Wednesday, October 30, 2019

the Goodness of God

Hi guys. I'm back. At least for today.

I have been feeling a nudge to write again. My days are full, my nights are short, and I will struggle to write on a consistent basis (let alone to the degree of excellence to which I aspire). But God's goodness will permeate it all, just as He has done in the past.

Why now? I'm not sure. I documented our building process to a certain degree, but I suppose I need to post some updates on how we are living in the new house. I hope to do that, but that's not the direction in which I feel the nudging.

God is good. That's the declaration on my heart and in my life, and I aim to point you toward that understanding, too. The past several months God has been reminding me of His goodness. The ways He has provided for us. The ways He has given us seemingly unattainable dreams and then allowed us to watch them come to life. The ways we have prayed for our kids and then heard someone provide a report of their actions that tells us clearly that God is answering our prayers. His goodness is clearly defined in our lives, even when it wasn't explicitly clear to us at the time. 

If I think of everything altogether, it's almost too much. The way He's in the details and uses those details to interweave our dreams and His plans and our heartaches and His heart for us. We have had the privilege of a front row seat to the unfolding of His plans. In those moments of watching, we hardly recognized the unfolding, but lately as we have been recounting the past with friends, it's been blatantly clear that our past "unattainable" dreams are now nearly tangible. We see that He has laid plans in motion to realize those dreams, dreams that He obviously laid on our hearts in the first place.

I'll drop one very short example here. About four years ago when  our church was in the embryonic stage (with about 125 members and without a building), Brad and I travelled to Austin, Texas, to meet with leaders at The Austin Stone Community Church. The Austin Stone has some pretty amazing ministries happening, one of which is For the City, which equips people to serve the broken and restore the city, physically and spiritually. We both knew it was something we wanted our church to be about and something we knew our people would want to be about.

God whispered to us that this was something we had permission to dream about. We spent hours throwing out ideas of how this could work in Springfun, MO, ways our church could best serve our city, and logistics of getting something like it up and running (a large feat, to say the least, particularly considering we didn't even have a church building or a staff).

(Insert almost four years, a wide range of community leaders and influencers who have gotten behind the vision, donations of ALL kinds--from HUGE to small but mighty--to help finance the dream, and tons of support from the church and leadership...these were all obviously well-planned details in God's design and further revelations of His goodness.)

Currently our church plant, which is three years old with approximately 700 regular attendees, is in the process of creating a "For the City Center." We have logistics in place, and we've bought property on which to build. Developers are helping church leaders create a multi-use building that can house nonprofits, host fundraisers, serve as a meeting spot for volunteers, house our church family for weekly gatherings, and meet a variety of other community-focused needs. We are hopeful it can be a liaison between our community and our church, and we pray God uses it for the restoration of our city and souls.

God is good, and He continues to make His goodness known and real in my life. I may well have missed the realization of His goodness and His ability to show up in the details if not for great talks with friends and further reflection on how He worked out great details with excellent precision. If you're not in talks with friends about how God has shown up in your life, I highly encourage you to dig into it. It is good.

(This is an abbreviated version of the story of For the City Center. I hope to be back soonish to continue expounding on this.)