Thursday, December 13, 2012

Catching Up...

So, it has been and while and I could make excuses, the bottom line is that I just haven't felt like blogging. I think about it and the different articles I could write but I just don't do it. I am not going to promise to write more but I am going to try my best.

I want to use this post to just catch people up on what is going on with me. I am working at Epworth UMC and Walmart. I am doing ministry but in a different way. I am Director of Family Ministries and kind of an associate without the title. I am happy there and look forward to doing more ministry. I am also working at Walmart full time as Department Manager of Infants as Children's. I am excited about this position as it is a move up and full time. It is funny to think that I didn't have a full time job for a whole year.

I believe God is leading me a place I haven't thought about before or maybe moving back to something I once was. I am not thrilled about doing bi-vocational ministry but I am seeing what God is doing.

Our family is doing well. We have had some major and minor bumps along the way but God has been faithful to USAF we are thankful. We couldn't and can't do it without him. We have adjusted our lifestyle to the lack of funds and find that we can live without a lot.

I am looking forward to what is in our future. I know it is different and maybe a little scary by I know God is there...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Why Can't We All Get Along?

I am going to jump into the political side of things for a while.  I consider myself an independent on most everything.  I don't follow people blindly or because they align with a couple of my beliefs.  I live my life as a Christians but believe that we are all sinners and need God's love.  I believe what I believe because of years of searching myself, scripture and listening to God.  I know that people don't agree 100% with me, even within my own church or denomination.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Will vs God's Will

I have never been one to rely on other people.  I have been on my own for most of my life.  I left my house at the age of (barely) 18, went to college and have never really returned home or asked for help from my parents.  While this might be commendable, this desire to be self-dependent has been a hindrance when it comes to trusting God to help you.

In my early times in ministry, I struggled when church members or people would come up and try to give me some sort of gift.  I would brush it off or let them know it was needed.  In some cases, they gave it anyways, other they just walked away.  When I was at a church in Mt. Juliet, TN, my pastor and I were talking about this and he told me that receiving gifts was allowing that person to fulfill what God was calling them to do and that by not accepting them, you were limiting their work.  I was floored.  I had never thought of it that way.  The conversation changed my thinking and since then I have received gifts and thanks with much graciousness and joy.

My other struggle has been allowing God to provide for me.  I was like many other Christians who said that I trusted God with everything but deep down I didn't.  I would tithe when I had the extra money but if I didn't then I would "forget" my checkbook.  My thinking was that somehow I was fooling God.  This was the way my whole life was.  I said I trusted God but ultimately I was trusting myself to provide and allowing God whenever it was OK.

Over the last 10 months, God has been pruning away my desire to be self-dependent.  He caused me to see that only through Him do I have a job, food and shelter.  He showed me that leaning on Him is more productive then trying to live for myself.  This came strikingly clear as I searched for a job.  At about the 3 month mark, I hadn't received a single call back on any of the over 100 jobs I had applied for.  I began to think that maybe I was looking in the wrong place, so I talked to my now pastor and being his volunteer associate pastor.  He basically hired me that weekend.  I was floored, it wasn't much money but it was some.  I was glad to be at Epworth.  I then struggled with applying for other jobs.  I knew that God was providing for us and that I was at the church I needed to be at but I felt that I needed something else to bring in more money to provide for myself.  I had this internal struggle of applying for jobs versus trusting in God to put me where he wanted.

It was hard.  Very hard to let go.  Sadly, I continued to look for jobs because I didn't want to "give up" on what God might have for me but I knew that I wouldn't find anything because God didn't want me working anywhere else.  I also began to realize that I needed to branch out my circle of friends.  Since moving to Newburgh and leaving the church we moved here for, my circle was incredibly small to almost non-existent.  God provided my a job, working at Walmart, to help this.  I believe He has called me there to reach others for Him or at the very least be a friend to those who need it...

Friday, June 29, 2012

What is Our Reliance Costing Us?

Yesterday, the Supreme Court had a major ruling on how the Government can or cannot tax you regarding having health insurance.  If you havent' heard anything about it, just got to any news website and check it out.  This blog isn't about that specific case but about how we as Christians have fallen into a trap that started a long time ago.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The American Dream

Is the American Dream a part of God's plan?

This thought started with a conversation on Facebook about telling our kids that 'they can do anything they want as long as they put their mind to it'.  The conversation bounced from it is healthy to inspire our kids to we shouldn't be making our kids to expect they cannot do things that they just cannot do.  I began to wonder about this because for me personally, I have tried to keep my kids grounded in the belief of what they couldn't do while encouraging them to strive to be more than what they are currently doing.  I want my kids to be great but I don't want them crushed when they aren't nor do I want them to expect that everyone who just thinks they can be great, will be.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

What is Going On - Part 3

We have had a rough 7 months and we still aren't sure where we are going.  I landed a part-time position at Epworth UMC as their Director of Family Ministries.  I am working under a great pastor named Bill who, funny enough, isn't Methodist but is leading a Methodist Church (that is a post for another day).  He has great knowledge of the church and is my mentor in the UMC Licensing process.  He has a heart for reaching the lost and doing justice.  He has brought this church through some major tough times.  I am glad to be working with and learning from him.

Friday, June 15, 2012

What Is Going On - Part 2

Yesterday, I brought everyone up to date on what has been going on with us over the last 18 months.  It has been a roller coaster ride of life.  In those 18 months, we had resigned from two positions and moved to a new city.  Our life was a mess and there didn't seem to be anything in site.

After we left Newburgh UMC, we had no idea what God wanted from me.  I thought this would be the perfect church but now I wasn't sure.  We were financially strapped from just moving and my wife was only making $120 a week, not enough for us to live on.  I immediately began looking for local and regional positions.  I thought maybe a new job would come fast but it never did.  

I kept questioning God about why He was allowing this to happen.  I kept thinking of what I could have done better or what I did wrong to be tested in this way.  Didn't I follow where God had called me to?  Was I supposed to move to Newburgh or was there another church that God wanted me at?  How in the world would I pay our bills on what little was coming in?  What was God really wanting me to do?

In all these questions, I began to think harder about becoming an ordained pastor.  I had thought about the move from youth pastor to lead pastor before but didn't feel ready for it or that this was were God wanted me.  I still felt called to youth ministry, so making the move didn't seem to make sense.  The more doors closed on us moving to another ministry position, the more I realized that God was asking me to make the decision.  I wasn't looking forward to the long road ahead to become an ordained pastor.

The path would take years and will require me to go back to college and get a Master's of Divinity degree.  All I could think was ugh...  But God continued to push me in that direction, so I made the move.  I spoke with our district rep regarding the process and filled out the paper work.  I had officially entered the process and was ready for what needed to be done.  I hoped this move would lead me to a new ministry position, and it kind of did...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What's Being Going On - Part 1

I know, I know, it has been a long time since I have blogged on this site.  My life has been super crazy and I just haven't felt the need to write anything.  I have a ton of ideas saved up and I am hoping to take another crack at this blogging thing.

I wanted to use this first blog to catch people up on what has been going on in my life.  This will probably take a few blogs, so please be patient.  The focus of this blog will probably change also.  I will talk more about that later.

So what has been going on....

Over the last 18 months the life of our family has been a very crazy roller coaster.  In March of 2011 we resigned from our position from Platte Woods UMC after almost 5 years of ministry.  This is a decision that we felt God was asking us to make and after some needed push we did it.  In our arrogance, we thought finding another position would be simple, unfortunately it wasn't.  We looked for 7 months before we made the move to Newburgh and accepted a position at Newburgh UMC.  

We were super excited about this move because we believed the church and staff were a good fit for us.  We saw huge potential in the youth group and knew that this could be a long term position for us.  Unfortunately, after just 3 months we were asked to resign for what was told us as "chemistry" between the leaders and I.  I was floored.  I had no idea this was coming and never expected it from this church.  We knew that 3 months isn't long enough to get started much less make any significant progress but we accepted the reality of it and decided to move on.

So once again, less than a year later, we were on the look out for a new position.  Again we thought there would be a quick resolution and we had a few bites right off the bat, but nothing came of it.  We looked for youth ministry positions as well as secular work because we weren't sure that we wanted to move our kids after being here only 4 months.

We began to question God and how he could move us to a new location only to lose our job in 3 months.  We had no idea what the plan was or where we would end up.  The idea of moving again scared us because we had no financial means of doing it.  We had already uprooted our family once that year and didn't want to do it again.  We had no idea what God was wanting from us...