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Monthly Archives: April 2007

Some Good News to Report…

KVFC Logo

Many of you have been waiting to hear what was going on with Amy and my next ministry assignment.  I am pleased to announce that I have officially been hired as the Director of Assimilation at Kalamazoo Valley Family Church in Portage, MI.  I will start at my new position this coming Thursday.  And in another interesting development, on the same day that I found out about the new job, Amy heard from our realtor that there are 3 private showings on our house in the next couple of days.  We are hoping that the Lord has already sold our house and these are our buyers coming through.  Please pray for us that we would sell this house soon.  It is quite a job driving back and forth to Kalamazoo every day and I will be quite pleased when the Lord sells our house.  We are excited about what the Lord has for us in the coming weeks, months and years.  Thank you for all of your prayers during this time of transition in our lives.

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Posted by on April 29, 2007 in Uncategorized

 

The Reality of the Resurrection

“Oh death, where is your sting?”…  Today, as I read 1 Corinthians 15, I began thinking on the reality of the ressurection.  Having just ended the season where we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, I am not content to just leave that truth bottled up in one Sunday.  Paul does a great job in 1 Cor. 15 explaining how the resurrection is an all or nothing proposition:  You either believe it in and it is the foundation of your faith in Christ or you are wasting your time with all this church stuff!  I think most of us understand that.  But I am not quite sure that we all can grasp the reality of resurrection in general.  I remember when the resurrection went from concept to reality in my own life…

It was a cold December day.  Amy and I had been driving to go pick up a movie at the rental place when we noticed the lights of emergency vehicles by my close friends house.  As we stopped at the house, I could quickly see that things weren’t going well.  He had suffered a major heart attack and was lying on the floor, lifeless.  The EMT’s worked on him a little and then rushed him off to the hospital.  We were right behind.  It wasn’t long before the doctor came out and announced to us that my friend hadn’t survived.  We were devistated.  He asked if we wanted to go in and see him, and we said yes.  As I stood beside the body of a man that I cared for deeply, I began to understand the tears of Jesus as he wept for Lazurus.  In that moment I was praying harder than I ever had before.  I didn’t want this to be the end.  All of a sudden, this wave came over me.  I can’t quite explain it, but somehow I knew that God could raise this man up from that table – right here right now!  I was just about to pray for this to happen and I felt the Lord say, “No, not now”.  This may seem a little crazy to some of you, but for me, in that moment, resurrection became reality.

The very nature of God is to take the dead and make it alive!  If he could do it with our diseased minds and spirits, then he can definitely do it in our bodies – and he will – if you belong to Jesus.  (By the way, if you don’t know Jesus as your Lord and savior, click this link to find out how to.)

 be blessed…
-pastorj

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2007 in Devotional Thoughts

 

Do we know what love is?

Broken LoveToday, I was reading 1 Corinthians 13 & 14 during my personal devotion time and I was intrigued by how Eugene Peterson stated 1 Corinthians 14:1.  It says, “Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does.”  I was intrigued, in part, because I have felt for some time that most of the church has no idea what love really is.  For a myriad of reasons, our ideas and beliefs about love have become so warped that most Christians miss out on love, even when it is right in front of them.  And as a result, our efforts to love one another and love the lost have often fallen significantly short of true love.

I believe that Jesus always was going after a life of love.  He was going after a life of love as he turned tables in the temple courts, as he challenged his disciples to come after him, as he stood up to the hypocrisy of the pharisees, as he multiplied the loaves for the crowds, as he then turned away the crowds that were only following after him for food, as he challenged the rich young ruler to give away his riches, as he rebuked the disciples for their many shortcomings and most definitely when he sacrificed his life for ours.  As I read about Jesus’ life, I see him walk in a manner that many Christians today would not judge as “going after a life of love”.  But that is only because we have lost sight of what love really is.  I don’t pretend to be some expert on this;  I am only noticing a gap, that seems to be getting bigger, between what Jesus called love and what we call love.  I don’t know about you, but I want to love like Jesus loved.  In part, because I believe that not only does our life depend on it, but the lives around us depend on it as well.  Lest we forget that every day around us people die and go to hell because no one ever showed them the love of Jesus.  Would you pray with me?

Lord Jesus, I would confess that I have often exchanged your ideas of love for my own.  Help me to understand how you see love.  Help me to love how you love.  I invite you into obliterate my wrong notions on love and replace them with your own.  I desperately want to “live a life of love”, but I am not quite sure that I even know what that means.  Please Lord, teach me.  I invite you in to do this thing in and through my life.

be blessed…
-pastorj

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2007 in Devotional Thoughts

 

The End of One Crazy Week or The Beginning of Another…

I feel that I have so much to say, but feel unable to say much of it.  Some parts of this week have been downright unpleasant, while other parts have been pretty good.  Amy and I are in this weird state of limbo right now.  We believe that our next step is to move to the Portage/Kalamazoo area and serve there, but so much is left undone that we can’t just pick up and go.  For one, our house hasn’t sold yet.  Today, we are lowering the price another $15,000 and having a big open house with advertising from Battle Creek to Jackson.  At the same time, we feel really torn about selling the house.  We are ready to get out of Marshall, but not ready to leave Amy’s parents here.  Our relationship with them has grown so much in the past months that we really enjoy living next door and having the relationships with them that we do.  The thought of us leaving is hard on them as well.  BUT, I am no quite sure how long I can drive to Kalamazoo every day before I go insane, so the time will come to move -it’s just a matter of when.

I also feel in a weird state of ministry limbo.  I am more at peace about leaving FWCF than I ever thought I would be, but I am a little anxious to see exactly what the Lord is doing with us next.  At first, it seemed clear that the Lord was opening a door for us to start a new ministry job in Portage in short order.  Now it appears that although that there will be some sort of ministry job in Portage, it may not start in such short order.  Which is really quite okay with me, because I have really enjoyed working for my father in the interim.  He really needs the help and I need the job, but more than that I think the Lord is drawing us closer and taking our relationship to a new level.

At the same time, the Lord is working in a mighty way in and through my family.  Now that more people have come to know Jesus as Lord, it is becoming like a spiderweb of God’s love moving through my family.   We have had some tough times (with my Aunt near death at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo), but the Lord is moving even through those events.  This week I had the opportunity to spend time with one of my uncles that is really going after God hard and wanted some direction.  Without getting into the details, this in and of itself is an amazing work that the Lord is doing.

Well, I didn’t really talk about the part of the week that I called “downright unpleasant” earlier in this post.  I don’t want to say too much, but the situation that caused this unpleasantness was a reminder to me that the attempted manipulation of the spiritual realm to support ones personal assertions is one of the most ugly things that we as Christians can do to the church and to one another.  I don’t want to dwell on this stuff, but I also don’t want to miss how the Lord would grow me in and through these sorts of conflicts.  As I did my devotions this morning, the Lord used 1 Corinthians 11:17-19 to remind me of this.  Check it out…

Thank you for your continued prayers…

be blessed
-pastorj

 

Time to Head Back to Reality… Bummer eh?

Southern PinesThe time has come to leave our plush temporary vacation home in North Carolina basking in the mid-70’s temps and head back to mid 30’s temps of Michigan (or as Amy’s mom calls it – Popsicle land).  I do love living in Michigan, but coming back to that kind of weather is always kind of tough.  The last few days here have been absolutely enjoyable.  We have spent a bunch of time just relaxing, some shopping and a little sight seeing as well.  Yesterday we drove to Raleigh.  There we visited the North Carolina Museum of Science.  They have an extraordinary whale exhibit with several amazingly large whale skeletons.  It was a huge museum with a lot of interesting things to see.  Best of all, it was free!  We found a little dinner and then went to the I-MAX theatre and saw an amazing 3-D movie about Sharks.  It was so cool; it re-ignited my passion for scuba diving and snorkeling…

Well, I am happy to be heading back home, but there are some not so pleasant things awaiting my return.  Some of it is just the messiness of change.  Amy and I have so much change in front of us in the next couple months and there is always a bit of uneasiness during these seasons as many of you know.  For those that aren’t up to speed, I resigned my position at Four Winds after sensing the Lord leading us to serve at a church in Portage.  The next couple of months will be filled with the selling of our house, moving, wrapping up loose ends at one church and getting settled, connected and plugged into the new things the Lord is calling us to.  So, your continued prayers for peace during this exciting time would be much appreciated.

be blessed…
-pastorj

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2007 in Personal Life, Prayer

 

A Little Slideshow From Mississippi

Here is a little of what we did in Mississippi:
[splashcast LWNG4939BA]

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2007 in Uncategorized

 

Vacation update and a BIG Prayer Request

After a couple days of enjoyable driving, Amy and I have arrived at the ministry retreat home called “Renewal House” in Southern Pines, NC.  The name of the city says it all.  Southern Pines is a beautiful city with about 15 golf courses within 5 square miles totally surrounded by beautiful pine trees.  The house we are staying in is absolutely huge and very beautiful.  It is quite a blessing to be able to stay here.  We will decompress here for about a week and then head back home.  There is a lot of change on our plates when we return, so this week will be a welcome retreat.

Pray For…Now I would like to covet your prayers for a major thing that is playing out in my extended family right now.  My aunt Rose (my dad’s brother Brad’s wife) has been in critical condition in Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo for over a week now.  She has some sort of major infection all through her body.  They are basically keeping her alive with machines and can’t seem to get her to turn a corner for the better.  They tried to operate on her last week to remove something that is appearing in her lungs, but she flat lined and the had to resuscitate her.  They canceled the surgery and she is basically in limbo.  PLEASE PRAY that Lord would move in and through this.  I am not sure if she really knows the Lord, nor much of her family.  I am asking God that he would totally heal her and glorify himself through this.  Thank you for your prayers…

 -justin

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2007 in Personal Life, Prayer