Today I am realizing that one of Gods greatest gifts to me has been the men who are leading my church. I am just overwhelmed by God’s grace in providing Elders to lead his church. They have been such great examples of what it looks like to be humble leaders and servant leaders, while at the same time fully exercising the authority God has given to them as leaders……. Just as The Lord Jesus did. There is something so profound about having Godly men in my life who have been so faithful in serving Jesus, their families, and our church. I trust them with every aspect of my life, even with the very breath in my lungs. I don’t trust them because they are perfect and without flaws, I trust them because they have given their lives to following a perfect God… the man Christ Jesus. I know that they care more about my well being, than I care about it myself at times. Their lives reflect nothing except for the fact that Jesus has saved them from their sins and because of Jesus saving grace they are compelled to live differently, to love differently, to no longer live for themselves, but to live for Christ. In the midst of celebrating the great things Jesus is doing in our church, they just keep boasting in the cross! In the midst of tough situations, sin, and conflict…. they just keep boasting in the cross! They just keep pointing to Jesus!! It is all about Jesus!! I am eternally grateful for the impact these men have had on my life and the life of those around me. I can’t help but follow them as they follow Jesus….. because it is Jesus I follow and it is Jesus I trust.

I want to encourage those of you in a church to submit yourselves to your Elders, serve them, and follow them as they follow Jesus. If your not in a church I want to encourage you to find one. I know there are many messed up churches out there but there is also no such thing as a perfect church. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. The Church belongs to Jesus, he loves his church, he died for his church, and the church is beautiful. There is simply nothing like it. If you need help finding a church I would love to help. If you have questions about church please don’t hesitate to ask me I would love to help in any way that I can.

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I wanted to share what the Lord taught me a few weeks ago when I arrived at the gym for my morning swim. Please give me lots of grace as I would like to be honest about the details of what happened and what He taught me. I hope you get a glimpse of Gods heart, his love, and his mercy.

As I walked to the pool, I got to the entry gate at the same time as another woman. Because of where the bars are located on the gate I couldn’t see her face. All I seen was her body from the neck down in a 2 piece bathing suit and it really threw me off. In my mind I immediately thought “wow this girl has an amazing body”. As I walked to the pool I was disgusted by my thoughts and couldn’t believe what had just happened.

As I began to swim the Lord began to show me the difference between love and lust. He played this lustful moment back in front of me, almost like I was watching a movie. I was completely disgusted by what went through my mind as I looked at her but I realized that as soon as I had walked away from the gate I had completely forgotten about her. He told me “That was lust not love”.

He began to teach me what love looks like. Jesus asked me, “Do you know how I know you love me?” He proceeds to tell me that he knows I love Him because when I encounter Him, I continue to think about him after I leave his presence. That I don’t just come to him when I want something, I just want him. And after I get what I was asking him for or spend time with him, I don’t walk away and forget about him. He reminds me how I wake up in the morning thinking about him, I think about Him all day long and I go to bed thinking about Him. I am in constant pursuit of Him and do everything I can to be in his presence daily. All I can think about is being with him. In those moments when I feel as though I am far from him all I can think about is how much I miss him and that I will do anything and everything to see his face and be near to him.

My hope and prayer is that I might love the things he loves. As my love deepens for the things he loves, I pray that my heart doesn’t lust after things that aren’t from him. My prayer is that my love for sin would decrease, and that my love for Jesus would increase. Im asking The Lord for a deeper love for his church and for his people. Not a love of what I can get from them, but a love for them because they are his. I want to see their value not in what I can get from them, but see their value in the great lengths by which Jesus went to save them…. death on a cross. I want to be so connected to him that my heart has no other options but to change. Not just for my heart to have a larger capacity to love, but for my heart to break for the things that break his. If The Lord blesses me with a wife I want to be so in love with her that she is the only woman I ever think about. Just like what The Lord told me earlier, I want to walk away from her and not be able to stop thinking about her for the rest of my life. When I see any other woman or think about another woman, I want to forget those lustful thoughts as fast as they came into my mind. Even though the condition of the church may be considered messy and full of sin, Christ loves his church and gave himself for her. Im asking The Lord to give me a love like that for my future wife, that despite all the sin, short comings, and failures that im sure will come in marriage… that I would give myself up for her. I know that I can’t do any of these things on my own. I need Jesus. Only he can do the things i’m asking him to do. I cant just work really hard at it and hope that it will all work out. I need Jesus. I am thankful for days like today where I can see a tangible work The Lord has done in my heart, but I know I have long way to go. I just refuse to not be near The Lord. I will keep praying everyday that The Lord would help me to love unconditionally, to have a soft heart, and that The Lord would prepare me for marriage. I will keep praying that he would hold onto me because I am prone to wander. I will keep praying that I would accept the love, the mercy and the grace that Jesus pours out onto my life every day. I just want more of Jesus.

I thought I had it all figured out

Posted: February 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

The last few weeks I have been in a place of a lot of uncertainty. Things that I have been so convinced of for years, are all of a sudden up in the air and I’m not used to it. During the last 3 years or so there hasn’t been many changes in my life. I’m at a church that I love, serving that church with all that is in me, working on my bachelors degree in business, finishing my theological training in Seattle, working a job that I enjoy, in a place I love and call home. Ive just had my head down working hard and taking care of business. I know Jesus has called me to do the things i’m doing and there is a deep joy in my heart doing the things I am doing. Yet out of nowhere, I find myself not being able to focus on anything. I haven’t had a good night sleep in weeks. Some nights laying in bed till 3am praying and processing through all the things going on in my head.

A conversation that shook me up
This all started when I met with a friend last month while I was in Seattle. He began asking me questions about my life, the things Jesus has called me to do, and what I am doing with the things Jesus is teaching me. Nothing out of the ordinary. This is a conversation people somewhat regularly have with me and I regularly have with others. But this time was different. I walked away from that conversation feeling shaken to the core. I wrestled with God that night, almost refusing to listen to him. I woke up the next morning anxious about everything, knowing that Jesus was stirring some things in my heart but I had no idea what was in store for the weeks to come. I didn’t have answers for anything, but knowing that I can trust Jesus and his word, I began digging into the scriptures.

“Rejoice in The Lord always; again I will say Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ” Philippians 4:4-7.

The struggle within
I have a type A personality, driven, striving to do my best at everything, with a plan for most of my life, both short term and long term. I have large dry erase boards covering one of the walls in my bedroom where I have things planned out, to-do lists, prayers, visions, and whatever else I feel the need to write down. I love structure. I plan everything and do it well. I find comfort in the fact that things usually don’t happen unexpectedly in my life because of my planning. So when all of a sudden Jesus shakes up my entire life, it takes a toll on me and doesn’t feel good. If I was honest, I would say that it hurts really bad, to the point that I find it hard to find joy in anything or even smile. The last 3 weeks have been really hard. Ive been reading God’s word, praying, and seeking advice from the Godly men in my life. Some days it’s helpful, most days it’s not helpful at all. Yet I had to keep pressing into The Lord because I know that I can trust him and him alone. I wanted to hear from The Lord, I wanted an exact plan for my life, and I wanted it now. I was left hearing nothing, except that all I needed to know is within pages of my bible.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

My sin
I am consciously aware of the fact that I am a control freak. It’s a sin that I have wrestled with for years and that I have to constantly repent of. Both towards Jesus and the people I’m closest to. I hate that this sin seems to loom over me in such a way that I have to regularly do an inventory of my life to be sure that I am not doing the things I want to do, instead of what Jesus wants me to do, and that I’m not doing things in my strength, but in his strength. I keep one of the dry erase boards on the wall of my bedroom blank. It’s a reminder that with even with all my planning, The Lord can change it all, even if it is The Lord who gave me the original plan. I need Jesus more than I need a plan. As much as I don’t like not having everything planned out, I have a bigger worry that i’m realizing is connected. One of my biggest fears is that I would someday find myself outside of the will of God. I think this fuels part of my desire to have a plan. In my mind, if I have a plan that The Lord has laid out in front of me, then I can follow the plan and this will keep me from falling outside of his will. The problem with me doing this is that it actually allows me to trust more in the plan, than in Jesus. I will find more comfort in the fact that my plan is going well, instead of finding my comfort in that I belong to Jesus and that I am his beloved son. Oh that I might trust in The Lord and have more faith in him.

“Trust in The Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” Proverbs 3:5-6

The Lord is faithful, even without an answer
I’ve been asking God lots of questions, but haven’t gotten any answers. I still have no idea what the future holds. Today I erased everything on my dry erase boards, except one that has the has the gospel on it because the gospel will never change. I actually have more questions today than I did 4 weeks ago when my friend began to pry into my life. The difference is that I am ok with not having any answers. A few nights ago a dear friend of mine unleashed a flurry of questions directed at my heart that could be summed up as, Matt will you trust The Lord? Every question he asked me was like an arrow at my heart…. Matt will you trust The Lord? Yes I will trust The Lord! I will trust The Lord because he is good. I will trust The Lord because he is a good father, a perfect father. I will trust him because of the great lengths he went to save me. I will trust him because he gave his life to pay the price for all of my sins. I will love him because he first loved me. If Jesus has called me to do certain things with my life, then he will surely bring those callings to fruition. If his purpose in saving me was to bring glory to his name, then he will surely use my life to bring glory to his name. I don’t have to worry about not having a plan. I need to trust Jesus. I don’t have to have everything figured out, I need to trust Jesus. My life doesn’t need to be crisis free, I need to trust Jesus. I don’t need an answer to my questions, I need to trust Jesus.

I prayed and asked The Lord to speak to me, and I heard nothing. I pursued the Godly men in my life for wisdom and direction, and they told me to trust The Lord. I opened the pages of my bible hoping to find a passage to give me direction, and I found nothing. Yet at the same time I found comfort in that The Lord was with me in prayer. I found comfort being lifted up in prayer by the Godly men in my life. I found comfort in reading Gods word, not because I found the answers to my questions, but because Gods word is alive and pointed me back to Jesus.

Friday night I had this overwhelming sense of Gods presence. I finally had my joy back. Not in my circumstances, but a joy in The Lord because I belong to him. All the worries had just melted away. I went to bed so full of the Spirit, without a worry in the world. I didn’t care about my questions, getting answers, or what I am suppose to do…… I trust The Lord. Then I woke up the next morning overwhelmed by his goodness and grace. Every time i looked at the words in my bible, I just cried. Every time I tried to pray, I just cried. I just cried and cried. Jesus blessed me with a picture of where I have been the last few weeks and where I am today. Not because he had too, but because he is good.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” Romans 15:13

Envision a large pile of stuff 100 feet high. Some of the stuff in the pile is from The Lord, some of the stuff is mine, some of the stuff is good but I don’t know where it came from, some of the stuff is me wanting things my way, some of it is just garbage. The last few weeks The Lord has been helping me sift through the pile and get rid of stuff. One item at a time. Now all that’s left in the pile are things from The Lord. I always knew the things from The Lord were in the pile but I couldn’t see them through all the other stuff. I can see The Lord clearer than ever, I can see his face, his callings in my life, the direction he is taking me, I can see my sin, I can see where I need to grow, and most of all I can see how much I need to trust him and how he can be trusted. The Lord showed me how it wasn’t just about seeing what he had for me, but it was more about the process of sifting through all the other stuff.

As hard as the last few weeks have been, I rejoice in them. Clearly I had some growing to do. Im excited about what The Lord has in store for me. Even if the dry erase boards stay blank……

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Discipleship

Posted: January 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

What is discipleship? Is it necessary? How do you get someone to disciple you? These are questions I have wrestled with for years. I can remember when I was 24, a brand new Christian, and I knew I had much to learn. I would look around at the older men in my church, just wishing I could get to know them and learn from them. I had so many questions about the bible, about dating, marriage, how I am suppose to live, and how to know Jesus more. I prayed everyday that Jesus would send a man who would pour into my life. Yet I found myself feeling frustrated and alone for a long time.

As I have been reflecting on some of these questions over the last few months I am seeing how my frustration of not being discipled, was actually the result of my own sin and the lack of my own pursuit of Jesus. As I think through when I felt like I was discipled well, and when I felt like I wasn’t being discipled at all, I kept coming to the same conclusions.

It was all about me
During the times when I felt like I wasn’t being discipled I was only concerned about my well being, what I wanted from others, and what I could get out of relationships with other people. Do you see the common theme? Me me me? As far as I was concerned the church was there to serve my needs, people were in the church to serve me, and Jesus had become my proverbial genie in a bottle where I would ask for all the things I wanted. And when I didn’t get what I wanted from the church, from people, and from Jesus, I was bitter and frustrated because I wasn’t getting what I wanted out my worship of me. I wasn’t serving others, I wasn’t serving in the church, and I didn’t concern myself with anything that I didn’t think would benefit me in some way.

Where was my pursuit of Jesus
As I reflect on the times when I felt that I wasn’t being discipled, one common theme appeared. My own personal pursuit of Jesus was non existent. Here I was wanting someone to disciple me in the ways of The Lord and invest in me, yet I wasn’t willing to put in any effort to knowing Jesus on my own. I was rarely reading my bible, prayer was just a time of asking Jesus for things, and I wasn’t serving the church and putting myself in a place to meet other Godly men. I wanted to be discipled on my terms, instead of on God’s terms. It sounds ridiculous right? I was so concerned about my own needs, yet I did nothing to contribute to the things I so badly wanted. So not only was I extremely self centered, I was lazy. I wanted others to do things for me that I wasn’t willing to do for myself and surely wouldn’t do for others. I was the biggest hinderance to my own personal growth and i’m sure I stunted the growth of those around me by my selfish way of life.

Discipled well
By God’s grace there have been many seasons where I have been discipled well and this has been the case for the last 2-3 years. There have been countless men who have invested years of their own lives to discipling me and investing in my future. They have shown me what it looks like to put others needs before their own, what it looks like to love their families well, what it looks like to sacrificially serve the church, and most importantly what it looks like to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Not only have I gleaned from their wisdom and seen them model how it is a Christian should live, but more importantly they have shown me what to do when I am wandering from The Lord and walking in sin, repent. I have seen them repent to their wives, repent to their children, repent to their communities, and repent to The Lord. I cant even begin to explain how much of a gift this has been to me.

But what was I doing during the time when I was being discipled well? What circumstance of my life was different when I was being discipled well versus when I felt I wasn’t being discipled well? Had Jesus left me to fend for myself and disciple myself during some seasons of my life and not others? Did the church fail to have a discipleship plan in place that would ensure I would be discipled? The answer is no.

First things first. I must first be a disciple of Jesus. Before I can be discipled by anyone, I must be a disciple of Jesus. Lets define a disciple of Jesus as, a person who is growing in their relationship with Jesus through time in the bible and in prayer with Him with a renewing of the mind and heart. During the times of when I have been discipled well I was reading my bible daily and I was giving myself to The Lord in prayer. Not just asking Jesus for things in prayer, but praying for Jesus people, praying for the needs of others, praying for those that don’t know Jesus, and praying for those who have no voice….. or in other words, praying for those who Jesus prayed for. As I was spending time in the bible and in prayer The Lord would convict me of sin in my life, he would lead me to repentance, he would break my heart for the things that break his, he would challenge the way I look at the world, and there would be a literal renewing of my mind and heart that compelled me to live differently. As I was reading and praying I began to see how incredibly sinful I am and I came to the realization that all I really know, is that I don’t know that much. This is where I pursued the men Jesus had placed in my life and discipleship occurred. As I was being discipled by Jesus and convicted by the Spirit that lives inside of me, I was discipled by those I was in community with as I shared with them what The Lord was doing in my own heart. Discipleship has to first start with Jesus.

Should the older men in the church pursue the younger men in the church to show them the ways of The Lord? Yes. Should younger men in the church find younger men than themselves and show them the ways of The Lord? Yes. It is clear in scripture that we should all be disciples, making disciples. But above and before everything… I must be a disciple of Jesus. Everything comes after that and flows out of that place as a disciple of Jesus. Man has nothing to offer me other other than to tell me about Jesus, to point me to Jesus, to preach the gospel to me, and call me to repentance in my sin against Jesus. I need Jesus! Im not saying that this is the only way discipleship should happen. But this is what it looked like for me. One thing I can tell you for sure though. Discipleship starts with being a disciple of Jesus. Thank you Daniel Garcia, Steve Zietlow, Matt Wallace, Tyson Loveless and John Corrigan. You and your wives have continually blessed me and poured into my life in so many ways. Thank you for pursuing me and letting me bring things to you that i’m wrestling with. Thank you for taking discipleship seriously, not just in discipling me, but letting me see you be a disciple of Jesus. Thank you for letting me see you humbly lead your family’s and our church. Thank you for letting me see you walk in repentance. Thank you for being a reflection of Jesus and always pointing me to Jesus. I am eternally grateful for all of you and for everyone else over the years who has poured into my life, prayed for me, and pointed me to Jesus.

I am a member of Mars Hill Church in Huntington Beach but live in Riverside. The church is about an hour drive and 45 miles away from my home. It is a far drive but I am certain that this is the church Jesus has called me to be part of. I have been there since the church launched 2 1/2 years ago and Jesus has been faithful in confirming that I am right where I am supposed to be over and over again.

Jesus was faithful in gathering a group of people at Mars Hill Church who all live in the Riverside area. We have been meeting as a community group for about 18 months and it has been so life giving. I can remember when the closest community group to my home was all the way in Fullerton and it was so difficult to be in community and really known by anyone. I thank God everyday for all of the people he has placed in my life and allowed me to live in community with. They have spoken into my life more times than I can count, they have given me great advice on singleness and dating, I have gleaned things from their marriages that have changed my life, and I have watched them parent their children with grace and love. Needless to say, the community that Jesus has put into my life has been one of the greatest gifts Jesus has ever given to me.

Our community has gotten to the point where we no longer fit in a living room and have been in need of a new location to meet. Another struggle we have had is the difficulty of being on mission where we live when our church is so far away. How can we be faithful to the mission Jesus has given to us in the bible, while living 45 miles away? As a community we began to pray and ask The Lord to give us direction and a vision for what we are to do.

Jesus gave us a vision that was huge and to be honest I don’t see how it can possible happen. Jesus put it in our hearts that we should be in downtown Riverside so that we could be in the community that we live in. Our prayer was that it would be a place that we would have opportunities to meet the people that work, live and hang out downtown. We want to build relationships with the business owners, be a blessing to them, and pray that their businesses flourish. We pray it would be a place where we could make disciples, train up new leaders, and send them out to plant new groups. Our biggest prayer is that people would meet Jesus.

Two weeks ago The Lord put it on my heart that it was time to go seek out a new location. I got to downtown Riverside at about 8 o’clock in the morning and spent the next 9 hours walking around praying for businesses, praying for people, talking with business owners, and seeking out a location for our group to meet. It was late in the day and I had no luck finding a location and was ready to give up for the day. I found myself joyful and not discouraged, but really wishing I had found a location. Just as I began to walk back to my truck I saw a building that I hadn’t gone inside of yet so I figured I would at least check it out.

The building is a huge 3 story 100 year old brick building where they rent out spaces for anything from art shows to quinceaneras. I knew it would be an expensive place to rent but it would be a perfect location. I went inside and talked to the property manager and as soon as I told him what I was looking for he jumped right up and told me he has the perfect space. The space is perfect! It is right on the corner with huge windows that open out to the street. We would have our own private entrance. But I knew we wouldn’t be able to afford it. Sure enough he told me the cost and there was no way we could afford it. I mean I was actually looking for a place for free! The rent was literally more than most peoples car payments. My heart literally dropped because I knew this space was perfect. He then proceeded to tell me that he would make me an awesome deal because he really wanted to give the space to us. Lets just say that he offered me the space at a small fraction of the normal cost! I couldn’t believe it!

Over the next two weeks I prayed everyday for the building. Then after talking it over with the other leaders in the Riverside group and our Pastor we agreed that the building is perfect and we were given the green light. I went back to the property on Tuesday to make sure the space was still available and it was! I started talking with the property manager and he was so excited I came back. Come to find out he and the owner of the building had been talking about how they wished a Christian group would rent out a space in the building. Apparently there are several different groups that use the building of all different religions, there is a gym in the basement, tenants live in studios upstairs, and tons of artists use the building for all kinds of different things. Well the management would love to see community and relationships between all the different people that use the building, which is the very thing we had been praying for! Then he offers to let us use their chairs, tables, kitchen, bottled water, and anything else they have for free! I just couldn’t believe all this was happening. Just as I was leaving the manager told me that he felt this was all meant to be, I agreed it was an answered prayer, and I pray he meets Jesus and sees that it was an answered prayer and not a great coincidence.

On Tuesday I signed a 6 month lease for our new building! It is located in the Life and Arts building on the corner of University and Lime. It is 1 block from the Mission Inn and 1 block from Main Street where there are plenty of places to eat and get coffee. We are on the second floor right in the corner space. Check out the pics at the bottom of this post. The address is 3485 University ave in Riverside. Everyone is welcome including kiddos. We will be meeting on Tuesday nights at 6:30 started in January. Typically we have a discussion about Sundays sermon and have time for prayer, but thats definitely not all we do. Its really whatever the Spirit leads us to do which could be a night of prayer, a night of worship, a discussion about who knows what, or going downtown and having dinner together. If you have any questions feel free to contact me about anything. Here is a brief explanation of what a community group is.

The easiest way I’ve found to describe what a community group is starts by sharing first what it isn’t.

1. We aren’t a Bible study. We love the Bible. We will study the Bible. We will share Scripture with each other and live by the Word. But a Bible Study is not what we are ultimately about.

2. We aren’t a fellowship group. We love to hang out as you can tell from the meal that we just shared. But fellowship is not what we are ultimately about.

3. We aren’t a care group. We care about each other. We will help each other walk through difficult times. We will counsel and love each other. But a care group is not what we are ultimately about.

4.  We aren’t a small group. This isn’t a logistical group designed so you can have “large” church on Sunday and attend “small” church during the week. It is nice to have a smaller group of people to connect with when being part of a large church like Mars Hill. But a small group is not what we are ultimately about.

So what are we about? We are here for Jesus. This group is a family that is centered around and focused on Jesus. We find our identities in Jesus. We worship Jesus with our all of our lives. We live in community around Jesus, and we are on mission to share the gospel of Jesus.

Therefore, we will ask hard questions of each other, love each other, laugh with each other, and push each other to be closer to Jesus. A community group is a family that is all about Jesus.

Please join me in prayer. Pray we build relationships with the people in the building. Pray we would build relationships with the nearby relationships. Pray that this would be a location where people meet Jesus and become disciples of Jesus.

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A tidbit from the book of James

Posted: October 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

When I think about how I respond to people sharing their hardships, struggles and life circumstances. I’m realizing the importance of giving the gospel and through the lens of the cross. When I share wisdom I think I may have, based on what I have experienced in life or in the things I think I have learned, it just points to me, not to Jesus. Everything should always point to Jesus. When I try to share my own wisdom I am doing a horrible job of serving the people around me. I am not actually trying to help, I’m trying to sound wise and make much of myself. When I don’t give the gospel, I’m basically telling Jesus that what He did on the cross wasn’t sufficient and that I need to add to it, then it will be good enough to help a person in their hardship or in the situation in which they are seeking counsel. When I fail to share the gospel I am just revealing the jealousy and selfish ambition that exists in my heart. Wisdom that doesn’t come from the Lord is unspiritual and demonic. It causes disorder and every vile practice. Every day I’m realizing more and more, that all I know is that I really don’t know that much. But I know the gospel. Oh Lord let it be the only thing that comes out of my heart and out of my mouth. Not just in when I am speaking to others but when I am speaking to myself. 

James 3:13-18

My life flipped upside down

Posted: August 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

I am taking a Re:train class on discipleship and it has really turned every part of my life upside down. I have heard what was taught in the class many times from reading Resurgence books, listening to sermons and being part of the leadership team at Mars Hill Church. I came into the class knowing I was going to be challenged but I thought it would be in small ways that would help me “clean up the tough edges” or be a good refresher. Yet I found myself convicted the entire week and since I have been back home it seems that all i’ve been doing is repenting to Jesus, repenting to those I serve along side, and I still have several people I need to repent to.

I love Jesus and I love people. I love those in the church and those outside the church. I love spending time with people, getting to know people at the deepest level, and I love to be known by others. Yet I have failed miserably to be in relationships with others and be known by more than a few men. I have taken on so many responsibilities in the church, on top of my normal job, on top of taking care of my family, that I have left most relationships just hanging on by a thread. I am convicted of how I only spend time with my family if they let me know they are getting together far enough in advance that I can fit them into my calendar. I am convicted of how I am training my apprentices off of a to do list by giving them tasks without investing into my relationship with them. I am convicted of how I coach the community group leaders that I lead by just being there for them when they need me or when we are having a meeting, instead of coaching them through a healthy relationship where we are making spiritual deposits to one another in love. I am convicted of the lack of quality alone time I spend with Jesus. I have been so busy the last few months that everything has become a to-do list. I have been leading in my own strength for far to long. Instead of doing things with God, I have been doing things for God.

Since I returned home two weeks ago I have handed off some of my responsibilities and I am in the process of straightening out my priorities. This of course started off by spending quality time in my prayer closet talking to Jesus and its been so life giving. By God’s grace Jesus has been faithful in his pursuit of my heart when I wasn’t pursuing his, He was faithful in pouring out his grace on my life when I wasn’t giving much grace to others, and He was faithful in making disciples when I wasn’t being a very good disciple.

I am blown away by the grace of God in my life. I will never understand why a perfect and all knowing God would save someone like me but I know a gift when I see one. I know it’s a gift because I did nothing to earn the right to be called a son of God, I did nothing to be deserving of his love, and I did nothing to deserve the gift of getting to spend eternity in heaven with Jesus. Thank you Jesus for your love and kindness. Thank you Jesus for your faithfulness and steadfastness. Thank you Jesus for bringing me out of the darkness and into the light. Thank you Jesus for saving me and giving me a new life.