Categories
Life

Ending One Chapter, Beginning Another

For the past three years, I have served as a pastor at Grace Chapel in Clifton Park, New York. But for the past year, Carly and I have sensed God calling us into a new ministry role. We are thrilled to tell you that God has providentially led us to join Cru (known internationally as Campus Crusade) as missionaries to college students!

Visit pruchcru.com, a new website devoted to our new ministry, to read more!

In our church’s worship gathering earlier today, Carly and I announced this news to our congregation. It was a bittersweet morning, to say the least. Here’s what I said:

We are excited to tell you this morning that God has called us to a new ministry role. Carly and I are going to serve as missionaries to university students with Campus Crusade for Christ at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. God has been gracious to lead us in discerning our next chapter and we hope you rejoice with us. While we are excited, of course, this is bittersweet, too, because my time as a pastor here will end at the end of March.

We acknowledge not having a senior pastor makes a transition like this messier. Yet we’ve sensed a call to a different kind of ministry for quite some time and are convinced this is the right time for us to pursue it. The possibility of serving with Cru has been on our hearts for the better part of the last year, and even more intensely in the last six months. We believe that Jesus is clearly calling us to this new role. Our parents, family, closest friends and mentors, and Cru leadership have affirmed us in this new call. Our elders have been very supportive and excited for us.

Several core ministry values led us to this. We want serve together more often and use our home as a base for ministry. We want to live in an urban context with a diverse population. We want to disciple young people in their formative years. We want to be around more non-Christians and share the gospel with them. We desire to work with multiple churches and organizations. We also desire to serve the global church and the connections and infrastructure of Cru make that possible. God has been gracious to put these desires in us and faithful to provide a path to pursue them.

For more than three years, I’ve been blessed to serve as one of your pastors. We came from Nebraska about as green as could be in terms of life and ministry experience. You have been so loving and caring—more than we could have asked for. You embraced our family. Some of you became surrogate grandparents to our children, many more became surrogate aunts and uncles, and all of you brothers and sisters in the Lord. We have significantly benefited from you, and we hope that in some way you have benefited from us, too.

Nine months ago, I stood here and asked you to pray for us to hear the voice of Jesus and obey him, no matter where he might call us to go. Thank you for praying. We now have a significant transition ahead of us and we ask for your continued prayers. And if you have questions, as I’m sure many of you do, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

From now until March, I’ll serve in a coaching and training role in the ministries I’ve been a part of. I look forward to working with many of you to help these ministries flourish better than ever.

The faith nature of our new role means, like other missionaries, we will need a team of people who will pray for us and generously give of their financial resources. On our own time, we will reach out to you all to talk more about our ministry and invite you to partner with us.

You can visit pruchcru.com to read more about what we’ll be doing or we can get you a brochure, if you’d like.

All goodbyes are hard and this one will be difficult, too. Our prayer is that we all would cherish the friendship we have been given and will have forever in Jesus. And even more than that, that we would cherish Jesus himself who binds us together in perfect harmony for his glory, no matter how far apart or what we are doing. He is sufficient, and we have every reason to believe that he will continue to be faithful, as he always has.

Categories
Life Ministry

Advent 2013

Historically, the Christian church has devoted the month of December to celebrating Advent (from the Latin adventus, which means “coming, arrival”). The first Advent was Jesus’ birth: when God himself took on flesh as a humble baby, born in a dirty stable. For centuries upon centuries, the Old Testament saints had anticipated the Messiah’s arrival. We, too, are saints who anticipate the Messiah’s second arrival. Jesus’ next Advent will come when he returns at the end of the age, not as a poor, humble carpenter, but as a warrior King who rescues his friends and subdues his foes.

As we celebrate Jesus’ first arrival, and anticipate his second, we join millions of other Christians around the globe, in purposeful and intentional daily reflection on the wonders and glories of the gospel. Below are a few resources to help you as you celebrate Christ’s first coming and await his second coming

Categories
Theology

A Prayer for Christmas Morning

Father in Heaven,

We thank you for Christmas, and we thank you for gifts, good food, and family fun. But while these things are nice things, they cannot do any ultimate good to us because they cannot take away our sins. What is ultimate is that your Word, the eternal Christ, took on flesh in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. He emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. He was found in human form in a manger, such a lowly birthplace for a King. Yet he did not remain a baby. He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. And though he died, he did not stay dead. Father, you highly exalted him by raising him from the dead, giving him the name that is above every other name. So we thank you for the gift of a suffering servant who took our iniquity so that we might be clean.

Father, at Christmas we hear many stories about kindness, peace, and being “good for goodness’ sake.” But if we are honest, our goodness is nothing to showcase, nor has it ever been. We praise you that you do not look upon us and give us favor because of our goodness. You could never do this because before we knew you, we were slaves to sin: we were held captive by the law, which we could not keep. Thank you Father that when the fullness of time had come, you sent your Son to be born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law. You redeemed us through your Son and made us sons and daughters. He redeemed us by fulfilling the law in our place and giving us a righteousness we could never earn. So we thank you for the gift of a righteous man whose record is credited to our account.

O Father, would your Holy Spirit impress these gospel truths on our minds and hearts today, and everyday. As we open up gifts, let us remember that Jesus is the greatest gift that has ever been given. As we eat food, let us remember that the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. As we spend time with family, let us remember that we now belong to a new family which is bound together more tightly than our earthly families ever could be.

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Categories
Life

My Top 10 Posts of 2011

Top ten lists. That is what the last week of December is for, right? I should probably get in on the action before it’s too late. Without further adieu, here are the top ten posts from this small corner of the blogosphere. Thank you all for reading. I am truly humbled.

10. Your Words Have the Power of Life and Death
9. The Result of a Depraved Mind: Practicing and Approving of Evil Deeds
8. Gospel-Centered Devotions
7. I Want to Love Jesus, Not Just Know Stuff About Him
6. Long Snapping Amazement
5. Happy Anniversary to My Wife
4. Biggest Out of Context Pet Peeve: Matthew 18:20
3. The Rob Bell Saga
2. Thoughts on Erwin McManus’s Talk at the Global Leadership Summit
1. Should We Rejoice Over Osama Bin Laden’s Death?

If you read this blog often, what was your favorite post of 2011?

Categories
Life Theology

Your mom wants to subscribe to my blog.

Happy Mother’s Day, fellow bloggers and readers. I hope today was as good for you as it was for my wife and me. What better way to finish the weekend than by subscribing to the blog?  If you already subscribe, perhaps you can invite your mom–or someone else–to do the same?  After all, it’s free.

What are you waiting for?