Transition: A Personal Update

Six weeks ago, I was working with ROC Wheels (a faith-based humanitarian organization) in Mexico, where things seemed to function at a very relaxed and laid-back pace. Since returning to the States, it feels like I’ve been caught in a whirlwind of activity that has yet to die down. I’ve been able to flex with it so far, but the result has been personal projects taking a backseat to my business. I’m in a season of major transition, and the purpose of this blog is to give an update on where I’m at in a number of areas, many of which I would have announced sooner had it not been for the whirlwind.

Church Transition / As some of you already know, I am in the process of a church transition. I am leaving Gateway Frisco after 4 incredible years to be a part of Alan & Nancy Smith’s new church plant, Catch the Fire DFW, which will begin meeting April 26 in Hurst. This has been a bittersweet time as I have transitioned out of all of my volunteer roles at Gateway over the past couple of months. I honestly thought that Gateway would always be my “home church”, no matter where my adventures took me, but sometimes God re-arranges our plans. I have grown tremendously at Gateway and am grateful for my time there.

I want to stress that this has been a very healthy transition. I have sat down with 4 of the pastors at Gateway who I have been serving directly under, and we are all in agreement that this is the next step for me at this time. I don’t know where I’ll be a year from now, but I know that this is where I’m supposed to be at this present moment. I loved what Pastor Randy Cochran told me during our meeting: “Our people are not ‘our people.’ They belong to God, not us. We want them to go wherever He leads them.”

I am so grateful for the Kingdom mindset at Gateway and all of the leaders who have helped guide me through this transition. My family will still be attending FRS, so it is highly likely that I will still make appearances there from time to time.

Identity in Christ / This project, initially for the Mexico trip, involved me writing a book that is divided into short chapters so that it can serve a dual purpose as a 21-day devotional. I’m still trying to figure out how to effectively market this product, as it is truly a hybrid between a devotional and a full-length book.

I just submitted a slightly revised edition of Identity in Christ to Amazon, so it is temporarily unavailable for purchase, though that should change soon. In short, while in Mexico I discovered that it’s a really good idea to have multiple sets of eyes proof-reading a book. As this was a last-minute project, I didn’t have a chance to do that and took a chance when releasing it. Basically, I’ve just re-worded some things; no substantial edits have been made. If you have one of the 82 copies floating around, consider it a limited edition. :)

Creation & Redemption / My more-than-full-length book is still slated to release this fall. It’s going to be tight, but I think I’m going for it. I say “more than full length” because it currently clocks in at 81,000 words (most non-fiction books in my genre are between 40,000-60,000 words).

I’m going to be launching a fundraising effort for C&R soon via Indiegogo. This will allow me to raise a small amount of money needed to cover the initial production costs of the book. What’s great about Indiegogo is it allows me to offer “rewards” for donations that vary based on the donation amount. This means I won’t just be asking for a handout, but that I will be able to exchange existing products, services, and a few surprises for donations to go toward C&R. This avenue of fundraising has proven wildly successful for musicians, filmmakers, and writers alike over the years.

Battle Ground Creative / I launched my own freelance writing business last August, and it has been doing quite well as of late. Business has been strong since February, keeping my schedule pretty full. I have several more potential avenues on the waiting list, but I am not working full-time, as I am trying to keep margin available for development and personal projects, namely my book.

Youth Alive North Texas / I’m currently in my fourth year with Youth Alive, a strategic outreach organization to North Texas schools. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to stay with this ministry for so long, even with a few job changes along the way. Now, my work with Battle Ground allows for a flexible schedule that makes working with Youth Alive a breeze. In fact, just this past week we were in Lufkin at Central High School. It was great to partner with Clawson Assembly of God for a youth service the night before the school assemblies as well.

Burn Wagon / This June, I’ll be helping lead a 3-week long mission trip across the Pacific Northwest. We’ll start in Sacramento and journey through NorCal, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia before looping back around to Sacramento. This is my third trip with the Burn Wagon and my second year to return to the Pacific Northwest. Last year, we worked with local churches and ministries and saw dozens of people saved and healed—not within the four walls of the church, but primarily on the streets of cities like Seattle, Vancouver, Portland, Bozeman, and Salt Lake City. It’s really hard to describe the Burn Wagon further without experiencing it. I have seen much fruit come out of this ministry, both in terms of harvest and discipleship for those who attend.

Thanks to the generous support of my friends, family, and blog readers, I still have some funds left over from Mexico, and I’ll be paying for the rest out of pocket, so my trip is fully funded. Praise God!

Kingdom of Connection

The Kingdom of Connection

Last November, I was sitting in one of my favorite coffee houses when I overheard a conversation and afterwards introduced myself to a man who ended up being a pastor at a local church. I wrote about it here: http://ow.ly/jySWG

Yesterday, I was at the same coffee house, and ended up sitting next to Jerry—the pastor I met four months ago. We talked for over an hour, discussing topics ranging from adoption to salvation to grace. He also showed me a picture of the baby he and his wife recently adopted. And it’s cool, because the whole reason why we met last November is because I overheard a conversation about the adoption.

Tonight, I attended a special Maundy Thursday service at The Ridge Church, where Jerry serves as lead pastor. He saw me from across the parking lot as I was walking in and introduced me to his wife and their newborn adopted daughter, who in a way was responsible for me standing there in the church parking lot in Carrollton, simply because she was born. It’s remarkable how the trivial things can impact our lives in such profound ways.

Another pastor preached the service tonight, and he talked about how all Christians belong to one another in Christ, even if they attend different churches. He read from 1 Peter, and talked about how we are all “living stones” who are being built into a “spiritual house,” and he said that God is building a much bigger Church than what we see here, and that the house He is building is the only one that truly matters. And I liked that, to think that Jerry and I are both being built into the same house, and this was true even before we met randomly at the coffee house last fall.

This is exactly what I love about the Kingdom. Total strangers can have a conversation and feel like they’ve known each other their entire lives, because they have Christ in common. The Kingdom of God is a relational Kingdom—a Kingdom of connection.

“Now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:3-5, NIV