Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Community Matters

At least it should. It does for us in a huge way. Although I don't think most people know what is meant when you talk about community, especially in the Christian context. Community has become a bit of a buzzword in a lot of churches. Which is good because we are called as believers to be apart of and to live in community (Gen. 2:18, Eph. 2:19, 1 Jn. 1:7). The problem is very few people take the time to define what they mean by community. When I say the word community I mean having a group of friends with whom you do all of life. The people who know what trials you are facing, what joys you have experienced. They are the people who have permission to point out things wrong in your life. They are the people who have the courage and the love for you to openly confront sin, especially sin you may be blind too.
A lot of people read that and think that does not sound appealing. Having people who are so in your business that they know everything about your life sounds miserable. I would contend that the reason people feel this way is because they don't have a true grasp of the gospel. In the death and resurrection of Christ, which is the central content of the gospel, we see pride torn down and thrown aside. We see the need to earn our salvation nailed to a cross so we do not have to bear that unliftable burden. It is hard for us to draw close to people because we are afraid of what they will think when they really get to know us. This is what the gospel destroys. Through the cross of Christ you are freed from the weight of having to impress people. You do not have to out work other Christians in the game of holiness. The ground around the cross is completely level. No one gets to lean against the cross because they are more deserving of the love of God than someone else. When we begin to truly grasp the gospel then we will truly be drawn into community.
Community matters for us. 2011 was a very difficult year. Between the normal busyness of work, school and family we walked through 2 miscarriages in 5 months. I know God would have helped us through those difficulties if we were not involved in community. But the grace of God in our life placed great friends around us so they could comfort us and encourage us and bring us dinner and cry with us and speak words of truth into our lives. So thank you Adams, Askins, Haddoxes and Morgans for being apart of our lives. We love doing life with you and we are so thankful for all God is teaching us through our community.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Art of Remembering

The start of a new year always makes me reflect on life, especially in the last year. There are so many moments that seem to influence and shape your life in a given year. This past year we have had triumphant events, finishing two more semesters of school, and tragic events, losing two babies to miscarriage. In between those two things are hundreds of more little events that moved our life along. How are we suppose to remember all of these things? Is it even worth trying to remember?
In thinking about this I have decided it is absolutely worth remembering. But I want to remember in a very intentional way. I want to remember not just random events or difficulties we experienced. I want to remember God's hand in those moments. I want to remember how He taught us through joys and pains. I want to remember how He provided exactly when He needed to. I want to remember these things not only for my own soul, but also for our son. I want him to know, that when I talk about the greatness and faithfulness of God, it is not mere words, but a life where He has shown himself faithful.
So I have come to the conclusion that the best way to remember is by writing things down. Since we have this blog what better place for us to record the ways God is revealing himself to us as we walk through this life. In a few days we will mark living in Louisville for 2 years. It is hard to believe it has been that long. I wish we had started recording the ways God has moved in us and for us these last two years much earlier, but today is a start. Here is a list of just a few ways God got us to Louisville and how he has guided us ever since...

1. An amazing church that is centered on the gospel, sojournchurch.com
2. A community group who has become like a family to us
3. Love and encouragement from our families as we stepped out in faith to move here
4. Money for moving expenses, insurance, tuition, textbooks, and the list could go on
5. A job within two weeks of moving here (I had absolutely no job prospects lined up before moving)
6. A great place to live with bills included in the rent
7. Gospel-centered counselors to walk us through the difficulties of two miscarriages
8. An amazing education from Southern Seminary that has deepened our love for God (I say our because Meredith has been able to take seminary wives classes that have really stirred her heart and affections for the things of God)
9. My job providing enough for Meredith to stay home with Benjamin
10. A healthy and rambunctious little boy
11. Celebration of 5 years of marriage

This is just a small sampling of the many ways God has shown himself faithful. Hopefully over the next months and years we will be able to add many more post to this blog about what God is doing in and through us.