Wednesday, June 29, 2011

S.O.A.P. for today

This is my entry today in my prayer journal. This stuff is almost always private, but I wanted to share this one in case it might help someone who's fighting the same thing.

June 29 – 1 Corinthians 1

25 This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.

Observation: I guess there is still some part of me that thinks I can plan a growing church. I guess there is some part of me that thinks that I can be a strong enough leader to get our church to the next level. The truth is, I can't. I'm barely strong enough to get out of bed today. My plans seem to fall through pretty regularly.

Application: I still am confused as to where the line is between surrendering my vision to God and giving up. This is not to say I'm considering giving up on our church or my my calling to ministry. Not even remotely. But what I mean is I DO NOT want to become one of those guys who spiritualizes everything and just sits back and lets life happen. I want to be proactive. I want to plan. I want to work hard. But I know that I still have not found a healthy-enough balance of that and trusting God as the author of my vision and the One who will ultimately bring it around to reality.

Prayer: Father, I want to fully trust You with the vision You've given me. But I don't want that to mean that I take myself out of the game. I love this! It's killing me not being able to do more. I am learning a lot, though. Thank You for that. In Jesus' name, amen.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My prayers for the week

Some prayers you can pray with me this week:
  • Move-in funding - As most of you know, Freedom Valley needs to come up with about $20,000 in the next couple months to adequately outfit our new building for ministry. A family gave $1000 for it so far, so we're down to $19,000. God is so much bigger than that, so I'm believing that everyone in our church would respond strongly and we raise more than we need. If God is leading you to give toward that right now, you can do it here.
  • Dollars connect hearts - The most important thing that could happen from people in our church giving toward that move in project is that their hearts follow their dollars. I'm asking God to use this as a time for some new hearts to connect to the vision and mission of our church through their giving.
  • Transition plan - I'm asking God for a plan and circumstance to be able to transition out of my job at the hospital and back into full-time ministry.
  • Key leaders - Our church leadership team is awesome! But, we are missing some key people in key positions right now and I'm asking God to bring more leaders to our team through the summer.
Thanks for praying with me this week. Again, I would love to pray with you too. Just let me know what's going on with you.

Monday, June 20, 2011

weekly prayers . . .

Thanks so much for all your prayers and your friendship! We signed the lease on our new building late last week and should be moved in by the end of July! Here are some areas I'm praying about this week:
  • Wisdom in our family - My wife has been offered a job that looks like it could be a pretty good one. She is taking a week to pray and weigh things out before she decides. I'm praying for wisdom for her. Can you too?
  • A way back to devoting my full time to ministry - This may be connected to the one above, but I'm asking God to make a way for me to leave my job at the hospital and put all my heart and soul back into ministry.
  • A good attitude - This may be connected to the one above :) but I'm asking God to help me maintain a good attitude while I'm at the hospital. I'll be honest. I'm struggling with the small amount of time I have to devote to ministry. I'm working outside of my calling and that is never a good thing for very long.
  • Outfitting our new building - We can outfit our new building very well for just about $20,000. This includes a building deposit, auditorium chairs, paint, storage, sound treatment on walls, projection equipment and more. I am believing that we raise all this money by the end of August - much of it by the end of July. The most expensive and most urgent of these is about $6000 we need to outfit our new auditorium with chairs. Love for you to pray with us and give toward this if God leads you that way.
Thanks again for all your prayers!

Monday, June 13, 2011

The pastor got schooled

Yesterday morning was quite a morning for Pastor Jason Fitch.

Ok, some background. I went into the process of planting a church thinking it would be much easier than it is and seeing ministry as some kind of organizational system that I could lead. I figured it would grow, be "successful" and then I could tell my story and coach other church planters along the way. That's what I figured . . .

Here's what I didn't figure. Yesterday morning . . .
  • 7:25am - get a call from a church family who is being put out of their house. They need help moving and have no place to go.
  • 7:30am - Our lead hospitality person is in a car wreck right in front of the church. She's probably ok, but needs to be checked out at the hospital. Our lead set up guy leaves to be with her too.
  • 7:35am - a woman in our church asks me to talk. She tells me through her tears about her alcoholic husband and her challenges with her son . . . and my heart is just breaking for her. I want to fix it all for her, but I can't. All I can do is pray with her and for her.
  • 9:29am - church starts (this was the one part of the day that was in the plan:)
  • 10:45am - I cancel our regular staff meeting and ask all the staff to help the family mentioned above move their stuff into storage. (Some of them worked for 8 hours!!)
  • 11:45am - My wife and I decide to offer this family of 4 (plus cat and dog) to stay at our place for a short time so they can plan what their next step is.
What? This is what church is? Yeah.

God spoke to me very clearly yesterday. "Jason, nobody's asking for your insight on church planting or leadership. But there is a church full of people who need you to love them and serve them. That's the church. That's ministry. You up for it.?"

Yes, I am.

What I'm praying this week

Some prayers you can pray with me this week:
  • I want to be more dependent on God - This morning, as I read God's Word, I'm very aware of how dependent I am on the work I do and how little I depend on God. I have a new desire in my heart this morning to be more dependent on God. Would you pray that my heart desire becomes a reality more and more in my life.
  • Building lease - The owner of the building we would like to lease is working on writing up the lease this week. We hoped we would have it signed by now. I am praying that we definitely have a signed lease by the end of the week.
  • Funding plan - The building we are moving into is a former church building so it is built-out almost exactly how we want it. That's great news because that means we don't need to do any costly renovations. We do, however, have a decent amount of equipment we need to get hold of to outfit the building to be a full-time ministry center. (building deposit, chairs for the auditorium, sound treatment on some walls, paint, upgraded projection, kids ministry supplies, storage cabinets, etc) Our team has estimated that we need to raise just about $20,000 by then end of August. If you have any experience with moving a church from one location to another, you know this is a HUGE bargain. Nonetheless, it's a significant amount of money to raise in a short time. Will you pray that God gives us a great plan to make this happen?
  • I'm asking God to get back to work - Yes, I know I've only been working at the Hospital for about 5 weeks. I'm just asking God to make a way for me to get back to giving my first and best thoughts and efforts to Freedom Valley. I felt like God wanted me to take a job outside the church for a couple reasons (break me of a fear I had about being a bi-vocational pastor, get focused on the most important things, provide for my family :) . . . and I will do what I have to for as long as I have to. I'm just asking God to put things in place that will allow me to get back to focusing on church ministry solely.
Thank you so much for your partnership. I love you guys!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Let's be the church today

A family in our church had to move out of their home unexpectedly and need some help loading up today. We are canceling our normal staff meeting today to help them. Can you join us?

Today @ noon
7008 S. Harvard, Tulsa
Food provided.

Lets really bless this family in need of some help!

Also, please pray for Kate McGee. She was in a car wreck this morning on thd way to church. She is not seriously hurt, but is shaken up and believes her car is totaled. Please be sure and pray for Kate and reach out to her.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, June 10, 2011

gladness in trials

You may feel like you're in some season of life that is not exactly what you want. I am too. I wanted to share my devotional journal from this morning. Perhaps what God is teaching me today will help you too . . .

June 10 – 1 Peter 1

"6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world."

Observation: Well, I feel like this season of my life is a trial. I am ok with it right now and I do clearly see how I'm being purified. I'm being broken of more pride and seeing how God is the One building our church, not me.

Application: I guess the application is the glad part. I have not yet gotten to the point of feeling glad about where I'm at . . . at least not fully, not on a regular basis. I still feel like I'm just biding my time until I can do what I really love, but I know that is an immature and shot-sighted view. I will consciously decide to be glad about the trial period I'm in.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for what You have called me to. Thank you for trials of many kinds. I decide today to not only patiently endure those trials, but to be glad about them. Father God, help me to stop looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. Where I am today is not punitive; it's a step on my journey and I will embrace and and engage this time and place in my life. I am a blessed man and I thank You for where You have placed me right now. I am glad to serve You. I am glad to live the life I am living this very day. Lord, please help my gladness and satisfaction grow. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

breakthroughs happening!

I hope you all are doing great this week! Just want you to know that I'm seeing so many breakthroughs related to the areas you've been praying on lately. Here are a few:
  • Sara and I's personal finances are doing very well. So are the church finances. I will receive my first partial paycheck from the church since March this month.
  • We had a HUGE # of guests at church on Sunday. Even as we get into summer, our church is growing!
  • We are about to make a move to Freedom Valley's first full-time facility - more on that below.
Some areas you could pray with me this week:
  • Our church move - We will give notice to the movie theater today and hope to sign our new lease later this week. Freedom Valley is moving to our first permanent facility! We've really done our homework on this and not only can we afford it, but it's actually going to cost us slightly less than the movie theater. On top of that, we can stop insuring our big box truck too! This is going to be a huge blessing - not only to us, but we get to bless others as well. As soon as we make this move we will be able to bless another church planter, who is going to do a portable church environment, with our truck and equipment cases. The plan, presently, is to make this move in late July. Additionally, we will need about $20,000 over the next few months to do what we would like to do in this new building. That would be a big point of prayer :)
  • My schedule - I'm just working more hours than I've ever worked before. When I picked up this second job at the hospital, I was determined to (1) not let me family get squeezed out of my life and (2) not give up a weekly sabbath day of rest. Well, neither has happened and I'm very glad for that. But, honestly, I'm just tired. I'm getting used to the hours I'm working and the length of the days, but I still need to acclimate a bit more. I'd appreciate your prayers.
  • Church finances - Just like our church attendance, our church finances are steadily growing. I am still praying that our weekly income averages $3000/week. We're getting closer, but we're not quite there. I'm also looking for God to provide those three large gifts of $10K, $25K and $50K this year.
  • My foolishness - As I was in my personal devotion time this morning, Proverbs 29:11 stuck out to me: It says, "Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.". I'm not like some ranting lunatic, but there are times (many times) where my anger is vented in front of my kids. Usually in the form of heavy sighs or growls. Well, that's not what I want to teach my kids and that's not what I want to be. I don't want to be foolish. I want to be wise and I want to raise wise kids. Could you just pray with me that I'd be more aware of this and be more in control.