Friday, February 18, 2011

Finality part 2

Please take time to read the last entry Finality for all of this to make since. Patrick Phillips is a long time friend and great blogger. I truly appreciate the opportunity to respond. Thanks Patrick!

Patrick says:

Knowing nothing of this particular situation, other than the fact that you are no longer there, I can't help but wonder why a staffing change in a church requires a severing of contact that makes one feel "cut off."
It hardly seems what one would expect from the "family of God." I've known of other pastors who've separated from their churches and the contact just ended. Completely. 
Why should one have to lose "the intimacy of accountability and ministry?"

The finality is my realization that God has moved us on to other things. As far as the accountability and intimacy, it is only hindered by the proximity of the people involved. All of the ministerial and support staff are the most loving gracious friends I have, but because I'm not "in the office" anymore, I miss our impromptu conversations, last minute lunch and coffee, and just being in the same building as they are. When someone leaves a church staff, even on good terms, it's still a loss and void for all involved. We all know God will fill the void. That's what He's teaching me now. I told a group of students the following about 4 years ago. "God will not take anything away that He won't fill with Himself." But as that happens, I have to empty ME. That's the hard part and it's on me. I love them dearly and they will always be family. I have been SO fortunate to work with 2 church staffs who share that connection. It's a testimony to like mindedness and Christ likeness. Thanks for helping me process my brain!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


It seems too real. We have closed the book on almost 9 years of ministry at Trinity and 20 years in student ministry. It hit me a few days ago when I stop receiving church emails hospital and prayer lists. I still have the account sitting on my laptop, but today I got the message my username and password were no longer valid. I help set up that email account. It seems insignificant, and I hold no animosity toward the staff, but it's bitter sweet for me. It's hard to make a cold turkey clean break, but I know it's best. I enjoyed my time in the office. There were deep friendships, deep accountability, and a lot of learning. Ministry took place among the ministerial and support staff in a special way many churches never experience. I know friendships will continue, but I already miss the intimacy of accountability and ministry.
This is just one piece among many that includes missing the band, small groups, retreats, midweek worship and all the students and leaders who have poured into and drawn out of the goodness of God through the ministry. I look forward to the days ahead, but I miss the days that were. I guess God's still working on me.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Struggle: What I Should Be Vs. What I Am

Preface: I wrote this recently while struggling through some family, job related, and personal issues of faith. God is providing so much right now through our immediate and church families. We are very grateful. Kim will be going through surgery this Friday and I will be taking a few weeks off to be hubby and daddy. Please pray for us and HE directs our path. Thanks.

So 2011 has started off with a bang (from a 2x4. I feel like Chris Farley asking David Spade about the red mark across my face in Tommy Boy). There are so many uncertain things right now. I KNOW God has it under control. It's all in His hands, but what I feel in my heart and follow with my mind is far from knowing He's got this. I struggle with uncertainty, fear, what-if's and might-have-been's. I fight with my own shortfalls of not trusting.

So here are my options.

1. Fake It.
Pretend and try to convince myself everything is alright. Act like it, refuse to think about negative outcomes, and just "leave it to the Loh-ard!! Dontworrybehappynow!! Put on my happy face because I'm happy and I know it and I'm gonna shout to the lord because I can only imagine when I lift Your name on high what a day of rejoicing that will be...
Yeah, I can't fake it. I would love to appear spiritual and mature, but I would rather be real and transparent.

2. Embrace it.
Take my lumps. Blame it on myself or everyone else. Become the suffering psudo-servant martyr and waller in self loathing and pity. I'm really good at this sometimes. GLOOOOM, DISPAIR, and AGONY ON ME... WOOOOAAAAAHHHHHH (yeah, how many Hee-Haw fans in da house wootwoot SAAAA-LUTE!!)

3. Accept It.
It is what it is. These issues are transitions in life that include every aspect of my being. It will effect my family, friends, future, and, and, and (dangit, I can't figure out another "f")...
FAITH!!!! Yeah, that's it. FAITH!!!
I enjoy asking people about God telling Abraham to sacrifice Isaac in Genesis 22.
God is all knowing, right?
God knew the outcome of Abraham's decision, Right?
Then why did He ask Abraham to sacrifice Isaac?
To see what Abraham would do? NOPE
TO see what Isaac would do? NOPE
Just to play with Abraham's head and freak him out? Maybe...
The test was not so God could see what Abraham would do. He already knew. It was so Abraham could see what Abraham would do. God brought Abraham to a major crisis of complete trust, and he passed the test. It made him the father of a nation (father Abraham had many sons and many sons had father Abraham, shake a leg, wave a hand, lalalala).
For those not knowing the outcome of Genesis 22, you should read it. PLEASE READ IT... NOW!!!

So, this is my process. I go through all three options, back and forth and back again. I don't know what the future holds. I'm concerned, a little worried, nah, outright scared. In the back of my mind and heart I know it will all work out, but I'm ready for it to get out of the back of my mind and heart and take over all of me. God's promises do so much more that come to pass, they transform me into the image of Jesus. It's time for me to stop fighting the transformation and let God put me to the test.