Friday, November 6, 2009

The Last Two Months

As I sit in my old favorite coffee shop in Glendora I can't help but reflect on the things that have come to pass over the last two and half months. I have moved from Glendora to Moreno Valley, back into my parents house. Out of my parents house to Tustin only a little over two weeks ago. Now I find my self back from where I use to be, sitting in Classic Coffee in Glendora, where this last summer I spent a majority of my time.

My time spent at my parents house was really good. It is what I will refer to over the rest of my life as, "my time of two months rest." As much as I loved living at the 702 house in Glendora, after moving I realized how unhealthy my life style had become, by no other persons fault but my own. Spiritually I was just exhausted and far from where I needed to be in order to best serve others in ministry. Ultimately I think God knew this all along, because on the eve of me moving into my parents house I had somewhat of an spiritual actualization through reading the great Henri Nouwen. Upon reading Nouwen, I decided to enter into a time of spiritual renewal. I spent time alone with God, working out, reading, and a lot of time with family and loved ones in hopes of re-energizing myself. This time was not easy, I realized a lot of things about myself and how I had created some unhealthy habits in my life. At the same time, I am not prefect after this time. I still have a lot of things I have to work through.

About two months after being in Moreno Valley, applying for church jobs the whole time, I finally received a call to join a community in Irvine. At first this job was not my first choice. It was only part-time and while it paid very, very well, it was not my ideal. Little did I know the my ideal was not God's. After many meetings and conversations with the pastoral staff and members of the church I was hooked. While I realized that the community was not prefect in any fashion, what was important and what stood out where the people's hearts. The staff cared more about my heart, my passion, my visions, and my relationship with God and others than if my theology aligned completely with theirs. As the head pastor Jim said to me, "We can talk about theology, but what is important is your heart, no matter how hard you argue you can't change someone's heart."

After receiving the call and taking with friends and family it was clear, as my friend Casey and Sarah told me, "I just need to do this." More than anything, God showed me this was a move I needed to make. Not because it made sense or because it was exactly what I wanted, but because it did not make sense and it wasn't what I exactly wanted. It is in this way that it became clear that God opened this door and I was to walk right in. I knew I needed to find a place to live and another part-time job to help me life but I just had faith that if this is where God wanted me he would provide. A week later I had a great place to live in Tustin with friends of mine, not strangers, and another job where I would make enough money to live with just the right hours.

Now two weeks into the job, it has not been easy. There have been a lot of changes, questions, and struggles in my mind and heart already, but I know that God is there. I have had a peace with connecting to students that I never had at Baseline. During my first Sunday, as I introduced myself to my small church plant of 150, I was calm not nervous. As I sat talking with kids at my new church community who have been really hurt by their past experiences at the church, they where open and really honest for where they were at in life. And even after my first break down with Katie about how am I going to get all the thing done I need to in only 25 hours a week, I am good.

I know that this new place in my life will have its struggles and hardships but looking back I can see the work of God and that gives me comfort. I know I am in a community on the forefront of a lot of change (changing lead pastors, changing denominations, changing community visions) I know that God is present in times of change. In ending I thank you all who read for your support, care, and love; May God bless you can keep you and allow his face to shine upon you as you serve the God of who is working to redeem his creation.