Newfangled

Currently listening to: “Hills Humbled, Mountains Made Low” by So Long Forgotten
So Long Forgotten is my favourite band at the moment. You can download their incredible album “Things We Can See And Things We Cannot” for FREE from THEM at COME&LIVE. The album’s title is a nod to the so-called ‘already/not yet’ elements of Salvation. Here’s a choice line from the record: “And I pray you have remained a Carpenter, sanding down my edges ‘til I am full of grace.” Check them out, now. Thank you.

I got a “real” job.

(!!!)

It’s one of those jobs that didn’t exist three years ago… you know, those ones that nobody’s been to school for because no school has managed to monetize the field by offering it as a degree track in order to give various and sundry individuals some kind of arbitrary certification that says “I can do this stuff”. Yeah, one of those jobs where the stuff I’m doing and the devices/tech/media I’m doing it on didn’t exist five or six years back. I hear they’re all the rage or something. All I know is, though, that it’s been a dream. We’re doing our best to thank God every day for His provision. The commute is quite good considering what part of the country we’re in, I can provide for my family, the work is fun (!!!) and enjoyable, and I get to keep learning new stuff every day (as well as mastering all that old stuff).

It’s been about six weeks now, and I’ve already (essentially) forgotten what it was like to be on the job hunt. Or perhaps I’ve banished it from my mind.

I graduated from Trent a year and a half ago (May/June of 2009). It was a long year and a half of hunting. There’s a lot of story in that time, but the primary story is that God used the time to increase our dependence on Him. In the same period of time, our church went from an idea to a plan to a reality – by God’s grace. Although it is now ten weeks old, being a part of the plant has been spiritually intense and stretching in the best way… again, it too has increased our dependence on Him. Also during the same period of time, our daughter, Audrey Renata, went from (pardon the expression!) an idea to a plan to a reality – by God’s grace. Again, increasing our dependence on Him.

Needless to say, it was an intense season. Since graduation, I’ve become a father, celebrated my second wedding anniversary with my wife, started seminary, watched God provide for us in incredible ways (physically and spiritually), and spent a mind-numbing amount of time on Workopolis, Monster, Craigslist, Canada job bank, and all other kinds of job sites. I’ve been at various times depressed, melancholy, happy, sad, excited, elated, grumpy, and all shades in between. I’ve watched one of my best friends’ life implode. My trust in God has been at turns both strong and completely pitiful – meanwhile He has simply continued to prove and re-prove his trustworthiness in every way. I’ve had good friends along the way to talk it all through with, to be encouraged by (and to encourage, at times). At times, I’ve followed Jesus well. At other times, I’ve dishonoured Him greatly. Sometimes I’ve been gracious and compassionate, abounding in love. Other times I’ve been little more than contentious and pretentious. I’ve been irritable at times, lonely at times, confused at times, frustrated at times. I’ve been hopeful, healthy, joyful in God. I’ve been generous and also incredibly selfish. I’ve avoided God and I’ve prayed. There’s war in here, and I pray it’s a sign of life.

Through it all, my wife has resolutely and consistently dismantled my defeatist arguments and depressive musings (her methods of dismantling are second to none). She has loved and cared for me, and for our daughter, so well. Through the highs and lows of looking for a way to provide for my family, she doggedly affirmed, encouraged, exhorted, rebuked, reproved, and loved me. Without her help, the season would have probably crushed me entirely. She’s not a perfect woman by any means, but she belongs to a perfect God, and sometimes by His grace, she looks a lot like He does. I’m so thankful for you, Stephie.

Through it all, our church has supported us in ways uncountable, being the body of Jesus Christ so tangibly and so practically. Example: We didn’t have to buy a single meal for a month after Audrey was born. People regularly prayed for us (and with us) through it all. I don’t really have words to do thanks justice. Even beyond the limits of “our church”, we’ve seen the Church on a larger scale support us as well, and we’re amazed at the beauty of Jesus’ bride at times like this. I have greater hope for the church than I think I ever have – God is powerfully at work in His people.

Through it all, His faithfulness has remained a constant rock to ground ourselves on. Unchanging, Immortal, Eternal.

I’m thankful to have a job. It’s really a better job than I could have designed for myself.

I’m even more thankful for the year and a half of hunting. God’s grace abounds in weakness and need.

Psalm 28:7 says:

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him.

I Won A Book

Jacob, over at The Strasbourg Inn, recently did a giveaway contest for the newly released book by Darrin Patrick entitled Church Planter: The Man, The Message, The Mission.

Needless to say, I’m posting about it here because I won the book. I didn’t come here to brag (there’s nothing to brag about, I was randomly selected!), but rather to suggest you watch the trailer for the book here. It’s pretty much the best trailer for a book I’ve ever seen. Granted, I haven’t seen too many.

I’m also posting about it here because Jacob had me share a little bit about the church plant that I’m involved with here in the Durham Region (Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering) – just east of Toronto. Here’s the blurb I sent him:

Harvest Bible Chapel Durham is a new plant (starting in 3 days!) in the Durham Region of Ontario, Canada. Every Harvest Bible Chapel is a part of Harvest Bible Fellowship, which is a fellowship of like-minded churches that share virtually identical doctrine and philosophy of ministry. The first Harvest Bible Chapel was launched in 1988 by Pastor James MacDonald and 18 others in Rolling Meadows, IL (near Chicago). After experiencing tremendous growth and blessing in their church, they began a church planting venture in 2000 which, to date, has seen over 60 churches planted in the 10 years since. Harvest Durham will be the first great-granddaughter church in the movement, as we are being planted by Harvest York Region (located in Markham, Ontario – a northeastern suburb of Toronto) who in turn were planted in 2006 by Harvest Oakville (a city southwest of Toronto) who were planted by Harvest in Chicago back in 2001. So, we’re a part of a church planting movement in a very real sense. It’s a blessing to be a part of something like this and to be able to draw from the collective experience of many church plants.

What I would add here is that WE LAUNCH THIS SUNDAY. Please pray for us. We have a quick way of summarizing our goal as a church:

Lost people saved. Saved people matured. Mature people multiplied. All to the glory of God.