Like it’s 2019

I am a filthy liar.
I said I would update this blog more often, but it’s 2019. My last post was in JULY. Oh well. No excuses. 
So 2018 is over. I always want to look back and say “wow, what a great year”, and it was, but there were some challenges. Ministry wise, it rocked. I learned so much more about this job. I learned even more about delegation, leading by example, and stress management. Everytime I find myself catching up with a friend, they want to ask about my new job. Yes, I’ve been working here well over a year, and it’s still my new job. I always say “You know what, it never feels like I’m going to work. But there’s a trade-off. If going to work never feels like going to work, the same can be said about going home. That’s not to say that my home life is suffered… no. I get to be home in the mornings, and have coffee with my darling wife, while hanging out with my two sons. That will never get old. But this job has become so much of my heart and soul that there’s almost no separation. This puts a high priority on stress management and self-care. I can’t leave my job on a friday night and say “WHEW I’M SO GLAD TO BE OUT OF THIS PLACE SEE YOU MONDAY”. It doesn’t work like that. 
LIFT2018 was a critical success. It was one of several ministry records that were broken this year for us. But having it while Jessica was practically in labor was rough. And I mean ROUGH. All the planning in the world wouldn’t lessen that weight. But it happened. And Wesley was born right after I’d had one day to rest at home. On July 1, Jessica labored for over 15 hours. I watched in excitement/horror/anxiety/anticipation as this woman that I love so fiercely, sacrificed herself in the moment to give life to a tiny little person. It was long and painful, but it went well and without complication.
Something else, though, was also on our minds. We knew that little Wesley wasn’t all perfect physically. He had a complication with his kidneys, that would later require surgery. I don’t care who you are, no one wants to watch a 3 month old child carried away in a doctor’s arms to be cut open. But it happened. And he pulled through. Then there was the bills. We have good health insurance, but there’s a lot of things that don’t get fully covered sometimes. Thanks to the hospital approving us for financial aid, and the generosity of many at WayPoint Church, we made it. We had a wonderful Christmas, and we are excited for a 2019 with a little less health-related drama. Though I hesitate to say that.
2019 promises to be a year of adventures. Something Jessica and I didn’t get to do much last year was hike and camp. So this year we’re going to do that a lot. That is, if God wills it. I’ve done a lot of thinking about that this past year. I preached a sermon back in April about just that. Determining God’s will. Some people think they have a tighter bead on that than others. Some think they can just speak their goals into the air and that God will make sure they happen, with no consideration of the possibility of failure. Each person’s testimony is their own, but I can tell you from my experience, that God has taught me more through my failures than my successes, and understanding that has brought magnitude and understanding to those successes. His plans are just that much bigger than ours. I’ve looked back and spotted successes where I didn’t even know they existed. 
At our Christmas party, the Albino Pachyderm, we set an all-time record for attendance at youth group: 65 students! I don’t know about you, but I want to see that trend continue. On January 7th, we will talk about plans, and what God thinks about them. I hope even more kids come. I want to run out of chairs. I want the building to be totally inadequate. I want to be desperately looking for more leaders because of how many kids there are. I want them to be kids that don’t go to church, so we can introduce them to God, and they can eventually go themselves.  But it’s not just me that wants that. The Christ-following teens of our own community are hungry for mission. They see the adventure of faith that lies before them. The world around them fosters a culture of uncertainty, and so fear creeps in. I want to arm them. But right here, at Five17, we have a perfect environment to bring them in, Acts-style. 
If you’re a youth and you’re reading this, I hope you’ll get on board. The Kingdom is growing. I don’t care what my rank is in that army, but I want to be all about it.