Thursday, July 17, 2014

Get up and eat.

I've been in a funk lately.

I've been described for years as being steady. Never too high. Never too low.

Something amazing happens? We celebrate! But we also know there is more to be done. We continue to believe the best is yet to come.

Something lousy happens? We grieve. We hurt. But we also know the worst thing is never the last thing. We continue to believe the best is yet to come.

But in recent months, my downs have been more down. Some amazing stuff. Yet still kind've down.

Sought out a pastor who pastors pastors for some counseling sessions to try and walk through the funk with me and help me process what God is up to in this.

I'm very much "for" seeking counseling. If someone wants to work on their life and get to a better place, that seems like a no brainer thing to encourage. But I'm aware there's been a stigma on seeing a counselor. I guess it conveys that the person doesn't have it all together...might be a little nuts...might need help.

Guess what friends?

I don't have it all together.

I'm probably more than just a little nuts.

I need help.

Turns out having both parents die suddenly and watch your daughter go to the brink of death and then go through a subsequent two year survival/crisis season may take a toll on you. Throw in planting a church in the midst of all that to make sure you're not bored and your emotions stay on edge, and you've got a recipe for a 'hot mess'.

I'm not going anywhere. I'm not going over the deep end. I am still steadfast in calling from the Lord. I am still steady on His grace and truth. I know I am his. I know Columbus is home. I know C3 is where I'm called to lead and serve (and I love what is happening in this church!)

But sometimes life is hard.

Just ask Elijah.

He was God's prophet in Israel. In 1 Kings 17 he watches God use ravens to feed him. Ravens...flying over to him...giving him food! That hasn't happened very often to me.

Then he instructs Elijah to go over to a widow and her dying son and eat their last meal before the food runs out from the famine...but the last meal miraculously turns into meal after meal. God sustains Elijah and the widow and her son, all of whom thought their death was certain.

Then the son gets sick and stopped breathing. Elijah prays and heals the son.

It's a pretty epic chapter.

Nurturing Ravens.

Replenished food sources that could put Kroger out of business.

Dead kids coming back to life (maybe we know a bit about that one).

Chapter 18, Elijah has a showdown with 450 prophets of another god. Elijah (well, primarily God), wins in a landslide and God shows himself to be alive and well to the people of Israel.

Chapter 19? They are trying to kill Elijah. He's seen epic, supernatural, faith affirming things for two chapters and now is fleeing for his life.

Elijah fled...got away...sat down under a tree and prayed: "I have had enough, Lord. Take my life."

I can identify with Elijah right now.

I've seen God do amazing things. (This Sunday four folks from the missional community I lead will profess faith in Christ and be baptized AND we'll commission 14 people to go serve a village in Ecuador!) He's brought a church into existence from nothing but a dream. He's made dead hearts beat again (which never gets old).

But as cool as chapter 17 and 18 continue to be, there is part of me that is stuck in chapter 19.

I've had enough Lord. The hardship and sadness and weariness are real.

Maybe you know all about having had enough.

Ready to throw in the towel? To call it quits? To raise the white flag? To curse God and die?

Just know God's response to Elijah's prayer.

"All at once an angel touched him and said 'Get up and eat.' He looked around and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, 'Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.'"

Friends, I've said it before: "God will never give you more than you can handle is a bunch of BS".

It is precisely where you can't handle it all that God shows His provision and care for you.

The journey is too much for you.

I can't do this.

But that's the point. I don't have to.

He gives us exactly what we need, exactly when we need it.

Get up and eat. Feast on what God has provided.

Nourishment.

Energy.

Hope.

Get up and eat friends. The Lord has prepared exactly what your soul needs.

This Sunday I will stand at a table with bread and juice. I will get up and eat in remembrance of a God who knew the journey would be too much for me from the beginning and provided me a rescuer so I wouldn't have to go it alone.

May you have the courage and strength to get up and eat this week as well.

And may He satisfy your soul in ways you never thought possible.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Journey from 0 to 13 to 2786

It's almost been two years now.

Two out of shape, non-runner guys decided to run a half marathon and raise money to plant a church and compassion center in rural Ecuador. Not only would a church exist where none previously existed, but also 200 kids from that village would be given a hand up out of poverty and given education and food resources that weren't guaranteed before. Not only that, but 50 children age 0-3 went into a child survival program with their mom's to give them a better shot at a future.

One decision took us from 0 miles to 13.1 miles.

And now two years later it is taking us 2786 more miles as City Campus Church will take it's first mission team ever to travel to the church we helped start.

Not only did we help start the church, but we also had 10 people from C3 sponsor 10 kids in that village through Compassion International.

And now this team of 14 from City Campus Church has raised the funds (almost...still about $400 to be raised!)

We don't do "short term mission trips".

We do partnership. Two way street. Life giving for both sides. Long lasting for both sides.

So the church we helped start. The kids we helped sponsor. The same people we will connect with for a week in Ecuador. Invite you to pray for us as this will be a challenging, tiring and yet life-altering trip.

It is humbling to think that answering God's calling to move to Columbus 2 years ago led to us answering God's call in Ecuador as well.

The journey of a lifetime joining Jesus where he is at work.

Whether in running a half marathon...

Planting a church...

Sponsoring a compassion child...

Or loving your neighbor...

They all begin the same.

With

one

simple

step.

Change starts here.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A thousand words

Been on vacation for 2 weeks and got to celebrate Chaia's birthday in style with a dolphin boat ride at sunset.

Grateful that God has given us life with her.

Our good friends who have become like family came to visit before we left for South Carolina.

Our paths would have never crossed without Chaia's story, but Sarah Marie has told Chaia's miraculous story since the early days in the hospital when it didn't look promising.

She has an uncanny ability to capture a life with her lens.