Friday, August 19, 2011

Settling in...

... sort of!

Life is definitely exciting for us here in McKinney post-wedding!  It's exciting and fun and we are grateful for all God's given us and for all He is doing to provide for us.  He is good indeed.

But to be honest, the lack of routine has been hard as well.  Erin is working on a new job schedule and I am still in the hunt for my own.  So as much fun as excitement is - we are hoping to find ourselves a little groove and get into a routine of living here soon!  But for now, here's an update on what's been going on.

Married Life
Being married is great!  It's been just over a month now and we are beginning to learn the intricacies of sharing life with another person.  While it's been by far be fun, sweet, and exciting with a lot of laughing and great times together - Erin and I both are sinners (surprise, surprise!) and so we are also at the very first stages of learning what it means to die to yourself and learn to lift up the other person.  I've heard that marriage is the first step into learning how selfish you really are (and that having kids is like a doctorate in that) so we are learning how to recognize that in ourselves and seek to follow the example of Jesus in how we love each other.  I know there is no one on the planet I would rather do that for, and so throughout all the stages of life our hope is that Jesus would continue working in us for His glory and our growing to be like Him.  But as for marriage - I recommend it!  : )

Be Our Guest... (to quote one of Erin's favorite Disney movies!)
We have had a lot of people come and visit us in the last few weeks.  My sister, Lindsay, and our sweet friends the Rains.  Scott and Nicole Stonehouse (our great friends, mentors and marriage counseling leaders) have also made the trip up.  Erin's brother, Michael, stayed the weekend with us last week and we were finally able to find a time to have our new neighbors over for a meal.  And last night we had the famous Paul Fazio over for dinner and ice cream!

And, of course, Landon and Kieshaun make multiple visits to our door each day.  (When does school start again?  : )  haha)

Our desire is that this house would be a place where Jesus is Lord and that when people come through our door they are in a place where they feel welcomed, loved and can hear the beautiful words of the gospel.  I am thankful for our visitors and hope to have many, many more throughout the years.

If you'd like to come stop by, say 'hey', eat a meal or need a place to crash for a night - shoot me an email!  We'd love to have you over.

More Connections
God keeps playing a wonderful cosmic game of connect-the-dots with me and Erin here in McKinney.  We have met, through providence, so many people that are up here in McKinney doing ministry that I've either met previously or God has allowed our heart to be communicated to them through someone else.  So whether they are new friends or the budding of previous introductions, God is helping us see little fruits of affirmation in the ministry leaders, pastors, students and other believers we have already connected with here in McKinney.  He is good and He is already putting pieces together in order to deliver the gospel to the harvest that is this community.  It is a combination of humbling, exciting, daunting and thrilling to be a part of it all.  Keep us in your prayers as we want this to be a huge movement and revival for the city of McKinney and the souls of men and women and families here!

Hi-Ho-Hi-Ho -- it's off to work we go...
Well, sort of.

Keep us in your prayers as we are waiting for a confirmation from Erin's job that would be a huge blessing to us in our ministry here.  I don't want to reveal the details yet until it become official (if it does) but it could be a really cool thing.

As for me, God is definitely teaching me things.  Some hard things.  But good things.  I don't want to paint a false picture on this blog like everything is fun and easy all the time and that there is nothing hard going on or no struggles to be had.  So, to be honest, this job search thing is tough and can be hard at times.  Don't get me wrong - I still believe in 2 foundational things --- 1) God is good all the time.  No matter our circumstance - He doesn't change (Heb. 13:8, Psalm 33:22).  2)  Everything is done for a reason, it is intentional, and it is for my good and His glory (Rom. 8:28).  So, in that, the struggle has purpose and meaning bigger than myself.

But it's hard to be rejected.  It's hard to be turned down.  It's hard when a job that you want really badly and you know you would be great at is unavailable because you don't meet their requirements.  It's hard when plan A and B don't work out.  It's plain terrible when plans G and H don't either.  But God is faithful.  God is good.  And God is the provider.  It's all His anyway (Psalm 24:1).  So He will provide in His right time.  And I know that the struggles I go through now allow me to know Jesus that much better (Phil. 3:10) - that every little shade of suffering I go through, while not NEARLY to the level of Christ or even others of the faith, but still it is an opportunity to take one small step closer to knowing my Jesus.  And it's all worth it.  And I also know that this will help me love others better - others that have had to go through a similar struggle (2 Cor. 1:3-5) so that they my reach out to this 'God of All Comfort', too.

So, I do have an interview at a place down the road on Monday and I am excited for that opportunity.  I appreciate more now than I did 5 rejections ago - and pray that this is a place the Lord might use me.

Church Shopping
I'm pretty sure I don't like that term even though I understand why people use it.

But Erin and I are doing that classic Bible-belt, 21st Century privilege of getting to customize which church experience 'suits us best.'  All joking aside, it's been a strange but good thing for me.  I have been in a wonderful community in one place for all my life and it has been healthy for me to experience how other people are trying to be lights of the world.  Sometimes I have to fight my cynicism and critical mindset - but in it all we hope to learn more about the spiritual culture of McKinney while desiring to find a fellowship we can connect with.  Erin had to go through this a few years ago to find Woodcreek and I am grateful for her heart being willing to go through it again.  I know it's not fun but it's another thing on her list of things worthy of going through to follow Jesus and I am so very, very grateful for her heart in the process!

Some Fun Stuff!
I thought I'd let you know about some books I just finished and some I'm working through now.  I won't go into official 'reviews' of them or anything, but I thought I would just share with you!

I finally got around to reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.  It was a great read and I am always blown away at how God made his mind work and come up with some of those amazing analogies.  While I didn't always agree with some of the theological and practical conclusions he came to - I did appreciate his thoughtful and clear presentation of some harder truths of the faith.

I also recently finished King's Cross by pastor Tim Keller.  It's pretty much a walk-through of the gospel of Mark - but not verse-by-verse.  It's more of a detailed, synopsis, walk-through, summary, book.   Yeah.  I found it to be very insightful as Keller has such a great way of putting simple and complex thoughts together in a way that you can understand and he opens up truths from the word in a great way.  I HIGHLY recommend this book and I recommend you read it like a devotional.  Even though the Scripture passages are in the book, I suggest reading through Mark in your own Bible alongside reading this commentary.  Definitely worth it.

I also read through Francis Chan's latest Erasing Hell in response to the new (but not new) teachings out there that are unorthodox in their view of Hell.  I think Chan does a great job communicating an overview of the classical (and I believe true!) doctrine of Hell and challenging some current, ear-tickling trends on this topic.
* also, if you'd like to comment on the books, please email me.  save the comments on the blog for other things! : )

I am now working through Keller's Generous Justice 
as well as re-reading Osborne's Sticky Teams 
on building strong leadership teams.

That's all for now!  Thanks so much for all your support and keep praying for us!  Our desire is that Jesus Christ would receive praise and glory through our short little lives on this earth!!

For His Name alone!