The Ending and Beginning of Seasons

seasons_FotorThis morning I have found myself reflecting on all the amazing things that have happened over the past 9 years in Hudsonville.  We have made amazing friends, have been blessed with an amazing church family, are close to family, been a part of an incredible running group, and have been blessed beyond what we could ever imagine. And now the season is coming to a close…and honestly, it hurts…beyond words.  But, I find rest and peace in the fact my Father knows and feels what I feel.

I want to honor some of the people who have had an impact on my life in a significant way…Please know that if you have been a part of my life (even if you haven’t) I love you. If you know me, you know I believe we were all created in God’s image and worth loving.

Wes Dupin: Wes gave me an opportunity of a lifetime by introducing me to a man who has become a significant friend and influence in my life; Bill Clark and Hope Water Project. Wes saw this amazing running team (HWP) that had a vision for something greater than any single church could accomplish.  He gave me the opportunity to start and lead Team Daybreak, which will go down as being one of the most impactful things in my life. We saw physical, emotional, and significant spiritual breakthrough as a team, and it was all because he gave me an opportunity.  Wes gave me another opportunity that would change the course of my life forever; the ability to lead Student Ministries for Daybreak. There is no way I can explain the impact that every student and volunteer leader had on me.  Because, Wes believed in me.

Bill Clark: Bill inspired and will continue to inspire me in many ways.  Mostly, because he is willing to listen and take action from his Heavenly Father, but at the same time is very open with the struggles that go along with sacrifice.  Bill makes the right choices for the strength and growth of his family and I get to call him my friend.

Julie Albright: Julie was my first “target” for Team Daybreak.  Eventually I wore Julie down and she agreed to run the Grand Rapids 1/2 Marathon (not sure she will ever fully forgive me for that one).  Julie has the amazing ability to serve both her family and her church with great balance.  This is a skill I needed to grow in, and Julie was a great example to watch and learn from.  She was always fully engaged in Student Ministries and seeing her small group grow and develop.  I love Julie’s sarcastic sense of humor and her love for her husband and kids.

The Sierra Leone Team (Ron, Todd, Matt, Harvey, Jada, Vanessa, Steve, and Jon): This was an amazing missions team.  This group truly put personal preferences aside and put the team first.  I have never been a part of a team who cared for each other more and was willing to compromise to maintain unity.  This team heeded Paul’s wisdom in Ephesians 4:3, “Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”

Daybreak’s Student Ministry Team (Jon, Deb, and Danielle): Combined, we had a total of 1 years worth of formal student ministry experience, but this was an amazing group. Why was it so amazing?  Every team member understood their need for God’s wisdom. We were able to learn together, fall together, learn from our mistakes, rejoice in our wins, but most of all follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance in what He wanted to do in the life of the students.

Bailey Moseler and Jada Murphy: Two unique and gifted young ladies.  Both with amazing gifts and talents, who are doing their best to navigate a difficult world while serving Jesus.  Do not give in, do not compromise, when you fall down, get back up, have grace for yourself, and follow Jesus to the ends of this earth.  You will make a difference in this world.  Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life at a very significant time…and this does not mean it is ending.  🙂

Jeff Moseler: We all have best friends but, Jeff is a true friend, because he cares about my soul and my relationship with Jesus.  He always challenges me through our ridiculous and fun philosophical conversations.

Jeff Leys: You are a true friend.  One who stretches, strengthens, challenges, and helps me be a better person.  You have taught me more than you will ever know and will hopefully continue to do so.  I love you brother!

Danielle, Riley, and Sidney: Danielle is the love of my life and someone I am incredibly thankful for.  From early on in our marriage she always said there could be no opportunity for resentment and that is one reason our relationship is what it is.  We are surrounded by broken and hurt marriages, which makes me all the more thankful for my amazing wife.  My daughters are amazing young ladies, who God has blessed me with.  They are treasures that I will protect with my life and a few weapons of choice.  I am so thankful for their willingness to follow God’s plan for our family.

The rest of my family and friends: Thank you for your support, prayers, and encouragement.  Without that, it would make all of our journeys a lot harder.  We should never look at each other’s path with jealousy or disdain, but only prayer, support, and encouragement.  God has created us all unique and together, if we allow Him, He will use us for His eternal purposes.  We are the Body!

There will always be changes of seasons in our lives; leaves will fall, snow will fly, flowers will bloom, and trees will blossom.  It is not inherently bad; it is simply the changing of seasons and the rhythm of life.  Even so, they can be difficult changes for all people involved.  But, we find peace in one thing.  This life is but a blip on the radar of eternity.  We are given the opportunity to follow God’s calling on our life and make the most of our time on this planet.  Because, in the end we stand before the most Holy Father and give Him and account of what we did.  To my family and friends who love and serve Jesus, that means we get to spend an eternity together.

Never good bye…always see you later!  I love you,

Scott

 

 

Counting the Cost

friends3_FotorWhoever says they love change and are not willing to admit there are struggles and challenges along the way are either lying or incredibly selfish.  Transition and change is difficult on all parties involved.  We grow fond of the things we are surrounded with, whether it is a house, our neighborhood, or really close friends and family.  I found myself asking the question this afternoon, “Lord, I am not sure surrendering our family to your will is worth it?”  I actually contemplated what disobedience would look like for me, if it meant my family could continue in the life and relationships they currently have…but then I remember His grace and its all consuming effects.

Danielle and I both went to pickup the girls from their last day of school late this morning.  We picked up our oldest daughter to the sounds of middle schoolers running out screaming in joy that school was over for the summer.  The first question out of my daughter’s mouth was, can we change a specific detail of her birthday party so more of her friends could come.  Our obvious answer, was absolutely.  She has built incredible relationships and I want to do nothing more than give her the time she needs with her friends before the big move.

Onto picking up our youngest daughter; the one who does not show visible emotion very often.  I pull into the pick-up lane and see her and two friends sitting on the ground together.  She see us and stands up.  Her two friends stand up and all three hug each other; all I see is three sad faces on girls who are growing up too fast.  They hug for what seems to be minutes, while my daughter looks at me with that all too familiar uncomfortable “I am the center of attention” look on her face.  At the same time, she is fighting tears…and I can’t.  I realize what is going on, I realize we are taking her away from two friends she loves dearly, I realize this is the cost of following Christ at times. That may sound trivial, but to an 8-year-old, there is nothing trivial about this situation.

There is always a price to be had when you do your best to follow the path God has for you.  Is there blessings along the way, yes?  Is there pain and discomfort along the way, more than you will realize in the excitement of a new adventure?  God, pour out your grace, wisdom, and understanding on our girls; show them your path is good and just, and that you are always with us when we follow you.  Just as you were with and blessed Joseph after he was sold to the Ishmaelite’s and eventually to Pharaoh; bless and walk with our girls on this journey.

Is it worth the cost, YES?  Jesus freely offers water of life to those who thirst.  We must understand when we take Him up on His free offer, we are no longer our own. We have been bought with a price.  There is no such thing as superficially following Christ, to only turn back when things get difficult…it is a life of surrender and trust…

Love, Blessings, and all your prayers are accepted:)

Scott

 

My Plans and God’s Grace

grace_Fotor

When Danielle and I were in the middle of praying through what the Lord had for our family in this season we felt like we had two options:  stay where we were and have a fruitful ministry or take the leap of faith and watch him amaze us through his goodness. Believe it or not this was not an easy decision, but ultimately we chose to jump off the cliff and fully trust him.  Once we jumped, God went to work on my heart and mind like I had never experienced before… and it has been painfully revealing.

I have discovered, as I alluded to in my last post, I have an issue with trying to control the process once I feel a transition.

My tendency, once I feel transition, is to quickly go to work on figuring out what is going on.  I love the beginnings of transition, but once I know transition is on the horizon I constantly seek out a plan that will restore everything back to a previously comfortable place.

But through the discovery of this weakness of mine, I have also gained a greater understanding of God’s grace.  When I have made mistakes and went into “plan and control” mode, God has come along and blessed us in the midst of it.  Perfect example. June of 2012, our family came into a season of transition.  I was emotionally tired and instead of taking the time to pray through things I simply planned out a path that would restore our family to a comfortable place.  I made some calls, we moved back to Michigan and we were back to a comfortable place for our family.

In the period of time that followed our move back to Michigan, God blessed us with a beautiful house, a great job, an amazing church, and we were surrounded by people who loved us and encouraged us.  He brought us back into an amazing church family (Daybreak) where we able to serve the church and an incredible running team (Hope Water International).  Through those experiences we built lifelong relationships with people who have stretched us and challenged us as individuals and as a family.  It has been a season of blessings, but make no mistake it has been a season of trial, error, and learning.  Out of my weaknesses he has brought blessing… It is only by God’s grace this is possible.

And now… He has brought us full circle back to this point of decision.  We are committed; we are moving forward; and I am not completely sure what is in store for our family. But I know one thing, it is going to be good.  How is it going to be good?  I have no idea and I really do not care, because we are simply doing our best to follow Him.  “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

Yeah Jesus!

Scott

Transition

Railroad tracks

Transition is a strange thing.  Something I have learned over the years is we must do everything we can to walk through transition well, but be cognizant of the fact we will be blindsided by new things during transition.  What does this look like in a practical sense for me?  I can easily allow people and/or circumstances to justify the transition, when in fact it is simply the path the Lord wants our family to go down.

Over the last few months I have allowed myself to get absorbed into the lives of some Old Testament people living in change.  One specific story has been floating around in my brain; Saul and David.  Two individuals who handled transition in a completely opposite manner.  David walked closely with God, honoring Saul, a man created in God’s image (not necessarily living that way).  David was anointed as king, while King Saul was still on the throne.  Could David have raised an army and overthrown the Kingdom, easily justifying his actions?  Absolutely, but instead he made the decision to harm no hair on Saul’s head.  On the flip side, Saul allowed God’s transition to consume him.  He wanted to maintain control of something he was NEVER meant to control…and it drove him completely mad.  To the point of allowing hate and vengeance to fill his heart, ultimately taking his life.

I went into Spring Break this year praying for some very specific things.  One being, I wanted the Lord to completely take over the development of my weekly messages for Daybreak’s students.  I had felt like I developed some patterns in my message prep that were too rigid; not allowing the Lord to speak.  I came out of spring break with Him telling me to resign!!!  What was that?  At first I tried to justify the transition and I pointed it towards my need to spend more time with my family and to operate in my God-given talents.  Yet, the reality of it was, that was simply my attempt to justify a transition that God was orchestrating.

My tendency once I feel transition, is to quickly go to work on figuring out what is going on.  I love the beginnings of transition, but once I know transition is on the horizon I constantly seek out a plan that will restore everything back to a previously comfortable place.  A good business plan and strategy gets my blood flowing, but I can allow my desire to control and shape things to blind me from the move of our sovereign Father.  Now He is teaching me to let go of the things I find security in and rely on Him completely, my true source.  A good plan is Biblical, but always make the plan flexible enough to be altered by our loving Father.

What is on the other side of this transition?  I don’t know and believe it or not, I am good with that.  Where am I going to work?  I don’t know.  Where am I going to serve the Lord?  In Texas.  How?  I have some ideas but, I am convinced that He will reveal His plan as I need it.  I am on a mission, and that mission is to follow my Father wherever He wants me…to step away from the head of the table and to pick up the cloth and the wash basin (Gene Wilkes, Jesus on Leadership).

Here is my challenge today…what are you hanging onto?  Let it go; surrender it to the One who knows best.

Love and Blessings,

Scott