For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Dear Friends and Family,
I pray that God’s joy has found you this holiday season. As another year draws to a close, I’m sure most of us are reviewing the past year — reflecting on both the good and the bad, and probably spending more time on the latter than we should.
God has done and is doing magnificent things in my life. During the last eight years, He’s taken me from a farm in the middle of nowhere to a small college town where I helped facilitate worship through a college ministry. He then gave me a job in the midst of economic turmoil where I was able to flourish and now…on to aid in the planting of a new church in Minneapolis, MN. As many of you know, I, by the divine grace of God, embarked on a new adventure this last year. In March of 2010, my pastor at BWC and our worship leader pulled me aside to ask if I would consider coming with them to the Twin Cities to help plant a new church and play keyboard for their worship team. My heart and mind were in syn with the hope of moving on…I felt I had exhausted all He had called me to do in both Brookings and Sioux Fall, SD. It was time for change and I said yes.
January and February of this past year brought with them the ups and downs of job-hunting, along with the unnecessary stress and chaos I faced in Sioux Falls. I’ll also add that looking for a job 250 miles away during a Minnesota/South Dakota winter was not my brightest idea. I pressed forwarded, know thing that this was what God had called me to do.
Come March, feeling hopeless in my search, I had signed a short lease on my apartment. I soon discovered that God had other plans. Doors began to open. Within one week, He had provided a job in downtown Minneapolis, the tools necessary to start and complete that move, a sublet for my apartment, and a place to live practically rent free until the position was solidified.
I spent the majority of th next couple of months discovering myself in this new city. Ths sights, sounds…almost all of it were too much to comprehend in one day. Thankfully, I would be spending more time in the city and I’ve since learned that I could live here the rest of my life and just barely get into it all. The rest of the group — Rick Wipf, Ben Gietzen and his wife Abby, Jared Clausen and his wife Kelsey, and Holly Almhjeld — arrived by the end of May and we’ve been digging into scripture and eac other’s lives since. Good stuff!
My job became permanent in September and I moved into the city. I know call downtown Minneapolis my home with work practically being in my backyard. Being able to walk to most destinations on foot or biking definitely has its benefits. And so does my view! God has opened doors and literally moved mountains in getting me and the rest of the team from BWC here.
Plans for The Vine (our church) are well underway. The location has been narrowed down to the Uptown area (southwest of downtown) of Minneapolis, just north of Richfield. The hunting process for a building is underway and hopefully, within God’s timing, we will have a base to call home soon. We are also anticipating a start date in March 2012 and the plan is to have monthly services for the first six months before going all out. The core group continues to grow and has over 110% in the last eight months. God has been doing amazing things within our group, in our individual lives (He’s definitely messing with me), and with the planning process for The Vine. All credit is due Him. We wouldn’t be where we are now if it weren’t for His choosing, divine will and holy design.
Soren Kierkegaard once stated that life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards. Think about it. We all know the saying, “Hindsight is 20/20.” There are some days in this life where I tend to find myself thinking if only I had know then what I know now…I stop myself and bring to memory God’s word in Lamentations 3:22-26: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning…
How many chances do we get? Many. How expansive is His love? It encompasses all. It’s deep. It’s wide. It’s strong. Unending. It is also because of that love that we are free; free from our yesterdays, free from the worries of tomorrow; free to be content with now, this moment. Having a life of constantly looking forward has forced me to remind myself to be satified now; that I am His. He has provided all that we need in this moment and will continue to do so in the moments to come. Sure, it’s not easy. Christ did not come so that we could have a stress and problem free life. Oh how uninteresting life would be if He had! He only said that His yoke was easy and the burden light. Why? The hope we have because of what He did for us. Faith and trust make life easier to carry; it’s what sets us free. He came to set us free.
Take a few moments to focus on the lyrics written below. Feel free to even check the song out on YouTube at http://youtu.be/ifeJRC5lvhs
May you all find peace, hope and love in the coming year, and may you all be blessed in knowing that you are forever His. Enjoy it! Merry Christmas,