Monday, July 26, 2010

Riding in a Uhaul

Today was good. Today was sad.

Today was about Jesus. However, I couldn't help but think about Trudy, a lady I have never met. God has really made it obvious that he wants us to pour our individual lives and the life of our church into an apartment community known only as 435 Fawcett Apartments. It's a low income facility run by the Metropolitan Development Council (MDC). It's high crime has made the management open to any possibility of possible change. They are coveting genuine community. Enter The Pathway!

As I stood talking to the MDC housing Director last Wednesday at their Community Meeting I once again offered our help anyway they needed. That's when she asked if we could help clean out Trudy's apartment. Truly was a mentally challenged woman who was 66 years old when she was hit by a car this past July 5th. She died just last week. Trudy was all alone in the world. No family. No friends to speak of. No funeral. No one to clean out her apartment. Honestly, no one will miss Trudy. That is sad.

However, God has used Trudy's life and untimely death for his glory and to open doors for gospel community in her former apartment complex. As we cleaned out her roach infested and cluttered apartment (she was a hoarder) we were able to have fun. Why? Simply because we love Jesus and we love each other. Our group of 6 Christians were able to work for 4 hours along side 1 person from the complex and 3 case workers to bring joy and purpose to an empty moment. Jesus was talking to his disciples and he told them a new commandment... that is to love one another, for the sole purpose of allowing others to recognize them as Jesus' disciples. I truly believe that is what happened today.

I wish some of those people would have chosen to follow Christ today... they didn't. But God is moving, opening doors and using seemingly purposeless and tragic events for his glory. As I was riding in a Uhaul back from the dump, where we left all of Trudy's belongings, I looked to my right and saw my church. A 35 year old new convert to Christianity who lives in Trudy's apartment and a 16 year old new believer who is so passionate about growing in his walk with Jesus he attends 4 churches that meet at different days and times just so he can learn more! Bible scholars? No. Quiet time everyday? Probably not. Desire to love one another. Starting to look like it!

I love my church. I love the Jesus is using us for his glory in disgusting and tragic circumstances. Pray for Sindy, the apartment manager at Fawcett, that we would continue to develop a relationship with her and that she would give her life to Jesus. Pray for the MDC as we are hoping to receive approval from them this week to hold a Community Group for their residents in their community room. Praise Jesus for what he is doing here and please, look for your Trudy and your 435 Fawcett Apartments. There are broken people who need Jesus everywhere. We just need to go to them with the gospel and love!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Where does the time go?

I was sitting at the breakfast table this morning with my kids and they were so full of personality! Jagen was sitting in a high chair instead of in our laps and I thought to myself, "Where does the time go?" They're getting so big so fast. The same can be said for this summer. I cannot believe we're almost to August of 2010. We've been serving in Tacoma for more than a year now and we will have lived in Tacoma one year November 1st!!! So crazy! Where does the time go?

It's been a couple weeks since my last post and I have to apologize for that. God has definitely been at work though. Where to begin? I guess without boring everyone with all the details of the past few weeks I'd just like to praise Jesus and reflect on the reality that we are slowly becoming a church! Of course we are already a part of God's church but we are still very much a church plant. The Leadership Team has been doing most of the work and we are definitely only able to survive by the generous support and prayers of our partners. But still, we're showing signs of truly becoming the church God has called us to be. A few examples...

We have a guy in our church who is a believer but has gone through a rough patch the last 3 or 4 years of his life. One of our students actually invited him to The Pathway and he has since become plugged into our church. He really believes in the vision God has given us to reach Tacoma with the gospel. Well, we don't yet take up an offering from the people attending The Pathway. We will hopefully begin that in January. Right now our Leadership Team gives faithfully but of course no one else is chomping at the bit to give away the little money they have. But... this man came to me and said that The Pathway is his church and he'd really like to give financially to support his church!!! And he actually did! Praise Jesus for the heart as well as the giving!

We've also begun to see our vision taking shape for being a church made up of small Community Groups. What began as one mid-sized gathering and then turned into a youth gathering and an adult gathering has now become 1 youth gathering and 3 adult Community Groups with a 4th about to begin if the Lord opens the door! The number of groups we have doesn't really matter but the fact that we are really beginning to "be" the church instead of trying to just "go" to church is really starting to show itself!

Finally, as a result of the new groups beginning there are more and more people who are a part of The Pathway that I have never met! Some people may balk at that and think, "How could he not now the people attending his church?" For us though, that's the point. The church is not about Bobby Higginbotham or any one person on our Leadership Team. The point is not for me to know them, the point is for Jesus to know them. If I have to know and engage every person that connects with The Pathway our growth will have major limitations. However, if we simply focus on training leaders who can and will lead people to know and follow Jesus, the sky is the limit for the Kingdom growth through The Pathway.

Becoming a church looks much different than I ever imagined but it's happening right before my very eyes. Jesus I'm in awe!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Gospel

We recently finished a month long study in our small groups about the vision of The Pathway. One of our 4 sessions was spent on sharing the gospel. It's ironic how central sharing the gospel is to the continuation of Christianity yet out irregularly the majority of Christians actually do share the gospel. We defined the gospel as the good news that we can have eternal life simply be putting our faith in what Jesus did for us on the cross and through the grave. It's pretty simple really. The results of the choice to believe the gospel is life changing.

Over the past few weeks my heart has been incredibly encouraged. We had 2 mission teams come to Tacoma. One was from Trinity Baptist in Ada, OK and the other from FBC Universal City, TX. Our only objective while they were here was to put them around people and give them the opportunity to share the gospel. I honestly did not know how this would go since so many people don't share the gospel, or even know how to share the gospel. However, God blew my pessimistic expectations right out of the water. These two groups obviously came from churches where the gospel is central and sharing the gospel is expected. The were bold, excited, equipped and faithful to share the gospel!

Praise Jesus for the harvest we believe he is preparing to bring in Tacoma and for the faithfulness of his people to simply share the gospel!