with these dear and precious people.  I also (and feel free to verify this with our lead planter Greg Gaumer) never thought I would plant a church.  I entertained thoughts of re-planting or revitalizing a church, but never planting and starting from the ground up.  I am now a joyful church planter and am passionate about men who feel called to plant churches.  It has been a longer process of thinking church planting appropriate for someone with my gifts, but I feel that God has indeed called me to be a part of a church planting team, and I’m excited to serve him in this way.  It is not an easy calling, but it is a precious one.  It requires of me much endurance, patience, and faith in God’s sovereign plan rather than my own selfish wants and preferences.

The past five years have been fairly challenging and have seen many trials come and go.  Fear, uncertainty, and doubt have plagued me and I have seen my fair share of sorrow.  I don’t know exactly what God has in store for me in the coming months, but I must say that he has chosen to bless me and bring me a certain kind of peace and security as I begin my 27th year under the sun.

I do praise God for this respite, knowing that my journey is far from complete.  I pray that I remember this season of blessing when joy is not as readily accessible and his praises are more seldom found on my lips.

I share a birthday with:
Franz Ferdinand (1863 – whose assassination began World War I),
Charles Wesley (1707 – hymn writer and brother of John Wesley),
Ty Cobb
(1886 – baseball player),
Keith Richards (1943 – of the Rolling Stones),
Steven Spielberg (1947 – amazing director),
Ray Liotta
(1954 – actor),
Brad Pitt
(1965 – actor),
Katie Holmes (1978 – actress),
Christina Aguilera
(1980 – singer).

A bit of trivia for December 18th:
In 1918 the House of Representatives approved the 18th Amendment, enacting Prohibition; in 1865 the 13th Amendment was ratified, abolishing slavery in the United States.

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