Saturday, October 23, 2010

First 2 Weeks in NC

Hi Everyone,
I thought I'd give an update as we have been in Raleigh, North Carolina for 2 weeks now.
We are doing well and it has been a wonderful blessing staying with the Wilson family.
I am still looking for a job and have turned in some applications and resumes with a handful of Air Conditioning companies here in hopes of landing a job (mission field) soon. I have a couple interviews this next week. Please pray that God would put me where He wants me. Once I am able to secure a job then we will look to rent a house or an apartment hopefully in or around the community that is close to work. Our desire is to have a job and home by mid November. Angela and James are doing well. We've all been able to rest a little too. The weather has been real nice here and its starting to cool off a bit. We're becoming more familiar with the city and the surrounding areas. We covet your prayers, and love you all lots!

Moore Square Park Downtown

Last Sunday we went downtown to Moore Square Park and gave out some lunches to the homeless community and got to know some of the locals. We also met some other believers who go downtown on the weekend as well to give love and food to those in need. The homeless community here has a huge network of Christian ministries and individuals that bless them with everything from food, to clothes, jobs, phones, Bibles, preaching, love and relationships, etc. God has been loving on people through people long before we ever arrived and that is encouraging to us! Our desire is to find our little "nitch" for the Lord and serve alongside the Body of Christ here. We see the beauty in the diversity of the Body of Christ, that each part is necessary, useful and beneficial to the growth of the Kingdom of God. I was reminded this past weekend that each person has their own way of serving God, using their gifts, and loving on people as a demonstration of their love for God and that as believers on the same team we must never allow the diversity and differences to divide us. Our views and philosophies about how best to minister to people are just that, "our" views, and "our" philosophies. And Paul in 1 Corinthians 12 powerfully explains to us that it is God's will that we operate differently as different parts of the body act and operate different. My feet are designed different than my hands and mouth and ears, and that is a good thing. My eyes are made up of totally different tissue than my mouth, and serve a completely different purpose, and yet both eyes and my mouth are connected to the same body, serve the same body, and neither part can replace the other. It's the same in the Body of Christ, God has designed different people for different tasks and ministries, and those ministries often operate under different philosophies and perspectives so that they can each fulfill totally different, and totally needed ministries. This is the beauty in the diversity of the Body of Christ. Or at least it should be beautiful. The difficulty is when it gets ugly because we forget we are all part of the SAME Body of Christ. We forget that the Body of Christ is not just our church, or our city or community Christian network, or our denomination, or our national representation of Christ, but rather that the BODY of CHRIST is the global community of true Christians. Yes, a local church is a micro-representation of the much larger Global Body of Christ (or at least should be) but it is not the final and perfect representation of Christ's Body. The Lord's Church invades a variety of denominations and non-denominations in such a way that no one can claim the "they're the only true church." I'm saying this because I think it's important that as believers when we go out to minister or witness or represent Christ in our communities and we see or meet up with believers that "do things differently than we do," that we're reminded that the differences are Divine and designed and beautiful and necessary and that we are all parts of the same glorious Body, the Church and Bride of Christ. We must not forget that otherwise we will generate that "us verses them" mentality and we will see ourselves as opponents competing rather than team members that need to "play well together." One person does not have the "best" or "right" way of doing things and neither does one church or denomination or nation. My whole body is not a hand and neither is it just a hand and a mouth. My body is a highly complex combination of various parts that "play and work well together" for the benefit of the whole. Each part needs the other and each part is necessary. So let me challenge you with this, the next time you might feel quick to criticize another believer or ministry or church for the way they do things for Christ, just ask yourself this question: "Would I be better off if I just cut off my left arm right now?" Probably not. And most likely those we criticize do have an important part in the Body of Christ, just not our part. Jesus said that there is one way the world will know that we are His disciples and that is by our "love" for one another. John 13:35 And Jesus said there is a way that the world will know that the Father sent the Son and that is by our "unity" and being one with one another. John 17:20-21. Praise God for the variety among believers, ministries, churches and philosophies of ministry. Praise God that every Christian is not like me! Diversity and differences are Divine by design, just like men and women. Let's rejoice in our differences, and strive together to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace as Ephesians 4:3 challenges us to do. We love you all! Thanks for your love!

James got a new car! Some friendly people at a yard sale gave it to him for free. It's a used car. And so for his first car this one will be one that he can crash without us being out a lot of money.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Who is Christ?What is a Christian?What is the Church?

This is a sermon I preached on answering the questions:
Who is Christ? What is a Christian? And what is the Church?
With the desire to use the Bible and not the opinions and traditions of man and culture.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Traveling to North Carolina (Part 3)

Well, we finally arrived in North Carolina! We left Kentucky, traveled through Tennessee and down over the Smokey Mountains into Asheville, North Carolina. Angela's Brother, his family and her mom just recently moved there. We had a nice visit with them over the weekend.
James got to finally get out of the truck and play a little.
Angela's brother took us on a great scenic drive around Asheville and showed us some sites. We visited a nice Hotel called the Grove Park Inn that had a great view of Asheville from the balcony and a sweet Jaguar parked out front. Supposedly this hotel is well known and many a "big wig" throughout its history has stayed here.

From Asheville we traveled East toward Winston Salem, Greensboro and on into Raleigh. We stopped at our last rest stop and stretched!

Finally after a little more than 2700 miles total we arrive in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Hello new mission field, Raleigh, North Carolina! Over three years ago we had implanted into our hearts the thought of moving to North Carolina before we were married or with James, and wondered, "Was that God or was that just us?..." Well, here we are, and we arrive in Raleigh, NC on 10-10-10! We have officially completed one chapter of life and begun a new one. We look forward to God's plan for our lives as we follow Him. And we are so thankful for everyone He has put in our lives to help keep us in His will. We love you!
We are currently staying with the Wilson Family in Garner, North Carolina. This is their home above. They live about 20 minutes from Downtown Raleigh. Years ago the Wilson's were part of our home church Calvary Chapel Spring Valley, Las Vegas, and about 8 years ago they felt led by the Lord to move to Garner, NC. We met them last Spring when we visited the Raleigh area to pray and see if the Lord might be leading us out here. They graciously invited us to come and stay with them until we get on our feet, I find a job, and we find an apartment in the Raleigh area. The Wilsons embraced us as family even though they didn't know us. We have been so blessed by God and His people throughout our journey as followers of Christ. Oh that everyone could experience the love and friendships God has provided in His local, national and global community, the Church, the beautiful Bride of His Son. And truly His Bride is beautiful! Thank you Jesus!
Good night Las Vegas...

Good morning North Carolina!

This happens to be the most visited blog on our site perhaps because many people search the web for "Traveling to North Carolina" quite often. If this is you, please also go to this page:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Traveling to North Carolina (Part 2)

Well, we've traveled across most of the country so far. We've been able to visit with family and friends and see some beautiful scenery. Traveling from New Mexico through Texas and Oklahoma was pretty flat but there were a couple rain storms off in the distance that made it pretty. We got to see a field of wind turbines off in the distance. That was cool. (For geeks like me.) (I didn't take that picture below, but that's what they look like.)
On Saturday we were able to have lunch with Angela's brother and his family in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was a nice visit.
After leaving Tulsa we went to a cave in Missouri. You actually ride a propane powered Jeep down into the ground and below is a big open cavern full of stalactites and stalagmites. It was pretty cool for a quick stop of the highway and a place to stretch our legs and see something cool. James was too small really appreciate it. He was a ting crazy while everyone else was trying to enjoy the ride and listen to the guide.

We stayed in St. Louis at the Strebe's home (pic below) until Monday and then went to Mt. Vernon, Illinois to visit with my family. It was a nice quick visit. Jason, Nancy, Colin (pic below) and Haleigh are doing great and my sister just had a new little boy, Adam, and he's a cutie. Below is our family couch photo and James with his cousins Michael and Leah in the hammock.

We're in Louisville, Kentucky now visiting with our friends Yaser and Vilma. Last night we took the kids to the park near downtown. (Picture below) Lots of green here. We plan on heading south to Asheville, North Carolina on Friday where Angela's mom and brother are living. It should be a beautiful drive over the mountains to Asheville, NC.
God's country is amazing. I've really been able to see that there is a lot of deep rooted Christian heritage across our country, lots of Churches, lots of great people and a lot of so called "morality." Regardless of all the political and economic difficulties we're in and we face, I am challenged that our "Christian Country" is not going to die easy. We can lose the name "Christian" country long before the actual Christian influence is gone. God's work in and through His people is impossible to snuff out and as a nation of people we still have so much of the Lord working in our midst. I can see that the remnant of believers within our country that I've been able to visit with and experience is still a strong spiritual force to be reckoned with. There are still so many people that simply love Jesus, His Word and His ways. We definitely need a real revival of the Holy Spirit and not religion. We definitely need Christ to move in a powerful way across the land and grant us a willingness to let go of all our perishing toys and idols that we might grab on to Him completely with both hands. We as a country need more Jesus!!! We as Christians need more Jesus!!! And you who are lost without Him need Him most! Our Lord is so good and patient and long-suffering, not just with our country, but with me. Oh, Lord, help us to be patient with others, understanding and compassionate, willing to go the distance that they might come to Christ. Thank you for Your mercy God and grant us grace to seek Your face in Truth.
Thank You Lord for our country!
Thank You Lord for our friends!
Thank You Lord for our family!
You're goodness never end!!!
May we never take it for granted.

To all our friends and family back in Vegas,
we love you and miss you tons!!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Traveling to North Carolina (Part 1)

Hi Everyone,
Wow. Its crazy that we are actually moving and on our way to North Carolina. We made it to Albuquerque the first day and then to Tulsa on day 2. We arrived in St. Louis on Saturday night to visit some great friends (The Strebes) and are now heading to Illinois to visit with family. From there we will visit some friends in Louisville Kentucky, then head south to Asheville, NC and then over to Raleigh, NC where we will be staying with some friends until we get settled.

We really want to thank our Family at Calvary Chapel Spring Valley in Las Vegas. We would not be where we are today without the friendships with you all. We have been so blessed by the Body of Christ at Spring Valley and will miss you guys a ton.

We left Las Vegas encouraged, empowered and emboldened to step out in faith and serve God with all our hearts and with the love and support of our home church and family. We love you all so much!