Monday, October 30, 2006

Wow!

We had an amazing turn out for our first vision meeting for the church plant last night - almost 100 people came to hear about what God is leading us to do in planting a life-changing church in North Round Rock. I'm excited to see how God leads each one of these families as they pray through the decision of whether or not to join us in reaching north Round Rock. Thanks for your prayers and support through this time.

We had Kade's birthday party this Saturday, as he turns 3 tomorrow. It was a great time to see our family and some of our friends...I'm sure Barie will have some pics up on her blog soon of all the craziness that was Kade's third birthday party.

Lot's of work to do, now - must run!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Big weekend...

Our oldest son, Kade, is turning 3 yrs old on Halloween Day, but we are having his birthday party this Saturday morning. I can't believe my son is already turning 3. It really feels like he was just born yesterday. I know everyone says that time goes by so fast - but you don't really believe it until you start seeing your kids grow up right in front of you. It makes me want to make sure that we enjoy every moment and that I take seriously the stewardship responsibility I've been given from God to invest wisely in his life.

Then, Sunday evening, we have our first vision meeting for the church plant. I'm really excited to see who God brings us, to see the team that comes together to plant a life-changing church in north Round Rock.

Beyond that, we've got people coming over for dinner one night, we've got a project to work on, and we've got family in town. Never a dull moment in my family!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Eternal Justice

Just finished a short book by Elie Wiesel, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, who, as sixteen year-old young man, was sent to a German concentration camp (actually several camps) during the last two years of World War II. Wiesel's tale is so powerful and gut-wrenching. It is one of those books I've needed to read for a while, but wasn't sure that I was ready to process the information I knew I would find inside. Wiesel's writing has a minimalist style, so that he says so little about the devastating events that he witnessed. Some of the most riveting passages for me had to do with the Jews struggle for faith in the face of horrendous evil. As Wiesel says in the intro, I'm sure that language limits the ability to communicate the horrors that he witnessed, but his efforts helped me again to process what I believe about following a crucified Savior and about eternal justice. In my mind, if I didn't believe that justice will finally be done when this life is over, there are moments where I'm not sure I could continue. But I do believe that every man and woman will stand before a holy God after this life, and that every believer will face the judgment seat of Christ. And that we will all give an account, and that all will be made right. The Bible says this is true, but books like this help me to know why belief in eternal justice is so important. I hope we never forget the evil done to the Jews during WWII, and that we never doubt the depravity of our own hearts to commit tremendous evil.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Sneetches

So, now we are in the habit of praying with the boys each evening after we get done with our baths and reading a book by Dr. Seuss called Sneetches. Kade asks the same questions every time we read it (about what certain things are), but he loves the pictures and the rhyme scheme. He asks for the same book every night. But you know what? This short story by Dr. Seuss is awesome - talking about how we judge others based on small things we can't change that don't really matter. It is a story about how foolish we must seem to those on the outside of our culture for elevating people to a high place of respect for exterior, temporary traits. It is a story about how we seek to be a part of the "in crowd" so bad that we are willing to compromise common sense and eternal values.

In all truth, I think Barie and I are getting more out of it than Kade is. He loves the pictures and the sounds of the words (like Sylvester McMonkey McBean), but we are hearing the message: what matters most is our character, not our appearance. I wish I could communicate like Dr. Seuss.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

New Website

The temporary website for the church plant is now live at www.hcbcrrn.com. You can also link from there to the blog that has updated info about what is happening with the plant. If you are not on the distribution list for our prayer requests for the church plant and want to be, make sure you let me know so that I can add you.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Life in Transition

I've had a lot of time to think about transition over the last year. Lots of new relationships and new responsibilities. New cities, new homes, new jobs, new challenges. Though I think most people are too tied to stability as a personal value to risk for God, I can say that I now know why stability is so alluring. Strong friendships are hard to build (by which, I mean time demanding), and when life moves you around, friendships change drastically. You never completely loose contact with people, but relationships definitely change whenever you don't see people daily like you used to. So what have I learned through all this transition, especially relationally?

First, I need deep friendships. I think all of us do - we may be too proud to recognize this, but we all need friends who will have the hard conversations with us, pray with us through difficult circumstances, listen to us carry on about our insecurities, and help carry our burdens. We need friends who will walk the second mile with us, who we know care about us deeply.

Second, my best friend will always be my wife. One thing I did not understand before marriage was that Barie will go with me anywhere and other people will not. She is such a grace-filled, truth-telling, God-honoring wife. But more than that, I am treasuring her more as the deepest friend and companion I will have in this life.

And third, I need to walk closer to Jesus. Transition and new starts tend to strip away a lot of facades that we seem to build in order to maintain a public persona. But also, major transition forces us to reevaluate our source of identity. I have found that though I thought my personal identity was secure in Christ, I can so quickly find it in my relationships and my position. Changing both relationships and positions have reminded me that I must cling to Jesus for personal purpose and identity. I need Him more than I have ever even understood.

What have major transitions taught you about yourself, God, and life?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

what's been happening...

Lot's to talk about and so little time...

We've officially moved into our first home (that we own, I mean). It is amazing how your perspective on your house changes when you actually own it - like trying to take care of it a little more. We have always kept a clean home, but now we own this house. Of course, keeping it in one piece with three little boys who have fluids coming out of every orifice in their bodies is a little difficult. But the house looks good right now anyway!

We spent all of last week painting the entire house, and now I know why I don't do that for a living. Unbelievable amount of work to paint a whole house (every room), especially when your wife has a desire to "show her personality" by adding color throughout the house. It looks really good, but I will be great if I don't have pick up a roller or a brush for a while. My odds are not improving, however, since we didn't finish the master bathroom and Barie is already asking when I'm going to get on that.

Church planting stuff is cruising along now and picking up speed. The first email prayer letter went out this last week, and we are setting up our first prayer walk for a week from Saturday. It should be great to get out and walk some of the neighborhoods that we are trying to reach. Barie and I got a chance to meet a bunch of our neighbors on Sunday evening because the builder of our neighborhood threw a block-party for all the new residents. It was great to get to know everyone. It seems really promising - like we are going to have some awesome relationships in our neighborhood. I can't get over how many of our neighbors are newly-weds, married two years or less. It feels strange to be married 6.5 years and feel like we're one of the most experienced on our streets. Having three kids has made Barie and I feel like we are learning how to do this marriage thing right all over again.

I did some research on the churches in Round Rock over the last couple of weeks, and the numbers are very interesting. We called every single church in Round Rock (from all theological perspectives, including the 2 Catholic churches), and found that on a typical Sunday morning, about 20,000 people attend any kind of church in RR. If you add up the total seating capacity of every church in RR (so that they were all full for all their services), the total number could get to 25,000 before every church was full. Considering that the city has 87,000 residents now and is expected to have 100,000 by 2010, the need for a new church plant in the city is evident. Very few of our neighbors I interacted with on Sunday evening attend a church, so we are looking forward to many awesome spiritual conversations in the years to come.

More later...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

We are reconnected!

Cable, Phone, Internet - all connected today at the new house.
Glad to be reconnected to the outside world, but sad in some ways because of the peace and quiet we enjoyed the last few days (except for crying babies).
More to come soon...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Closing Day

So, as we get ready to buy our first home this morning, I'm thinking a few things...

...that I hope I never have to write another check for the amount I will this morning to close on our house.
...that I'm glad my wife is in charge of picking paint colors and decorations for our home, because if I did it, the house would be one color and have only sports posters on the walls. Thank God for a wonderful woman in my life!
...that one of the funniest moments in my life so far was taking the boys to the final walk through yesterday and having them run as fast and as hard as they could through the empty house (and stop to ask me every 2 minutes, "daddy, can we run around?")
...that one of the not-so-funniest moments in my life will come soon when those same boys decide they don't like the newness of the house and find ways to break it in.
...that I am blessed beyond measure, that God's grace in my life is overwhelming.
...that we have a new neighborhood with lots of new families to get to know and having boys that never meet a stranger makes getting to know people a lot easier.
...that life goes by fast if we don't take time to sit and reflect and think and ask hard questions.
...that we should never stop dreaming about what God has in store for us in our future, that we should not cling to stability and safety as the highest values of life.
...that the church plant is really going to happen in 10 months.
...we have lots of work to do.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Closing Tuesday...

Our final walk through is tomorrow afternoon and we are closing Tuesday morning. The anticipation about actually landing somewhere is overwhelming. Buying our first home. Planting our first church. Raising our three boys. Loving my wife. Life is so good that I'm a little nervous. :) Have a great week! Hopefully, we'll have some pics up soon of the new crib in Round Rock.