Ok, let me begin with a brief note of clarification in light of the load of emails I've received the last couple of days. I intentionally took my blog off-line on Sunday with every intention my next post would be a fond farewell to blogging. Honestly, with my Mom here over Christmas break, writing here had taken a backseat on my priority list.
I found that lessened demand to be refreshing.
Next month will mark four years since the birth of my blog. I began blogging because, well, everybody was doing it. I've tried to maintain a five-day a week commitment here without recycling a lot of sermons and class content for the benefit of those who hear it live and don't want reruns. However, being alert to constantly fresh insights five days a week, while teaching four times a week, while striving to be a good husband and father, in addition to grad schooling has been a bit taxing.
Because of your emails and kind words, I've reconsidered and decided to maintain my blog. I've discovered that it does provide a blessing for some I never realized. However, I'm not promising new stuff here on a daily basis as I've tried to do in the past. I'll blog occasionally, as things arise that I believe might encourage you.
As for the ministry at Woodward Park, we have launched into the next five years with a Vision and a Dream for the Kingdom of God in Fresno. Today, that dream and its accompanying picture of what the Woodward Park church can become by January 5, 2014 excites me. God has placed on the heart of His people at Woodward Park an ambitious dream -- a dream that follows the outline of Acts 1.8 and the mission-endorsed strategy of Jesus to begin at home in reaching the world with the good news. It is a dream that involves equipping disciples of Jesus within the current membership, training young people through a West Coast-branch of Adventures in Mission in the diverse laboratory of Fresno, and providing satellite-delivery of Spanish-language Preacher Training to Woodward Park. The dream that "The Woodward Park Church of Christ will become a family of disciples of Jesus, united in faith, hope, and love and, beginning at home, will win the world for Christ" is the dream that drives me from January 1, 2009 forward!
That dream, along with the commitment to further development my own ministry through graduate schooling (this spring, two courses with a 224-hour commitment as opposed to the fall's one course with an 86-hour commitment), and the opportunities afforded me as a dad and father to win the world for Christ, beginning in my own home, means this blog will now be a secondary commitment in my life and ministry.
Thanks for your emails, your encouragement, your love and your support. Now, I covet your prayers -- not only for me and my family but for the ministry of the Woodward Park church. Pray that the dream God has put on our heart for the sake of His Kingdom in Fresno, the San Joaquin Valley, the state of California, and the ends of the earth will find His full blessing. We're envisioning together, as one family, a dream that's bigger than our own resources. But those are the dreams that God seems to relish -- the dreams by which God does His best work. I ask that you, my friend, whether in Fresno or far away, will join me in praying daily that we, God's people, will be faithful to join God in what He is doing in our city, our county, our region, our state and our world.
Happy New Year!