Saturday, October 11, 2014

Life on the mission field

"For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." 
-Philippians 2:13     

      This past week I was blessed with the opportunity to speak in All School Chapel at Heritage Christian School (PreK-12th grade) here in Bozeman on playing sports to the glory of God.  Through serving as the athletic director and also doing recreation ministry in the community, I have the opportunity to see regularly how God reveals what is in our hearts through competition.  I was convicted in preparation to speak when hearing the following from CJ Mahaney, who wrote a book entitled, "Don't Waste Your Sports."  He said, "May we prepare with the final day in view and not just the next game in view.  At the final day when we stand before the Lord, it will not be a celebration of athletic achievement but about having our lives examined in light of the Gospel.  Have we lived a life worthy of the Gospel?"  It was a great opportunity to talk with the kids about pursuing excellence and seeking to maximize the talents the Lord has given us, while doing so in a way that points others to Him instead of storing up treasures on earth that will not last.  Sports are big everywhere around the world and a wonderful platform God has given us to use in sharing His love with others.  
      Life has been full at the school this fall as we are getting ready to host the MCAA State Soccer and Volleyball tournament in a couple weeks, basketball is starting, we are hoping to lay sod on the soccer field at the school next week, along with the responsibility of teaching journalism/yearbook and computers.  A midst the craziness and challenges along the way, it has been great to see the Lord at work and to have the chance to interact with all the families and fellow staff, along with the kids in the classroom as well as on the playing field throughout the year.  You can please pray God will multiply the productivity in the hours He so graciously gives each day over the next couple weeks and that His name will be lifted high as we prepare to host the tournament that will include teams from all over the state.  May the weather stay nice and the snow not start falling until after October 25th :)

Chapel at Heritage

Chapel at Heritage. One of the words for sin in the Bible in Greek is "hamartia".
Definition is to "miss the mark".  Used visual to discuss with the kids
that we often miss the mark God has for us when we put other
things above our relationship with Him.  May we seek Him first
in all things!

      In addition to all going on at the school, it has been a SUPER exciting and blessed time at Kirkwood church.  After months of transition time, God has really shown up in some big ways!  Here is a report on what happened throughout the summer and into the fall in regards to VBS/camps and the culmination of what God brought together through the pastor search process...

     In regards to the pastor search process at Kirkwood, at the same time the committee was praying over different resumes that were sent in, another opportunity that was presented along the way was having another smaller congregation here in town come together and join with us.  God had put it on the hearts of their leadership separately over the past year and a half to approach Kirkwood and we met with their leadership for the first time in February.  After months of prayer and God moving the hearts of other members of the leadership team into alignment separately as well over time, we met with them again at the beginning of June and through the Lord’s leading began meeting together on Sundays soon thereafter.
    After a couple of months of meeting together, the members of the congregations voted as to whether they felt God was leading us to continue on in this direction.  The vote was unanimous, something the leadership had been specifically praying for, giving further confirmation of God's hand on this opportunity. The unification of two bodies into one has brought an excellent worship leader and a couple mature Christian men to serve as shepherds who are on fire for making disciples here in Bozeman.  We have also seen God start to bring additional families who will be instrumental in sharing the Gospel with this community. When I first came to Montana, God put two specific things on my heart - to use recreation as a platform to share Christ and that partnerships would be involved.  It has been unbelievable to see the Lord at work.  Through each door He has opened and closed along the way, He has proven so faithful.  It has definitely been a humbling and challenging road out here in many ways over the past couple years, but He has truly provided in ways that are immeasurably more than I could have asked or imagined.
      The leadership team is currently meeting regularly, laying everything before the Lord and seeking Him about how He would have us use the resources He has given us to make disciples here in Bozeman and beyond.  We are all excited anticipating what the Lord will do through this and rejoicing in knowing that His plans are always far greater than our own.  Please pray for us as we continue to seek the Lord's leading in the weeks and months ahead!  Also, a huge shout out and thanks to all those at Judson Baptist in Nashville (along with so many others along the way) who have prayed, supported and come to serve here over the past few years.

      We saw God's fingerprints in other ways through the summer as well.  We hosted a sports camp followed by Vacation Bible School week in June.  We had over 40 children in sports camp and over 60 registered for VBS.  We saw children come to faith in Christ both weeks and many of the families who attended did not have a church home so it was a great opportunity to build relationships with them.  One of the families decided to make Kirkwood their church home, and also enroll one of their children at Heritage!  
     Probably my favorite part of the summer was the chance I had to lead a study on the book of James with ten teen girls here in Bozeman.  It was so sweet to see God working in their hearts and lives as they were challenged in the Word to live out their faith in practical ways.  At the end of the summer, we got all of the families together and enjoyed a wonderful time of fellowship and praying for each of the girls (and their siblings) as they prepared to head into another school year.

     Additionally, I worked out at Bridger Creek golf course for a second straight summer.  Although I was unable to defend my state tournament title this year because my back did not feel well enough, I was still thankful for the opportunity God provided in working at the course and the chance it gives to meet many different people in the community.
     One thing I pray for constantly a midst everything going on is that I would not let ministry activity distract me from the pursuit of Christ.  I have seen that it is all too easy to get caught up in programs and activities and busyness while leaving Him out of the picture.  A dear friend here in Montana showed me a video recently that was a promo for a conference called 'Advance' that talked about how as Christians our response to the question "how are you doing?" should be different from the world; it should more than just "I'm busy". It goes on to say, "You may be busy but are you advancing?"  Are we advancing in Christ-likeness and allowing Him to make us less like the world and more like Himself through what we experience daily?  May we be faithful to seek Him first and "press on toward the goal of the upward call of Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14)."  Here is a link to the video (the guy in the video is also our basketball coach at Heritage):

Here are some other pictures from the last few months:

VBS Week back in June: With Tim, Kim and Jann
Always one of my favorite weeks of the year having people
from my home church in Nashville in town to help.
A big shout out to Judson Baptist - miss all of you!

VBS Worship Rally

VBS PreK-K Bible Study

VBS Evidence Vault

VBS Bible Study

VBS Crafts

VBS Missions

VBS Rally Time!

VBS Group Picture!
Sports Camp Week


My uncle came through town the 1st of October and we
took a morning to drive up to Big Sky. Little bit of snow at the peak!

Swan Lake

Got to go up to Swan Lake for a few days in August
with a couple families who are a huge blessing in my life here!
Only had a few days off through the summer and it was sweet
to get away and be refreshed and renewed alongside brothers
and sisters in Christ.

Reminder of God's promise...

Madre came to visit in August - went to Yellowstone

At Yellowstone National Park

Got to go to San Diego in June for a few days to see
my "little bro" Alex graduate high school.

To all of you not here in Montana - know you are missed and loved! Always love hearing from you. Please keep me updated on how you are doing and how I can be praying for you! :)

God bless!