There are seasons in life which are just full. I don't particularly like the word "busy" as it is overused, reflects no sense of value and it seems to communicate very little. So I choose the word full to describe life in certain seasons like the one which we find ourselves. We have started a new season with the Inversion Fellowship, a group of men and women who have become so dear to me. We are working on raising funds for church planting so that we do not have to take a salary from the new church for the first few years, yet be full time in the work. It is also a season involving some travel and time away from my wife and kids.
Last weekend we had a weekend retreat with Inversion - a passionate look at the Missio Dei, the mission of God in the world. Currently I write these a few feet from a burrito buffet line at a Campus Crusade Fall Retreat for the students at Western Kentucky University. I am spending time with the students this weekend teaching about the nature of the gospel and its import for young people launching out into the world. Our dreams must be in the gospel and this then must define our views of success, relationship and calling. So far I have preached two times and it has been rich. But I am also aware that my little 6 year old girl is playing soccer with her Mom as the coach...and I am unable to be there. Not exactly suffering, but a small sacrifice that feels like a loss in the soul.
This afternoon I have some free time - so I am debating whether to redeem the time and work on a paper I am writing on Emerging Churches and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Or I may take a nap. Neither is the more godly choice and I think it might be possible to do both. This Thursday we will discuss all things emerging at Inversion - should be interesting.
On Saturday and Sunday of next week I will preach 4 services at our church out of Philippians 2:12-30 - a rich passage which has shaped my view of life in community, reflecting God's grace as we work out our salvation in fear and trembling. We work and live out the salvation brought to us in Christ, but it is God who works in and through us to will and act according to his good pleasure. Or as Calvin put it:
There are, in any action, two principal departments — the inclination, and the power to carry it into effect. Both of these he ascribes wholly to God; what more remains to us as a ground of glorying?
John Calvin, Commentary on Philippians available from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom42
Yes, we rejoice in his work in us as he changes us through the gospel so that we shine like lights in a crooked and depraved generation.
That Sunday afternoon I hope to take a nap, do a midterm for a seminary class I am taking and then we hit the mini-van as a family to travel to our former home of Blacksburg, VA. Many of you know of the tragic events which happened on the Va Tech campus this past spring - part of what has come from that is an event on Oct 9th and 10th entitled Finding Answers Amidst Life's Greatest Losses - An Open Forum with Ravi Zacharias. There are close to 30 church and parachurch organizations working together on this event. One of my good friends, Danny White, is working on many of the details. I trained Danny in campus ministry years ago and I was thankful to be able to make the first connections with RZIM and my friends in Blacksburg just a few days after the shootings. It will be great to see what God does these two days in October. During our time in Blacksburg I will also preach at our home church Oct 14, catch up with several old friends and connect with many about partnering with our church plant Jacob's Well.
Finally, Oct 21 we will present the church plant to the people of Fellowship Bible Church in Tennessee by way of a video my friend Scott Moore it putting together and hold some interest meetings on Sunday nights Oct 21 and 28. Then I want to crash for a bit...then off to New Jersey for a week (Nov 10-18) meeting with some pastors and speaking on campus at Rutgers. Then I pray to enjoy some down time with Kasey and hopefully a little vacation...before a writing push in December.
I sit here around 160 or so students eating lunch and I am overwhelmed with thankfulness to the creator of all things - Jesus Christ. He saved me in 1992 , put calling on my life, gave me a great best friend and wife in Kasey and some wonderful kids. I cannot see the future any more than I can see past the stars, but I know who made and holds both...and for this I am grateful.