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Sunday, April 29, 2007

One Year

It's hard to believe I've been at Grace a year already. At times I still mourn the loss of my Raleigh Road family. However, as I hear news from Wilson I'm reminded that life moves on without you. It's like when I visit Clemson's campus years after being there. I realize that I can't go back. It's a bitter-sweet feeling.

Life in Summerville is good. Very good. For us, life goes on too. As we make new friends and experience the new joys of life near family, we find home starting to really feel like home. It's pretty neat to be able to visit family without it having to be a holiday. Your conversations change from catching up on the weather and local sports to actually talking about your everyday life. And occasionally, the conversation can actually turn more substantive than what's happening in the news. We are actually getting to know one another. That's cool.

A year at a church as pastor is a big deal to me. For one, I wasn't fired. And I'm enjoying it as much or more than when I first started. I'm more certain than ever that this is what I'm supposed to be doing right now. There's real peace in that. I thank God for that.

It's also exciting to see God work in and through me here. It's been especially gratifying to see God work through the vision that I thought (but wasn't certain) was from God. I'm still learning to know when something is from God but the past year has certainly helped.

I still have so much to learn. I still don't lean on God enough. I still don't step out in faith enough on a daily basis. I don't dream big enough. I am still lazy, avoiding discomfort whenever possible. In short, God has a lot of renovating work to do in my life. Pruning is the biblical term, I believe. Probably painful, takes time and isn't always pretty. But it results in fruitful living. That's what I desire because that's what pleases and glorifies God. (John 15:8)

I know that the prayers of God's people have sustained me the past year. Many from Wilson (& elsewhere) have prayed for our family the past year. Many from Summerville have lifted us up as well. If you have prayed for us even once the past year--thank you! We need each other and the Body of Christ has really come through for me and my family. We are deeply grateful.

My prayer for the coming year? Don't quit working on, in and through me, God. Make me usable and wear me out! Help me grow more humble, gentle, loving and wise as I pursue Jesus. Help me follow Jesus even as I lead others to Him. I hope I'm just getting started in this awesome journey of faith.

It's also been just over a year since our Emma was baptized. (She'll be 8 in August!) We baptized her our last week at Raleigh Road. It's been neat to watch her grow in the Lord since that time. I praise God for that! Her baptism symbolizes what I'm about. As I borrow and modify Andy Stanley's churches mission statement in an effort to make it my own I'm about leading people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ around the corner and around the world. May God do that in and through me as I live the life He has wired me to live.

Thank you Jesus for this first year. May all the glory be yours!