Monday, February 16, 2015

An Anchor for my Soul

So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Hebrews 6:18-19

Today was Northwest Community Church's 5th birthday. It was such a beautiful morning of celebration of what God has done in and through Northwest, but also a celebration of who God is. We talked about WHY we, as christian's, can celebrate. 

The music and Will's talk all pointed back to how Christian celebration flows directly from the fact that we have an anchor in this life. We have an anchor that does not shift or come loose. When everything else is shifting or settling, our anchor does not change. He holds. There is no storm too big or wind too strong for our anchor. Our anchor cannot be dug up or made to shift with the current. Our anchor in this life is Jesus. We can stand and celebrate in good times and in bad times because we have a foundation that is sure. 

This idea of God as our anchor settled so deep in me today. This past year has been crazy. We left behind stable jobs, steady income, friends, familiarity, family, routine, "easy." We left those things behind because we have an anchor. We have a God who stays no matter what is going on around us. He stays even when we leave him. He stays when we are scared. He stays when things are good. He stays when friends are made. He stays when relationships begin to blossom. He stays when we get to be a part of life change. He stays when we are tired. He stays. 

I praise my God that he is an awesome, big God who created the world, but I also praise my God for being a God who sees me where I am and who I can truly say is an anchor for my soul. 

This Grace-Passion

This anchor for my soul, - This everlasting hope, - Your grace on which I stand.
And it's where my life begins, - My future held within, - Your grace on which I stand.
Oh, this grace on which I stand, - It will hold me till the end, - Never failing.
And Oh, praise the One who rescued me, - Jesus you will ever be, - My salvation.
And when I'm on the road, - The road that leads me home, - Your grace on which I stand.
And when I see your face, - The only claim I'll make, - Your grace on which I stand.

Worthy is the Lamb of God
Who takes away the sin of the World
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain
To receive all honour and praise

We sang this song this morning and it is simply a prayer of thanksgiving and praise and confidnece in our anchor. 


Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Busy Life of a Bi-Vocational Church Planter

We have been a bit MIA over in the blogosphere for a while. Life just got really crazy there for a while. It has been a big adjustment for me to start working full time and try to fill in some gaps around the church along with Jared. Hopefully, you've been keeping up with us on other social media avenues- Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.

The fall really began life for us in full force. We were a part of a 12-week community group that was held in 2 different couple's homes. The group was comprised of babies and couples much older than us. It was really refreshing to be part of a group with men & women who were older and wiser than us. I really think that is how the church is meant to operate.

We also decided to take a free class offered by one of the local churches in town. They offer free college-like courses to anyone. We did one on the Panorama of the Bible along with another couple from church. The man who taught it has spent his life developing this Panorama of the Bible and we definitely learned a lot through this course.

Jared often had band practice one night a week to go over songs for the coming Sunday morning. Towards the end of the fall semester, Jared was offered the opportunity to help lead worship on Wednesday nights for the Students at one of the local churches. This is a really neat opportunity for him to get to know some kids in the area and pour into the next generation that way, and it is also a great way that God is continuing to provide for us in ways we weren't anticipating.

    (Girls Night Christmas Party)

Finally, Jared and I took the front seat in starting the student ministry at Northwest this fall. We would meet on Sunday nights for a couple hours each week. We have a Grow, Serve, Live mentality. Each night is either a GROW night where were we study the Word together, a SERVE night where we serve in some capacity as a group or a LIVE night were we just hang out and enjoy community together. We both love students, but Jared was very out of his comfort zone in teaching students on Sunday nights. He did a great job and really stepped up to the challenge. We have a unique opportunity of having a group of kids who are mostly very far from God and church in general. We have anywhere from 2-12 kids each week, and really have to wear our "flexible pants" in how we love and serve these kids. We were blessed and humbled recently to have Scott & Amilee Sanders join our team at Northwest, and Scott is going to be taking over the student ministry. Jared and I will continue to serve the students but we will be co-pilots for Scott & Amilee now. You can read the Sanders' story over on their blog here.

(Our little "Christmas Tree")

On top of all the church busyness, I have been working full time at Financial Office in town. The job is wonderful and I couldn't ask for a better group of people to work with. They all love Jesus, and it is truly a gift from God that I get to work with such like-minded people; I am not unaware of what a rarity it is in our world today. While work is good, it has still been a difficult adjustment for me for a few reasons. I've never worked full-time before, I've never really worked in an office setting like this before, and I've never worked in finances before. It has all just been really new to me. But we're making it work, and thanking God for opening this door for me to work while Jared is able to do ministry full-time with Northwest. He wouldn't be able to do what he does if I wasn't working, so that makes going to work each day a little easier knowing I'm helping in the mission of the church in that way.

If any of you know us well enough, you know we like to work out and exercise. Jared has been able to join a gym nearby and make some relationships with the people there. That has been a fun experience to meet new people outside of church. I have been running. I am still on the lookout for some running partners around here:) I've had a few come and go, so I'm sure I'll find someone. The running/outdoor scene in Northwest Arkansas is thriving. There are awesome trails everywhere, and people are always out running or biking. It is really easy to spend time outside being active, which we enjoy greatly!

As always, we are so grateful for the prayers and support of our friends and family. As life has settled in here, we have our ups and downs, but we have been continually reminded of God's faithfulness and provision. He has been with us the whole way, and will continue to lead us from here. We are so sure of it.

If I can get my act together, I will update here more often so that these posts aren't so long!


Friday, January 2, 2015

Christmas in the 'Ham

After 8 months in Northwest Arkansas, we were able to take a good long vacation to the ol' Birmingham to visit our families and some friends over Christmas. It was a much anticipated break! We got some nice family photos and some nice rest and relaxation. 

It was such a joy to visit friends and family. It's so neat how God created us for relationships with others and what joy those relationships can bring! Our friendships mean a lot to us but more than anything they are reminder of how much our Creator cares about us. 

He cares so much for me, and you, that he put people in my life to encourage me & love me & challenge me & comfort me. He gave me friends to laugh with and to cry with, but more than that he gives us each a deeper desire within for a relationship with Him. 

All these friendships are gifts from God, but they are just a shadow of the love relationship we are able to have with the Creator of the Universe. He is The One who sustains and loves and cares and confronts and challenges more than any person can. What a privilege it is to know him and to trust him because he's not just big, he's close too. He knows me and he wants me:) And he wants you too. And I truly believe he gives us friends so we can feel His love and comfort in a tangible way. 

All that to say, I love our friends & family both new and old! And thankful for our restful break!

Now it's back to real life:) 


Have You Ever Spent Christmas Eve in a Barn?

At the church, we did our Christmas Eve service in a barn. We put up lights everywhere, made some coffee, hot chocolate, and some cookies. We put up a bunch of signs around town and everyone invited their friends and neighbors. Come Christmas Eve night, we had on our gloves and and had the hot chocolate ready and waited to see who would show up. 

We had about 150+ people show up as Jared led with music and Will presented the gospel. It was a really neat night where we got to worship God and we got to serve some new faces! We are looking forward to see how God continues to use that night in the coming year! 


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What Makes a Home

The question of the year:

"Are you all moved in?"

My typical answer, "We've got everything unpacked and are getting settled."

But then I can't help but wonder "What does it mean to be settled?"

 I've had quite a bit of practice answering this question, but I'm never all that satisfied with my answer. I mean, all my things are in our house, and I have almost everything where I want it to go. We eat, sleep, and play here. We are basically living in this house, but it takes more than all that for it to really be home-at least for me it does.

A home is all about the people that are in it. Not Jared and myself necessarily, but the experiences that happen with the people in our home.

I found a short quote one time, and it has been my desire for our home ever since:

Lord, help me to build the kind of home where all who enter find it impossible to keep from thinking of God.

From day 1 of our marriage, Jared and I have said that we want our home to be a place for people. We want our home to be a place where people can come and feel at home. Oftentimes this means picking up before people come over, but it doesn't mean it is spotless. It means taking the time to light a candle, but it doesn't mean having the most expensive candles. It means offering something to drink, even if the only option is water. It means sitting down and taking the time to hear someone else's story.

It takes time to build a home like this. We still have a lot to learn, but what I do know is that a beautiful home isn't about the decorations on the wall, or the food on the table. A beautiful home is about the conversations cultivated on the couches, the problems worked through over coffee, and the lessons learned over a slice of pizza. A beautiful home is found in taking the time to invite someone into your own life even in the midst of the crazy. It is found in being okay with allowing someone else to see you in all your imperfections.

I pray that we always take the time to make our home a place where all who enter find it impossible to keep from thinking of God.


Friday, May 23, 2014

Farmers Markets, Drivers License and Golf Courses

First week in the new place! We both took a week before really starting work so we could get some stuff done, and kind of get settled in. We got all the essentials taken care of like car tag, drivers licenses, and changing the utilities over. We also got to do some fun things!

Our condo happens to sit right on one of the many golf courses over here. So our only real option for taking Gavin on a walk is to the cart path over to the closest park. Well, apparently there is an overabundance of squirrels here compared to Macon, and Gavin has noticed.
This is about a minute from our front door, he dragged me over to the tree after the squirrel went up. We are working on this:)

There is a rather large farmers market nearby that I got to visit on Saturday. It is just so beautiful here. I will try to remember to take more pictures next time. These were the only ones I got.

Also, this is happening:
(if you can't tell from the picture, we just finished our first crossfit workout....yes we are)

And a few more just for fun.
Gavin loves his bed. 

Dog park:)

We have gotten to hang out with some pretty cool people too. I am really looking forward to seeing friendships develop, and beginning to really get to know people both in and outside the church. I continue to pray for strength for both of us as we make this transition. Things are good, but change is always hard. The Lord is being so very gracious, and I know he will continue to do so. He has provided so far so how could I ever doubt him? 

You make known to me the path of life; 
in your presence there is fullness of joy; 
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11


Monday, May 19, 2014

The First Weekend.

The morning after we drove in, some awesome people showed up to help us move into our sweet little two-bedroom condo. It took about an hour to figure out how to fit our couches in the living room, but don't worry- we did it.

And the dog kennel didn't have to go in the middle of the room after all:)

We did finally get all the boxes unpacked and almost all the things hung on the walls.

And we have a sweet little "workshop" off the deck:)

Jared's wonderful parents helped us get started on our unpacking while they were here. They were definitely a huge help!! Wish they could've been here for more exploring than unpacking-maybe next time! We did find some good ice cream and the dog park though:)

The Fincher Adventure has definitely taken a good turn.