Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Seeing the past. Believing for the future.

I'm tired.

Part of that is because I've been working out with a friend and he starts at 5am.  But in reality, there are moments, days and weeks where I realize how exhausting the last 3 years have been.  However, in those same moments God allows me to reflect on the past, on the adventures that have led to the exhaustion, and it always reminds me of how worth it his mission is.

Three years ago Kelli and I moved to Tacoma with a clear vision to see our city, starting with our neighborhood, saturated with the gospel.  But I'll let you know a secret... we had no idea how to do it!  As I think back, as I look back and see the past, here are some of the things that God has done...

-15 days after we moved-in to our first Tacoma house (on the corner of 19th & L) God gave us the 2 most precious gifts we could have ever received... Jagen & Rylan.

-Over the course of the next 6 weeks we spent most of our time in the NICU with the kids as God started to grow a Bible study into something that would one day become a church.

-During those early days we experienced a lot... fights outside our Bible studies, dropping off members of the group and knowing that they weren't going home... they were finding a side walk to sleep on, shootings, salvation, growth, rebellion, fear, joy... more emotions than I can really even explain.

-We adopted Tiffany into our family... a 17 year old broken, homeless, lost floundering and desperate child.  We opened our hearts, our home and our life to her and through the pain of her year with us, I don't regret it at all... she will always be a part of our family.

-We shared the gospel.

-We saw salvation.

-We started small groups.

-We watched small groups die.

-We served.  A lot.
     -Rescue mission
     -block parties
     -low income housing
     -our neighbors

-Our people began to crave corporate worship so we started gathering a couple times a month.  It was not great.  But even still, God got the glory.

-We were hungry for leaders & God began to provide.

-We didn't want a building.  God gave us one.

-We've married couples.

-We've even buried a husband and father.

-We've baptized.  We love the baptisms.  Changed lives shouting out loud who they are identifying themselves with is a beautiful thing.

-We re-strategized... From Community Groups to Intentional Communities. Not just semantics but a real change in how we lived as the church together.  We wanted to live on purpose.  Together... but for others.  God blessed.

-We've seen growth. Spiritual & numerical.  We've seen decline.

-We've been hurt.  We've been encouraged.

The last 3 years of our lives have been absolutely unreal.  We are exhausted yet so full of energy.  How do I explain that apparent paradox?  I really can't.  It's simply the Holy Spirit doing what the Holy Spirit does.  In our weakness he makes us strong.    So what does the future hold for The Pathway?

The short answer is, "only God knows."  But that's somewhat of a cop out.  Although I don't know exactly what God has planned for our family and our church, I believe it involves radical life change, multiplying disciples and a movement of his Spirit that will bring God so much glory we can't even imagine.  I believe he wants to take the core of people he has been building over the last several years and use us as a foundation piece, a spring board for the gospel to go places in our city that it would never go without them.  None of this will be because God needs us or we've done anything to deserve it.  However he plays out the future it will only be because of his great mercy.

But God promises us that with even small faith he can move mountains.  He says if we delight ourselves in him he will give us the desires of our heart.  I don't know what's best.  God does and I will always submit to his will.  But the desire of our heart is to see the mountain of lostness in Tacoma MOVED by faith in Jesus Christ the righteous.  We are believing that God can do this going forward.

Will you keep believing with us?

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