Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Writer's Block

I haven't been sure what to write lately on the blog.  There's so much in my heart and my mind but as the church grows and time passes, I feel like more and more of what I want to share involves real stories of really people who deserve and desire real privacy!  That means a lot of what is on my heart and my mind has to stay there.  With that being said, I'm going to share a few words that are pressing in my soul right now and hope that by expounding a little bit on those words the Lord might show you how to pray for our family, our church, and our incredible city.
Rylan & Hazel #sisters

LIFE: Where to begin with this word.  More than just life... new life... is something that we have experienced lately.  Hazel Joy Higginbotham, my absolutely beautiful (in that small, scrunchy, alien baby sort of way) daughter was born healthy and relatively happy on August 31st 2015 at about 2:00am.  Kelli was a champ.  An absolute rock star.  She was strong, brave, and she persevered through a really, really, long 24 hours.  Seeing new life is too much for words.  It was breath-taking and all the praise goes to Jesus.

PAIN:  We've been through some hard times in our church family.  We've got people who are hurting.  Sin has been rearing it's ugly head and wreaking havoc the way only sin can do.  Marriages are feeling the tug and tear of Satan.  We've had people decide to move on from The Pathway for a variety of reasons and of course that causes me to doubt my own leadership in more ways than I thought possible.  Although I know more often than not it's for the best, it doesn't make it any easier.  We don't just say "church family."  We mean it.  Every person that is connected to our church and especially those I'm currently in or have previously been in close community with, is like a brother or a sister, a son or a daughter (that makes me feel old).  To see anyone leave our local expression of God's family is just hard.  I'm thankful though that the Kingdom family is bigger than the local family.  God has a way of bringing hope and healing through that reality.

SALVATION: Last year we did not see very many people come to faith in Jesus.  We did not see very many baptisms.  While I know God is sovereign... I really do believe that... I also know that good trees bear good fruit.  Our vision is reproduction and we did not see much reproduction last year.  This year has been tough as well and we have felt Satan attacking.  But finally... recently... it seems that salvation is beginning to spring up from the ground once again.  People are being saved.  People we have been praying about for months and even years.  God is at work.  There are still specific people who I believe are on the verge of trusting Jesus.  Please pray for a Holy Spirit break through.

MEN: I know "laziness" and "men" are synonymous in the minds of many people.  For so long in our church we were filled with men but laziness embodied those men and our women were driving the ship.  We still have a long way to go, but slowly and surely we are seeing men grow in their relationships with Jesus, step up to the plate in the realm of leadership and discipleship.  Somehow I believe God wants me to do a better job of investing in our men.  Please pray for our men.  Pray that they would love Jesus a lot and want to know him more.  Pray that I would effectively show our men that I care about them and that I want to help them grow in Jesus.  Pray that I would find effective ways to connect with our men and that together we would be able to reach more men in our city with the gospel.

Leaders:  It seems like I'm always talking about leaders, a lack of leaders, a desire for more leaders, etc.  Well, I've come to realize that as long as were growing and making disciples, pursing growth and pursuing making disciples, we're going to crave more leaders.  With that being said, we have seen God provide leaders, grow leaders, mature leaders, and reproduce leaders over the last several years.  In fact, our Leadership Retreat is next weekend (please pray for that time) and all of our Intentional Community Leaders will be in attendance!  No one has plans, vacations, work, etc. keeping them from attending.  14 Leaders, 9 children and 2 very gracious childcare workers gathering together for rest, worship, praying, planning and training!  It's going to be great!

Growth:  That's what I desire.  Personal growth.  Corporate growth.  And most of all, Kingdom growth.  Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.  Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  That's my prayer.  Thank you for your love, support, encouragement and belief in the God who has called us to make disciples in Tacoma!

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