Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A great musician and a great man

Jake Lewis is about to record his first album.  I'm hoping to help him.  Maybe you can too.  Just click here.

Loving me some Redskins football

This Thursday my skins play for their 4th straight state title.  Yeah, I know I'm a little stupid to be so excited about high school football.  I also don't care.  I just love it!  Enjoy some highlights from last week's semi-final win over Jenks.

Sorry, this video won't embed.  You can watch it here.

thank you!

Just wanted to say thank you for praying.  It's no coincidence that just hours after my post yesterday (which I almost did not post) that I felt a serious breakthrough inside of me.  I have energy and vision flowing inside of me again!  Thank you.  Thank you .  Thank you!  Love you guys.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Where I'm at this week . . .

Sorry I skipped last week.  I didn't have any clear avenues of prayer to ask you to join me on.  I'm not sure I do right now either, but I probably need your prayers more now than I ever have.  A dear friend of mine says I'm under spiritual attack.  I have to admit that hearing other people saying that over the years has really turned me off to that idea.  In the past, I've been of the opinion that most "spiritual attacks" are not really spiritual at all and that the person being "attacked" is just making excuses.  Maybe that's true in some cases.  I really don't know.

What I do know is that I am in a state now that I have never been in before.  I am confused, disappointed, discouraged, angry and scared.  I am presently trying to adjust to a much different reality than I though I would be facing at this point in my life and how that adjustment is going changes by the hour.  But, the reality is that I am the pastor of a small church that is, evidently, going to grow slowly.  The reality is that church is unable to afford any income to me or any other members of our leadership team.  The reality is that my family and I have set ourselves back years, financially, based on the vision and promises we believe God showed us.  I'm not loving the reality, but neither can I stick my head in the sand and pretend it's not there.

There are many positives.  Our church is healthy.  My wife and kids are a delight and we are all healthy.  I live in a city I absolutely love.  I have family nearby.  Our leadership team is one of the best I've ever seen.  My wife has a great job that she loves.  The list goes on . . .

Some prayers you could pray with me this week:
  • Reality - I just want to come to terms with my current reality and feel good about it.
  • Job Search - I am officially looking a job again.  If you know of any opportunities, please let me know.
  • Renewed faith - I'm just struggling to have faith in God's promises right now.  I want to believe.  That's about as much as I can muster now.
Thank you for your prayers and friendship.  I love you all.

Do you need fresh strength?

Isaiah 40:28-31 - "Don't you know anything? Haven't you been listening? God doesn't come and go. God lasts. He's Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out.  He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts.  For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall.  But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don't get tired, they walk and don't lag behind."

Man, this Scripture is like pure life inside of me this morning.  The last six months, especially the last month, have been trying beyond what I thought I could bear.  But I can bear it.  I can more than bear it.  I can face my calling with God-given energy.  I don't know what I would do without God's Word; especially when my own thoughts begin to lose perspective.  God is so good and patient and loving.  Wow.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Come Early To Pray This Sunday

This Week @ Freedom Valley

Teaching: We are continuing our series "When No One is Looking" this week talking about keeping integrity in our words.  That's all about honesty.  I'm really looking forward to this one.

Prayer: I would like to invite you to spend some time praying with me and my team prior to the service on Sunday.  There will be a group prayer time from 10:30am - 10:45am in the main auditorium. Just come right in and begin praying with us.  There will be some signs up on the door and on the video screens  - just so you feel good about walking into a room where people are already praying.  That can be a little intimidating, but I want you to know that I would love to have you join us!   Hope you can make it.

Food: If you want to bring in some donuts or snacks this Sunday, you can do that.  We are going to be switching to a community style on our snacks instead of the church just providing it all.  It's partially to cut some costs, but I think it's a much healthier idea for us to all contribute in different ways.  Not talking about a whole meal, just donuts or bagels or whatever morning snack you like.  We don't need everyone to bring something, just do if that would be fun for you.

Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

forced creativity is still creativity

Our church has had some financial constraints that has forced us to get really creative about how we fund and execute certain aspects of our church.  It's actually fun and I think will bring a higher level of health to our church.  The only question I have . . . Why did it take a budget crunch to get us on this creative track?

Details will follow as we roll out some exciting changes.

Prayers for the week. What are yours?

I want to thank you so much for all your prayers!  I appreciate you very deeply.  

I also want to celebrate with you some this week!  We had like 20 first-time guests (couple of them were second-time) at church this week!  God seems to be really setting us up for some growth!  Some places I'm focusing my prayers this week:
  • New Discipleship Plan - God has brought an excellent young couple to our church who have offered to help implement a very cool one-on-one discipleship plan for our new believers and people accepting Christ in our services.  This is hardly a prayer request - more of a celebration - but I am praying that the training and implementation process goes quickly and goes well.  I feel like this fills a huge hole in our ministry and could very well be a game-changer for us and for a lot of people. 
  • Finances - Can you continue to believe with me that God will bring an increase to our finances at church.  We are making it, but we are running a very lean week-to-week budget.  I'm asking God for more than enough - enough to expand what we do and be more of a blessing!
  • Key Ministry Leaders - Still praying for a key children's leader and a key youth leader to be identified and get started tearing things up at our church.  Thanks for continuing to join me in those prayers.  Maybe you are interested.  If you are, let me know.

Love you guys and I love praying for you.  Let me know how I can pray for you this week!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Needs have been more than met!

I just received this message from the school counselor at Jefferson Elementary.  We have a great man in our congregation who works for a moving company and is willing to help transporting the donations.  Looks like all those needs have been met.  That's great news!  

If you do have items that you've already purchased or are intent on donating, we can still give them to Windsail management to disburse.  Just let me know if that is you.

"The Union community has been awesome and we have gotten in more donations for our families than we need at this point- believe it or not! Once I make sure our families are totally covered, I will be giving our leftover donations to Windsail to disburse to the other fire victims. At this point the biggest help is the moving company resource. That is perfect! Thanks so much!"

Friday, November 4, 2011

How You Can Help Windsail Fire Victims

There was a serious fire at the Windsail Apartments this week.  You can see the news story here.
Some families  from our community partner school, Jefferson Elementary were effected.  I received this recently from the school counselor at Jefferson.  You can bring any of these items to church on Sunday and we will make sure they get to the school.  Let me know if you want to donate any of the big stuff and we'll make a plan of where and when to drop it off:

"Currently, our families are in need of beds (from toddler size to full) since their apts are small and won’t fit a king, or even sometimes a queen. The kids have received a lot of clothing and have shopped at our klothes kloset, but donations of new or gently used toys would be great- or gift cards to replace lost electronics would be a real luxury. Two of our families could really use bunk beds since the apt bedrooms are small and kids are sharing. One of our family has 3 children sharing a room and a baby with them in theirs."

Sara and I bought a bunch of pillows and pillow cases for beds today.  I hope you can find a way to help too.  See you on Sunday.

Pastor Jason

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Preparing now for a big 2012

Wow, some great things happened last week.  Our outreach, friends day and child dedication all went fantastic!  Thank you for your prayers!  

Some areas I'm focusing my prayers this week:
  • Fasting Plan - I'm spending some time this week seeking God's direction on a personal fasting plan.  I'm leading our staff in a fast beginning at the end of this month and we will lead our church into a church-wide fast shortly after the first of the year.  But I think God is wanting to teach me some things about fasting, discipline and faith on my own before any of that.  I don't have a good track record with fasting and I'm looking to follow God's plan and follow through with what I think He's leading me toward.
  • Increase in finances - October was a tough month financially.  Our tithes were just low.  We closed October about $2000 short of budget. However God wants to do it, I'm asking Him to meet all our needs.  I'm confident He will and I'm asking you to pray that prayer with me.
  • Key leaders needed - I'm asking God right now to bring some key leaders to our kids and youth ministry teams.  We have great people in place right now, but some of them are hoping to serve elsewhere in the future and I think God wants to promote some people to those places of leadership.  I also have a sense that 2012 is going to be a year of big growth in our church that is lead by our kids and youth ministries.  I feel like our prayers now are positioning the right people in the right places for that. 
Thank you so much for all your prayers!  They are making such a difference!  Let me know how I can pray for you this week too.