Monday, November 7, 2011

Long Time, No Blog! : )

You know when you are really diligent at exercising and find yourself in a healthy routine, but then life happens and you get off your routine?  And then maybe get a little out of shape.  And you know you should get back out there and exercise but the longer the time goes by the harder it is to get 'back on the horse.'

The same goes for blogging.

My sincere apologize for our absence.  : )

So in this post I will try to take little snapshots of some specific areas of life!

Our Fun Neighborhood
So we've been in our little house, on our little street, in our little neighborhood almost 4 months.  In previous posts we've talked about praying about where God would want us to live in order to build community with the people around us and that is happening here!  Honestly, life has been a little busier lately so we know that we need to make a little more effort to have neighbors over for dinner or to hang out, but the Lord has been good for opening the doors for relationships with a few of our neighbors who we hope to be able to share Christ's love with and see what the Holy Spirit might do in their (and our!) lives.

A few weeks ago we had some old and new friends over to our house for a hang-out get together.  Here are some pics!

So a couple of the things we are working towards comes from some encouragement we've received from other church planters and other people in our lives.  Over the next couple weeks we want to literally go to all the homes on our street and introduce ourselves and begin praying for the families.  We want them to know we are praying for them and that we want to see God move mightily in their lives.  Also, we are considering hosting a Christmas Party in our house and have cookie decorating and other fun celebratory things.

It's our hope to be the light of the world here in north McKinney.  Not that we are perfect people - but just the opposite, we are imperfect people who know the Perfect One.   Please pray for our neighborhood!  : )

Decaff, Tall, 1 Pump, No Foam, Extra Hot, Pumpkin Spice Latte
It's official as of a few days ago.  I am done with training and am officially a Starbucks Barista.  I think it should be Barsito for guys, but that's another blog post for another day.

I've been working at Starbucks for a little over 2 months now and there have been some great times and also some tough times.  As you can imagine, it was (and is) a steep learning curve learning the ins and outs of the coffee business, but from the beginning it's never been about the coffee or the paycheck.  It's about working well to the glory of God and seeking opportunities to love and speak the words of Christ to those around us.

The Lord has opened doors for me to really connect with some of my co-workers.  We laugh and have a great time working, but then He has been faithful to answer our prayers to allow some conversations to go to life, struggles, faith, God and even getting to specifically talk about Jesus.

To be honest, some days are a struggle and I wonder if I am really doing what I need to be when I'm cleaning the bathrooms for the 3rd time this week, but God is faihtful to give us fruit at just the right time and to remind me of Scriptures like Galatians 6 that encourage us not to give up but to keep trusting God, serving well and that God will bring the results in His time!

And it's also not a bad job working for Starbucks.  They are a good company.  : )

In Chains Film
Here's a picture from us gathering things for our garage sale to support the In Chains Film that is shedding light on the sex-trade industry in Nicaragua.  Check out there website a for more information!
(we didn't sell the dog!) : )

He Knows What You Need
We knew that taking this step of faith to come out to McKinney was going to be tough.  Especially coupling a few small things together with the move like me quitting my job during the biggest recession of my generation, getting married, leaving behind some friends and relationships, and Erin increasing her distance between her home and office.

But we also know that this would mean we would see God move in a way we don't when we would rather be comfortable than faithful.

So, on that note, God is faithful.  And He is never early or late in giving us what we need when we need it.  I'm hesitant to get into specifics.  I don't know why.  But what I will say is more than one time in the last four months financial needs have come up and God has provided just the right amount and just the right time.  I like to tell people that God has given us a bunch of "I've got you" moments already in theses last few months.

But not just financially or materially - but also relationally.  God has given us deeper connections withe some existing friends in McKinney while providing connection, community and friendship with new families and Christians who want to serve Christ in this city.  And God has also given relational fruit through friends at work as we are growing closer together but also seeing God open up hearts for deeper conversations about Truth.

Matthew 6 reminds us that there is a God, He is in control, and that He is a Father would wants to take care of his kids.  I feel like I have always felt that, but these season of life it seems to be more and more on display!  Praise him!

Partners in the City
One of the things that been the biggest blessing to us since moving here is the connection and partnership we've already felt with other believers in the community.  From just meeting new friends in the neighborhood to connecting with churches and ministry that want to help each other reach McKinney with the gospel, it's been a huge blessing already to begin partnering with people in seeking God on behalf of the city.  I'm excited to see what these partnerships could be after 10 years and not just 4 months!

Came to Seek and Save the Lost
This is our next 'strategic move' in trying to reach McKinney for Christ.  One thing that the Lord has put on both mine and Erin's heart as we are connection with our neighbors and those at work is that there are so many people who are far from God - but not only that, far from ever stepping into a church to hear the gospel.  Now, let me go on the record by saying that although the traditional church function is good and I think needed - we all should be doing more to reach people off-site then expecting them to come to the church.

With that we have been praying and are trusting that God is leading us to open our home to start a Bible Study specifically aimed for those who might have baggage, history, hurt or confusion that keeps them from entering a church building.  Bottom line - we want those in our sphere of life that won't go to a church to hear about Jesus and so we want to proclaim that in our home.  We will give you posted but our aim is to have that happen in early 2012.

Prayer Request
We could fill another 25 pages with prayer requests, so I'll try to keep it short and sweet.

- That Erin and I would seek daily to make Jesus our first and greatest love
- That after that we would pursue each other with a gospel-centered love
- Wisdom for how to best reach out to our neighborhood with gospel
- For hearts to be open and ready when the time comes to invite them to our house to study God's Word
- That we wouldn't begin to trust in ourselves and our ability to pull this off, but that the Holy Spirit would be who we are seeking, hearing from and yielding to.

Thank you so much for your love, prayers and support.  Feel free to email with any questions or words of encouragement!  We love to get those!!

In Christ,

p.s.  To make ends meet Erin has taken a modeling gig and I am her driver.