|My beautiful bride (Kaylee) and I. I believe I'm on the left.|
"Nehemiah said, 'Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks,
and send some to those who have nothing prepared.
This day is holy to our Lord.
Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.'"
Nehemiah 8:10 (NIV)
[This verse was shared with Kaylee and I by my friend
and mentor, Brandon, during our wedding ceremony]
I've had quite the time over the last several weeks!
As many of you know, I got married on June 19th. The season of wedding planning and entering marriage has brought a lot of notable things with it.
Celebration and Thanksgiving
This has been such a good time to see all of the ways that God has been good to Kaylee and I. To look around while at our wedding was to see the countless blessings God has given me.
My groomsmen represented the ways that God has provided me with godly, caring friends throughout every course of my life.
Our officiant, Brandon, represented how God has provided me with mentors who push me towards God and are willing to believe in me enough to entrust me with responsibilities in ministry.
The front rows represented the godly family members in my life whose loving presence and consistent generosity have shaped me into the person I am and provided for my needs as I focus on ministry.
The rows of people represented so many friends and family who have changed my life, and who- somehow- God has used Kaylee and I to show His character to in some way or another.
There is something powerful to celebrating God's blessings! I didn't really do anything to deserve so many godly, caring, fun, generous friends and family members.
My heart has been overwhelmed on an almost daily basis with awe and thankfulness to God, and to countless people who have blessed me on my journey through life so far.
If you're reading this, I want to say: thank you so much!
Foundations in Marriage
One thing that I've encountered over the last 10 days or so is the extent to which I'm in a season of setting foundations for years to come. Transitional periods are so important in this way.
In short, Kaylee and I are learning what it means to become one flesh while continuing to become more centered on Jesus and dedicated to serving others.
- One flesh- There's something powerful just about sharing things with someone. We're in the same space together, we're sleeping in the same bed, we're merging bank accounts, merging insurance plans, we're sharing food with one another, and we're learning how much we affect one another's lives and callings
- Centered on Jesus- The first day after Kaylee and I arrived back home from our honeymoon, I found myself completely crashing in terms of mental energy and overall ability to function well. I took a break to be alone with God (journal in hand), and He essentially told me that He was disciplining me as a reminder to build upon the foundation of Him. I hadn't been seeking God much over the last few days of honeymooning and since arriving back home, and God was showing me how true the words of John 15 are: "apart from me you can do nothing." After spending time with Him, my mental energy immediately returned, and I was able to go back to helping Kaylee with setting our apartment up.
- Dedicated to serving others- It's already evident to us how easy it will be to simply retreat into one another, shrinking back from meaningful friendship and service. We want to grow up as a couple in community, seeking to be a greater force for the Kingdom than we were before.
Foundations in Ministry
I also find myself in the midst of a season of foundation-laying as a pastor.
The summer brings with it the chance to lay a few kinds of foundations.
- Foundations for leadership- We are in the process of thinking through student leaders for the upcoming school year (which is less than two months away!). We are also planning for the first Student Institute of Campus Ministry (SICM) to take place in Texas. This will involve a full week of training students in how to be missionaries and disciple-makers on their campuses.
- Foundations for ministry partners- The summer is also a time of the year in which we are laying the foundations for our ministry partner teams- people who will support FOCUS pastors in the mission to make and mature disciples on college campuses through their prayer and financial donations, both of which are vital and appreciated
- Please be praying for our staff and our incoming apprentices to be able to reach their goals in fundraising, and to trust that what God provides will be enough
- Pray for our students to continue to embrace community, prayer, and Scripture so that they can come back to school more centered on God and filled with His heart for their campuses