Monday, October 24, 2011

The Stars at Night, are big & bright... Deep in the heart of


That's right, we're excited to be flying into that wonderful airport known as DFW this Thursday. It's that time of year again and we'll be making our annual trip down south to visit with our wonderfully faithful partner churches and individuals. We're excited to take a few weeks to be able to catch up with those of you who pray for and support us so faithfully as well as share stories of what God is doing, how Satan is trying to thwart God's work and how you can support The Pathway going forward.

We want to see as many of you as possible so if you live in an area we will be visiting, please get in touch with us and we'll let you know where we'll be. I wanted to let everyone know a few of our definite stops. We'll be in Ada, OK on Sunday October 30th for Trinity Baptist's mission's conference. If you are anywhere near the Ada area please contact the church for the conference schedule and come by and see us. On Wednesday evening November 2nd we have the privilege of speaking at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor's FOCUS Bible study... I believe it begins at 8:30pm. If you're near Belton, come on by! Then on Sunday morning November 6th we'll be speaking in the morning services for First Baptist Church Universal City. Finally, for those of you who are way down south, we'll be at FBC Charlotte, TX on Sunday evening.

If you have any specific questions about our schedule or you are interested in meeting up, just send me an email ( and we will try and get together. In the mean time, I wanted to give you a couple of specific prayer requests:
1) Please pray for The Pathway church while we are out of town for almost 2 weeks. Pray that our leaders are able to effectively step up!

2) Please pray for us as we seek several individuals, families and couples to move to Tacoma to help us plant The Pathway more effectively.

3) Please pray for our meetings with current and prospective partners. We still need a lot of support as we move forward in planting The Pathway.

4) Please continue to pray for life change in the people of Tacoma.

Thank you all so much!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Empower Leaders

If you've followed this blog for long you know that one of our greatest struggles as a church is raising up leaders. God has blessed us to connect with the lost and unchurched of Tacoma but it has opened our eyes to how much we need some mature believers to invest in these new disciples. While we are still very much in need of families, couples and singles who love Jesus to move their lives to Tacoma, I've been encouraged this week by the people within our church who are stepping up to lead where they are needed.

I'm in Knoxville, TN this week at a missions conference with one of our partner churches, FBC Concord. Being gone from Tacoma for a week doesn't mean that "being the church" in Tacoma stops until I return. The work goes on, the mission goes on, and leadership is still needed in my absences. Right now I am leading two Community Groups a week. Monday night one of our young men, Corey Richmond, stepped up and led the group in my absence. He has done this before and I am praying that he will take over the group full time soon. Last night my good friend Gene who I have shared about many times before on this blog got out of his comfort zone and led our Community Group. He told me he was scared but he knew it's something he needed to do. Kelli told me he did a fantastic job. I'm praying that he will take over that group in the future.

Finally, my entire family will be traveling to Texas and Oklahoma over the next several weeks and I will be missing to Sunday's of worship services. I'm excited to have John Smithwick step up and preach while I'm gone. He has never preached before but he is excited to be used where he's needed and to preach the gospel.

Sometimes I get overwhelmed with the need but I often need to step back and see how God is working. Please pray for Corey, Gene, John and others who God is calling to step up and lead within The Pathway church. As I've said many times before, God is moving. Please pray!

Monday, October 10, 2011


Our church has been completely blessed over the course of the past week by two missionaries who have truly decided to trust God and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit wherever he decides to send them. Stacie Hooks and Jenna Jones are two young women who are passionately in love with Jesus and have decided to obediently follow Jesus no matter what the cost.

Inspired by the entire tenth chapter of Luke 10, Stacie and Jenna were praying and seeking the Lord about what to do and how to serve him upon graduating from East Texas Baptist University. With many doors closing and only one door opening, they decided to say yes to God. The sold all their possessions, purchased a used conversion van and hit the road. Following the pattern of Jesus sending the 72 out in Luke 10, they knew God was calling them to travel all over the United States with no preconceived notions or plans, simply stopping in cities to see where God was at work and join him wherever possible.

I actually knew Stacie from my time at Camp WOW when I served as the Assistant Director over summer staff. Stacie worked for me for several years and Kelli and I had the joy of watching her grow in her love for Jesus. It is amazing to see her now. Well, Stacie and Jenna showed up in Tacoma, WA a little over a week ago and it couldn't have been more perfect timing. One of our Leadership Team, Laura, has been going through a really tough personal time and Stacie is one of her best friends. God knew she needed the encouragement. One of my good friends who is a part of my Community Group, Gene Scott, had just lost his home and did not yet have his new house livable for his 3 young children. The Scott's had been staying with my family for several days while Gene tried to get the house ready. Stacie and Jenna jumped right in and helped scrub floors and clean the kitchen.

Yesterday we were blessed to have the girls share all that they have seen God do over the past year in their travels. His favor, provision and blessing is obviously on these girls and they are so full of joy you would never know they sleep in a van every night, wash there hair in the bathroom at Starbucks and don't always know where they are going to be the next day. When asked when this journey for them will end, they simply respond by saying, "We know God hasn't called us to live in a van and travel the country forever, but we're going to keep going until he plants us somewhere. We're going to continue until the Holy Spirit tells us to stop."

Absolutely amazing. Many would call these girls crazy and irresponsible. I know them and our church has been blessed by them. They remind me of Abraham when God simply told him to "Go to a land that I will show you" in Genesis 12. If you want to follow the girls and know how to pray for them you can get to their blog at

You can also watch find their video on their blog and get a better understanding of what they are doing and how God is using them.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sin Magnified

Matthew 18:15-20 is a passage of Scripture that most pastors and Christians would just assume ignore. And to be honest, for most of my life I have ignored it. However, as we have been going through the process of planting The Pathway in Tacoma we have learned in a much more real way the depth of the sin problem in this world and the effect sin has on our mission as a church in this world. Romans 1:18 says, For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

I for one don't want to play any part in suppressing the truth of the gospel as a result of my own sin and the sin of this church. This leads to the reality and the importance of not ignoring Scriptures like Matthew 18. We cannot ignore or accept sin in the life of the church. We must call it for what it is, confront it in the name of Jesus and deal with it biblically. If we don't, we will end up seeing churches and Christians ignoring sin in the name of personal privacy and tolerance and we'll find churches being complacent and self-consumed... oh wait, that is what we are seeing in many churches in our nation.

I've also learned in the last 2 years and have been reminded in the past couple of weeks that all sin is magnified when it is found in a church plant as opposed to an established church. As a church plant, everything is magnified. We are small, we are immature as a body, we are still learning what it means to love each other and love our neighbor. When sin jumps in the pool with us it creates a tidal wave of controversy, anger, frustration and spiritual blindness that cannot go un-dealt with. Over the past week I've had to have multiple difficult conversations with people who know Jesus but are refusing to repent of the sin in their life. It is not fun.

That being said, God is laying for us a foundation of righteousness and I would like to ask you all to pray that those individuals who are dealing with unrepentant sin in their lives would not run from biblical community as so many of us are accustomed to doing, but that they would cling to the word of God and the people of God so that restoration and growth can happen both individually and as a church. God is at work... Satan is at work... thankfully we know, God wins.