This was a big year for my family. God was so good to us this year and has blessed us in so many ways. I wanted to go through a couple of those big things and share it with my blogging world.
1. Marriage. This past year God really did a miracle in our marriage. Beth and I have grown to love each other much deeper. In late 2007 I confessed some things from my past to Beth that I very much regretted. Although that was hard, God did a miracle through it and we are closer than ever. Sin separates! That is just the facts. When sin enters the marriage you will automatically be separate, just as it does with our relationship with the Lord. Since my sin was from before we were married, I never was one with Beth the way that God intended. In 2008 we were able to achieve that oneness through confession, repentance, and forgiveness. I love my bride deeply and I am the man I am today because she pushes me to be there.
2. Babies in Heaven. As most of you know, we have 3 beautiful children; all of which were unplanned by Beth and I. This year we decided that we were going to go for #4. We were very excited. We went on a cruise in March and began trying (that was fun, I recommend it for married people) Sure enough I shot for the stars and hit; she got pregnant. A few weeks into the pregnancy Beth began to have cramping and bleeding. Next thing we knew, she had a miscarriage. This was odd because that never happened before. The one time we try and she has a miscarriage! So, the Dr told us to wait 2 months and we could try again. So, we did. Again we started trying for another baby (fun fun fun) and another direct hit. This time the pregnancy lasted a few weeks more than the previous but with the same outcome. It was a very hard time for Beth and I. Although we knew that God was in full control, we were confused to say the least.
Now Beth is almost 4 months along and it looks like we'll be having a healthy baby in 2009.
3. Walk with the Lord. This year I made a strong effort to do 2 thing. 1. Have a meaningful time with the Lord everyday and 2. get into the Word everyday. Although there were some days that I missed, I absolutely fell in love with my Bible and my time with the Lord like never before. I have learned how to hear the voice of God and God has spoken to me more clearly this year than ever before. I know how to study my bible and have a heart to know God rather than religious practice. I know more scripture than ever before and it has changed my life.
4. Transition from OFY. As God began to burden me more and more about our church plant, he also began to transition me out of OFY (youth group) in order to have more of a focus. While doing this, God also raised up some other great leaders that are serving Frank in ways that I was never able to because of my schedule. It is a testimony of God's absolute control over his Kingdom. OFY is now literally on fire for God. I have never seen a group of kids on such a rebellious pursuit of God. It convicts me with how much faith these kids have. I remember the day that God transition me out. Frank and I were set to meet at Panera Bread and I was going to tell him that God was transitioning me out. It was just after the Catalyst Conference. Well about 10 minutes into the conversation, Frank told me that he felt that God was transitioning me out. I didn't even have to say anything. It was awesome and totally God.
5. Church Plant. In 2008, God absolutely confirmed in me that we are to move to Boston to plant. All of the people who I consider spiritual leaders over me have confirmed it. God has spoken to both Beth and I about this. God has already begun to build a team. We are out of all consumer debt and have money in savings. Someone has donated to our church plant already. The stories can go on and on and on. It truly is amazing. I am at the end of the Acts 29 process, Daystar has agreed to sponsor us, we have all of our Brochure info ready, logo done, and are close to a website.
6. Work. This year I have been so blessed at work. I closed my first $1,000,000 deal. I hit my goal again this year even with all of the economic trouble that we are seeing. I have favor in the eyes of my leadership at work and have been given more responsibility. Also, this enabled Beth and I to give more than ever before and get ourselves of a lot of debt.
7. Kids. My kids are the joy of my life. I love them to death. This year Daniel has gone from a toddler to a young boy. He is a total dude. He loves fighting, dirt, peeing outside, sports and I even caught him glancing a some girls this year at his basketball practice. Although only 5 the boy prays like a theologian, knows more scripture than most evangelicals and truly has a heart for God. Just the other day he was telling me about how he was telling a friend about Jesus at school because they were acting bad. haha....That's Kinda fundamental. He also calls himself a "Mighty Man of God"
Abby is still a princess. She cries if we put her in pants, she is very sassy, but tender hearted and sensitive. The girl can eat like a horse although she's the same size as Ella who is 2 years younger. Abby is totally convinced that she is going to marry me. I tell her all the time that I am already married to her mommy but she wont buy it. In her eyes we're married. I guess that's OK for now. Abby called herself a "Beautiful Women "OF" God" with a major emphasis on "OF" not sure why that is, but whatever.
Now, Ella and I got to know each other this year. When she was breastfeeding, she wanted nothing to do with me. Now she wakes up every morning yelling DADDY. Its very cute. That girl has grown like crazy. She loves to wrestle with me, jump on my belly and have me tickle her until she cries, haha. She always comes running back for more.
8. Theology and Doctrine. I am by no means a theologian or doctrine expert but I will say this. God has given me a deeper understanding of who he is. In Ephesians 1 Paul writes that we should have a Spirit of Knowledge and Wisdom. This year I have read more books and studied more than probably ever year of my life combined and I am not even in school. I have a room in our house dedicated to study and prayer. I have literally become a student. I read often and am constantly downloading seminary podcasts and learning on my own. I look forward to getting back into school part time to began to have more of a focus in my studies. Who would ever have though I would like to go back to school. OMG.
9. Influence. This year I have had more influence in the lives of other people than ever before. I have seen people come to Christ through relationships and conversations I have been engaged in. God has given me words for people that have been right on. I am constantly learning what it means to live missionally in my world and how to have influence in the lives of other people. In no way am I there, but I am a student of this. I have done this at work, the gym, church world, and with random people. To God be the Glory in this. I do not want to boast in this because I know it is just the progressive work of the Lord, however I am very thankful.