I’m pretty sure I’ve written ad nauseum about how much I love where I am – I’m in Lexington, I have a job I love doing things I love, I’m in community with awesome people, I’m making friends, I’m learning more and more about myself and other people, etc – but if I’m being honest, my biggest fear is that I’m on a precipice and I don’t even know it. That is to say, maybe everything is great right now, and maybe I’m completely satisfied, but what if something changed? What if, God forbid, I had to change jobs? What if something happened and I had to move back to Richmond or Berea (and again change jobs?)
I’m trying to be cautious that I’m not trusting in or hoping in external things – I’m hoping that I’m not only happy because of my job, or because of the city in which I live. But I also struggle with whether or not it’s okay to be happy because of those. Does that make sense? I want to extrapolate some set of principles to hold on to that will help me be happy no matter where I live or what I do. At the same time, however, I don’t want to fret over some hypotheticals (losing my job or moving) if that’s not in danger of happening. Anyway, at this point I’m simply ranting, so I need to move on to the point I’m getting to.
Really, really excited.
So much has happened in the last few months – for starters, God has helped me heal completely from the failure of my most recent relationship. I think it was a matter of perspective – my former girlfriend came in to the coffee shop on a morning on which I was working and informed me that our friends were having their baby. In that moment, I realized that there are joys in life far greater than the pains we experience, and somehow that little act of kindness from her (informing me what was happening with my friends) coupled with the magnitude of what was happening (they’re having a baby!) helped me to put aside all of the pain, anger, and bitterness I had held on to.
But even better things have happened. I’ve been preaching every other week for seven weeks now. Pastor Tim and I are tag-teaming a sermon series in 1 Timothy, and it’s been such great practice for me in a lot of ways. First, it helps me to get in a rhythm of preaching. Instead of preaching in odd, one-off situations, I do it bi-weekly now, so I’m always thinking about what’s next. My mind is always on the next text. Second, it helps me learn to write more thoroughly. It’s in part due to the fact that everything in this book is related, but I am able to more clearly see (and think about) how the Bible connects with itself, how text can say different things but all be about the gospel, and how people can read/respond to things and how to spin your sermon to address those things. Third, I’ve learned how to tackle tough blocks of texts. I recently had to preach 1 Timothy 2:8-15, which is a dry block about men and women in the church – how men need to pray and women need to dress differently and stop trying to teach. I don’t even think it mentions the name of Jesus. But by the grace of God, I preached the gospel from it. I’ll plug it, too: http://bereafoursquare.com/listen or in iTunes under “River of Life Foursquare Church.” It was one of my favorite experiences. Fourth, my sermons are just getting longer. I used to have a knack to go short, but this is helping me expand my subject matter.
The third life update is the promotion I recently got at work. We restructured some stuff, and it opened up a couple of positions. I applied for the purchasing assistant job, which is in charge of cash handling, orders (coffee, cups, grocery runs, etc.) and increasing revenue. It’s more the job for me since I think my brain errs more on the side of being numbers-oriented. I like having stuff that makes sense and that I can measure. I like being able to streamline things and be as efficient as possible. I’m not far into the new job, but I enjoy it thoroughly thus far.
But the reason I write is not to simply update – I’m excited because I feel like there’s so much good stuff on the way, too.
If there’s anything God has taught me over the last few months, it’s how natural evangelism is. I wrote a blog post months ago on how I need to evangelize more, but specifically that I want to evangelize more. I’m seeing more and more that it’s a natural response to, when you hear good news, want to share it! I’m seeing more and more that the message is more important than the messenger. I’m seeing more and more that the remedy to every human condition (and THE human condition – sin) is the Gospel. Gospel, gospel, gospel. So that alleviates fear of evangelism to a degree because we see that, in some glorious, God-only-knows-how kind of way, the Gospel is the solution to everything. The gospel motivates me to preach and evangelize and the gospel does the work itself. If I preach the gospel, the Holy Spirit makes the “to-do list” for each individual listener.
My roommate and I started talking the other day about how much we would love to just have people over – to have conversations, to eat together, to study the Bible, to get out the guitar and sing some songs – and all of a sudden, God tapped me on the shoulder and said, “that’s church.”
There’s something in me that is just inexplicable, and so I can only assume it’s something God has birthed – to be in deeper community with people. To talk with people I know who love Jesus about our discipleship, and to talk to people who don’t know Jesus about – well, life, and of course Jesus! There’s this naturalness about discipleship that is becoming more and more evident – how I’ve made it something I reserve for church-facilitated contexts, when in reality, it happens naturally. I don’t mean we need to abandon church – church is pretty clearly God’s idea. But I’ve limited discipleship to a life group on a certain night of the week between the hours of such-and-such and such-and-such. I’ve limited preaching and celebration of the Gospel to Sunday mornings at 10:30, when it can (and well should) happen any other time, as well.
So what I’m starting to see open up is this glorious potential – that God is planting dreams and desires in me that I never had before to love people, to get my hands dirty with people, and that’s why I’m so in love with where I am right now. Everything just seems to be falling into place, and I want to spend the rest of my days loving Jesus by loving His people and loving Him with His people.