Happy belated Easter, everyone. I'm sitting here in disbelief that 2018 is already a fourth of the way over. How is that even possible? Jessica and I were looking through the rest of 2018 a few weeks ago and it dawned on us - starting in August we're going to have a First and Second grader. Sometimes my subconscious still lives in the era where Jessica and I are still in our twenties living the high life, and right about then, something comes crashing down in Luke's room.
Don't get me wrong, I love every second of where God has us, but I oft find myself barely able to keep up with the pace of it all. And that's usually when the Lord reminds me that 'keeping up with life' is not my job. My "job" is simply to rest in him, pursue faithfulness and righteousness with vigor, and rest in the overwhelming peace of being his child. I know many of you can relate, and my hope and prayer is that you also are not living in vain trying to control all the chaos but resting peacefully in the arms of the one who can and does.
The rabbit trail of craziness only goes deeper for Jessica and me as we continue to move forward in planting The Parish Church. God is doing some mighty things, but it's not without it's hardships. The ups and downs seem endless and there remains only one constant - that this journey would be tantamount to torture without the steadfast and enduring presence of Jesus. Because of that, we remain hopeful, joyful, and eager to continue to watch him build this local church in Petaluma. I hope you are able to take a few minutes and get a few snippets of just what he's up to in and amongst us.
Yours in Christ,
We started meeting with the Core Team of The Parish Church in November and it'd been a sweet time of growing together towards Christ. We've been slowly working our way through the book of Ephesians and I'll be honest, I'm being stretched and molded in ways I didn't expect as I prepare to teach every week. Teaching vs. Preaching has been an interesting dynamic for me to get used to. Both are valuable and necessary, I think, but I'm oft more inclined to preach. So I've appreciated the challenge of teaching every Sunday.
But I'm also thankful for the opportunity to do some pulpit supply in/around Petaluma over the past few months. Below, you can click the link to listen to my latest sermon I preached at Petaluma Valley Baptist Church. I'd love your feedback, so send it my way if you're up for it.
We started meeting as the official Core Team of The Parish Church in November and man, it's already been a wild ride. Jessica and I spent years in prayer and practice as to what this might look like, but nothing can quite get you ready for the real thing. Our people are as amazing as they are diverse. And getting to watch us grow as a community as we draw ever closer to Christ has easily been the top highlight of this young journey.
It hasn't come without some aches and pain. We had to say goodbye to some of our dearest friends and biggest contributors to the life and culture of our Core Team a few months ago. We were able to send them off joyfully to Auburn, CA, but they've been sorely missed. We're thankful for the time we got to spend with them and are blessed to see their impact on this young church take hold even in their absence. A huge thank you to the Vedder family for giving your hearts, souls, and energy to The Parish Church while you were here!
But with any healthy thing, with loss usually comes newness of life. The Lord has been giving us a steady trickle of new faces from all walks of life to love on and be loved by. We're elated to watch the Lord continue to build us into his household together as we seek to join him in the renewal of all things!
THINGS TO PRAY FOR
First, a praise! God graciously used another church to donate a plethora of valuable and key equipment to The Parish Church. We received enough sound equipment, children's ministry resources, and other valuable elements to get started with a larger Sunday service at a venue other than our house. Thank you, Jesus!
Pray for our Core Team. We are growing together in Jesus and despite the fruit we're seeing evidenced in and amongst us, I'm certain Satan is on the prowl. Pray that we would all continue to draw nearer to Jesus as we grow as a family. Pray for ever strengthening relationships and that our love for one another and for Jesus might be put on display for all of Petaluma to see.
Pray for our budding relationships with a few awesome organizations across Petaluma. These initiatives allow us to serve our city and help build relationships with people across Sonoma County.
Pray for strength, focus, and health for me. This season of ministry is as life-giving as it can be entropic. I've never been more aware of my need to abide in the Savior and not get spent and wasted by an ever growing church. Please pray for my patience, endurance, and faithfulness.
Pray for our family. We've been praying for an opportunity at long-term housing. Through an organization here in Sonoma County, we might get that opportunity. They're offering a few new homes being developed right down the street from us at a price that is well below market rate. Will you join us in asking the Lord for favor in this process if this indeed be what he wants?
As we draw nearer and nearer to summer break, Jessica and I are reminded daily of the joy that comes from raising these three amazing, beautiful, and wonderfully messy kiddos. Our hallways are often bombarded by the echos of Luke monstrously chasing the girls around or them chasing our new puppy, Delilah, from room to room.
Hope has continued to blossom in 1st grade and is already reading at a 3rd grade level. Our days of speaking "parent code" by spelling out words are over! She's on to us. With this new love for reading comes an avalanche of questions that we [mostly] love to answer. She recently received the "Meadow Superhero Award" and got to go to Starbucks with her Principal.
Kinley, likewise, has been thriving in Kindergarten. She was a bit of our variable in that we had no idea if her vivacious personality would help or hurt her amongst her peers. But all fears have been subsumed by the great reports we get from her teacher and others around her. She also loves her newfound skill of reading. It's not uncommon to ask, "Where's Kinley?" only to find her reading in her room! She's also enjoying her first year of softball and might've found her niche in the sports world.
Luke. Oh Luke. This kid is off the rails... in a good way (most of the time). His energy levels are otherworldly and there's NEVER a dull moment. His vocabulary has exploded as well as his height (the kid has grown 3.5" in 6 months). He's a good combination of both Hope and Kinley, only in boy form. His curly, bleach-blonde hair get him lots of compliments every time we're out of the house and there's no denying that he likes the attention.