ok, where have I been

Its been a long time. A year since a genuinely written post.  My reason is singular… true weakness, wherein God enables us to boast in his strength, doesn’t lend itself well to talking much, or writing.

Ironically, in the silence, I have come to believe much of what I have written about in the past – that I am not a strong Christian, but that I am a student, teacher and preacher of a strong gospel that I have only ever known or wanted to know in the depth of my weaknesses.

Now, I will write again.  I will reflect again.  It will be much shorter, much less performance.

May my writing about your/my struggles in a broken world of pain  – and the necessity of our turning to a strong gospel in the wilderness – not be a pursuit of experiencing some … err … cathartic literary strength.  No more.

Check back.  I will write more.  I needed to walk away to walk back.

I needed to walk into the weaknesses of my life, into the weaknesses of the church I pastor, into the weaknesses of my family in this materialistic, obsessive, lustful culture.  And when I did, I found that true weakness sobers.  But apparently that shouldn’t silence ones calling so much as solidify it.  Sobriety is the only angle from which to really speak about weakness and the renewing strength of the gospel.  As Paul said to Timothy:

The time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

So apparently sobriety, suffering and a messy familial and pastoral ministry is the look of God’s renewal in this broken world; that is, until sobriety is replaced with shouting when all has been made new and totally RIGHT by God the Father, Son and Holy Spirt.

Yeah.  That’s a bit more honest than some winsome wordiness about weakness.

So maybe we should talk about it again…

 

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The weak, the strong, the right, the wrong

Kori and I are being discipled by the gospel (through Sonship, with one of our wvpc elders and his wife).

Todays glorious reminder:

The great paradox of the kingdom concerns the weak, strong, right, and wrong.  The paradox is this: Those who are strong and right are weak and wrong.  And those who are weak and wrong are right and strong.  What does this mean?  There are two great drives in our hearts: the one to be strong, the other to be right…

Nevertheless, as we place ourselves in the position of strength and righteousness, we are actually distancing ourselves from grace and from the Spirit’s power in our lives – for Jesus tells us that his power is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9).  By taking the position of being right and strong, we also distance ourselves from other people, especially those close to us.

O so true.  O so much struggle I experience and see in others precisely due to family, interpersonal power-struggles and self-righteous defenses. God make us pliable and soft and aware of how Jesus’ righteousness is given us in the gospel!  Why do I have to be right in any argument, as regards any issue or conviction?  God make us pliable and soft and aware of how Jesus’ resurrection power is promised us in the gospel!  Why do I scratch and claw through a difficult world on my own strength?

Thankful for Jesus!

Hebrews 10:14 – [my translation] In Christ and by his single, perfect sacrifice, God is perfecting forever those whom he is now making holy.

In other words, those who are forever righteous in Christ GET to see and savor and believe it  through the struggle of denying our own deceitful and nonexistent righteousness and strength which propels us to look to him.  Beautiful gospel.

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two posts, two days… what’s going on!

I wanted to drop another post in the post-box.  Not that I have time to be doing this, but…

In working on my exposition (sermon) this week, I have wrestled with Colossians 1:24-2:5.  It has been exactly  that… a laborious, agonizing prep time.  Some weeks are like this.  I am thankful for the struggle, especially when the text from which I am preaching is about the struggle!  Agonizing to get the fulness of the Word right so as to present people mature in Christ!  So… this week, as I was exposed to the Word – then exposed to myself – then to the gospel for myself… I got a bit poetic.  This never happens.  I am a prose guy who writes with two many fragments and not sentences.  Really.  Oh, and I don’t know how to write poetry.  Apparently there are no rules to it (sentence fragment duly noted).

Here you go – from Colossians 1:24-2:5

the Word is the mystery

the mystery is Christ

(and yet there is more)

Christ is the hope of glory

in you.

___

in the Word I rejoice

for the mystery I struggle

(yet I wish I did more)

Still this is my stewardship

for you.

___

to complete what is lacking, seriously… lacking?

to rejoice in suffering, seriously … suffering?

(I need to know more)

this is a mystery

to me.

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Death by Suburb, David Goetz

I am reading a provocative and – so far – impressionable book.  Death by Suburb: How to keep the suburbs from killing your soul, by David Goetz.

It has more than a modicum of crossroads in my life.

In his second chapter, Goetz addresses the suburban “environmental toxin” (to my soul, that is) of CONTROL… the thought that I am in control of my life.  He proposes the simple spiritual practice of SILENCE/SOLITUDE as the challenger to self-sovereignty.  This is something I struggle with.  Constant activity which churns in tandem with my delusion of constant control.  According to Goetz, it is frivolous to fight our control-addiction by trying to control it! Try solitude.  Try nothing.  Stop.

You can’t live the deeper life and the busy life.  You get one but not the other. p.25

The deeper spiritual life is never a direct route.  If it were, religion in the suburbs would be the fast track to the Godhead.  In the toxic dump of efficiency and control, the first act must be countercultural – a decision not to act.  p.26

While outdoor solitude is a premium, it is not necessary for learning to uncover eternity in the ordinary… For spiritual development and entrance into the thicker, more reflective life, solitude is more inside space than outside space.  p.31

The life practice of solitude, then, is the opposite of my expectations of escape and rest or an immediate ushering into what I think is God’s presence.  It is more a discipline of struggle than it is of serenity.  It’s no formula for controlling my outer world or how I feel.  It’s the ongoing guerrilla war to loosen my choke hold on creating and gathering to myself the life I think I need.  I don’t pursue giving up control; I pursue the practice of solitude.  p.33

Goetz quotes Henri Nouwen:

It’s not easy to sit and trust that in solitude God will speak to you – not as a magical voice but that he will let you know something gradually over the years.

To which I echo Goetz: “It’s the ‘over the years’ part that bothers me.

Believe it or not, before I posted this blog, I worked to sit in silence for 5 minutes.  5 minutes.  To stop controlling my schedule.  My to-do list.  My day.  My time.  I tried.  God’s 5 minutes.  His voice.  His Word (if he prompted me to turn to it.)  And its not that I don’t read, or study or pray as a regular spiritual discipline.  I have hours of concentrated ‘devotion’ each week.  It’s just that even in doing said things… I am rarely stopping.  Rarely still.  Rarely under the control of quiet.  There is a difference, I am finding.

I’m not much good at this solitude thing.  I guess I have control issues.

Lord, help me to know you here.  In the suburbs… at a different pace that sees you, and changes me.  You the sovereign king of the suburbs.   You put me here.  You are here.  Help me sit and see and savor and so move into this place knowing you… under your control.

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still here

We are still here… no blogs of late.  My apologies.  Too many hours away from home as it is.

God is doing an amazing work in my heart, in the lives my children, in the eyes of my wife, and in the congregation that God has called us to serve.  Times they are a changing and they are a crazy.

Sunday we had more folks at WVPC than ever before, and we are praying for wisdom.  We are cramming people into a space that doesn’t fit us.  We are seeking wisdom on facility mayhem.  We are praying for small groups that are forming, for discipleship relationships that are beginning, for broken people who are hurting, and for both the comforting and exposing AFFECT of the saturating Word of God -in all whom we engage!  I am preaching through Colossians.   We are having membership classes.  We have transitioned into year numero two – budgeting, leadership training, etc.  We are out hosting community events.  I think the buzz is contageous.  Acts 2 tells us so!

O God have mercy.  We are in over our head.

As I told our congregation at our annual meeting on Sunday – I believe they are crazy for following a 31 year old.  Someone said: Jesus was only 33.  To which I replied: no one here actually knows how badly I need Jesus.

I do.  Jesus Christ, thank you for rescuing me from sin.  Covering me with righteousness.  Giving me your Word.  Implanting your Spirit.  Being my Wisdom from God that appears foolish to the world.  For letting me fail time and again so that I can meet my need for you face to face.  thought to thought. 

O God, draw people into your midst in all churches that declare your gospel for the glory of Christ.  Do it at West Valley.  Bring your kingdom to earth as it is in heaven – by your people declaring your Word and embodying your resurrection power in a spirit of humility and weakness.  The powerful work, then, is all yours for your namesake.  Amen.

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paul tripp, broken down house

If you are a Paul Tripp reader/listener/student.  My guess is that you are growing in the gospel.

Thank you Paul Tripp for so enjoyably and refreshingly engaging my worldview with the same worldview I think I know from the WORD, only it sounds better, bigger, and truer.  We believe that God is renovating the broken world around us and in us… that is all we talk about inside and outside of our church.  It is the confidence with which we preach, do discipleship, small groups, etc.  And we see SOOO much of it – brokenness in believers and unbelievers.  Paul Tripp’s picture of that same worldview where Christ is coming to set up his kingdom of RESTORATION to this BROKEN WORLD is helpful and keen.  Our days under the sun – well, they feel like vanity of vanities, because it is like living in a home that is broken down and amidst renovation.  Is there anything worse than living in a transitioning home?  Dust.  Danger.  Annoyance.  Everything is different in remodel-land.

O God make us productive in this world – partners in your remodel and restoration of Creation – and not just passive survivors.  Read below (in this case he is talking about WEAKNESS) and grow in the gospel…

You cannot release yourself or your surroundings from the affects of the Fall.  You cannot assure that your body will be free of disease and sickness.  You cannot independently free yourself or another from sin.  You cannot reach in and alter the content of your own heart, let alone the heart of another.  You cannot plant faith, courage, and hope into the soul of another person.  You cannot assure that your government will have integrity and that your community will be safe.  You cannot make your acquaintances respect you, and you cannot assure that your family members will treat you with love.  You cannot keep yourself free from natural and environmental disaster.  You cannot control the economic environment… Ou cannot lay out a personal life plan and know it will unfold without interruption.  You cannot assure that your life will be easy and satisfying.

When you stop and look, you are faced with your smallness, your weakness, and your limits.  But don’t get discouraged and don’t panic; reality is a healthy place to be. Think about it.  Only when I humbly embrace my weakness, humbly admit my limits, and humbly recognize how small I actually am, can I begin to reach out for the help of a loving, powerful, and gracious Redeemer who is the true source of my strength, wisdom, and hope.  Only then can I begin to function as an instrument in his powerful hands, rather than being in his way, because in forgetting who I am and who he is, I have been trying to do his job. (Paul David Tripp, Broken-Down House – Living Productively in a World Gone Bad, Shepherd Press, 2009)

Yep.  God can do his RENOVATING job in/through/with me and you.  But it will never be our job.  Just CANNOT be.

Thanks Paul Tripp.  Glad to be close to Philly.  Gospel for weak and renovated people by osmosis.  You’re welcome to come and visit our broken-down house of a Gospel-Growing church plant any day you’d like!

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west valley pca prayer update – september 2009

blog checkers, below is the prayerletter for West Valley PCA, where i am growing up as the planting pastor of a church that God has richly blessed in both exposure to his glory/goodness and exposure to our need/sin/dependence.  Would you pray  for us?
______

September 2009

“Jim, do you think I’ve made enough progress in my journey to join the church and receive communion?”

It’s not about progress. It’s about righteousness from God given to you in Christ.

“It just sounds too free. I must be missing something. It can’t be a free pass.”

It is.

“But what is to keep me from living however I want?”

Now I think you understand grace.

“Can I still wrestle with my questions?”

A man once said to Jesus, I believe, help my unbelief.

“Sounds like me.”

__

“Jim, can you recommend the names of some biblical counselors?”

For a friend, or for you?

“For us. I think we need some deconstruction and rebuilding our marriage on the gospel.”

__

“Jim, someone just came into church. He wants to see you.”

Jeff, is that you?

“Yeah, its me. How do I look?! I’ve been clean for 90 days, since the trip to the hospital. Like my new glasses?”

You look great Jeff! Like the man of the tombs resurrected. Where are you living?

“Still at the homeless shelter.”

The above fragments answer the question: What is church planting like? Maybe you’re not asking that question. But I did. Almost every day (before we started) I asked myself: What will it be like? Sure, it will be like vision casting, like demographic and sociographic research, like searching for a facility, organizing teams, setting up a unique historic-indigenous worship service, preparing contextualized sermons, marketing and praying and networking in our community. It will be like trying to learn how to lead a group of gifted and diverse people. It will be vision REcasting again and again. It will be like small group formation over and over! It will be like setting up of an office – with all the administrative hoopla.

It has been all that. BUT.

More than anything church planting has been an exercise in repentance and faith – realizing and repenting of my duplicitous fear-of-incompetence which somehow manages to coexist with excessive-self-reliance. It has become a daily exercise to believe in the glory of God to rescue sinners not once at their conversion, but daily in innumerable ways according to his sovereign mercy that is ALWAYS undeserved. That’s the gospel! It has been the complicated world of trusting the Spirit to restore marriages, to rehabilitate the homeless and addicted to a place of sobriety (even in the suburbs). It has been the pleasurable discovery that God is at work breaking the calcified in his church, and rebuilding the contrite. It has been the experience of watching an intellectual skeptic bow the knee to Jesus Christ in the most existential of experiences – his Creator’s converting his heart!

What am I saying? I think I am saying that church-planting has been like… well, church. In a sense, I am coming to believe that we are not a church-plant, but the CHURCH in fullness (just recently planted)! As I leaf through the pages of Acts, for the first time I am recognizing a connection between my world and that of Philippi, or Thessalonica, or wherever. This summer I have preached through the Acts of the Apostles (aka- the Acts of the Spirit) and we have discovered an uncanny connection to kingdom/church then and now. We have asked the Lord with expectation to define our experiences like THAT… that church in that day with that God!

Robert Coleman, in his work The Master Plan of Discipleship writes:

Getting into the book of Acts is like opening a window in a stuffy room. The wind of the Spirit blows through it. HERE IS REALITY. Feeling its emerging freshness, we should neither try to excuse our spiritual ineptness, nor relegate its vitality to a bygone era. The apostolic church, not the prevailing mediocrity of our religious community, sets the norm. Where we perceive our shortcomings, in all honesty, we should seek to bring our lives into conformity to the New Testament standard.

Is it happening? I think so. I need so. I want so. I surrender so. I pray so. I die so. Whatever church planting is… whatever the stories above are… I can’t help but think that, well – we’re a church now. HERE IS REALITY.

at home: Please praise God with us for our family growth and maturity that coincides with his work at West Valley. By God’s grace (and ashamedly for the first time in my life), I want to lay my life down over and over and over for the love and beauty of Kori. Then the kids. I want to do it more today than yesterday. Through a painful and disciplinary year of trials and ‘ministry’, the Lord has brought his kingdom of righteousness and mercy to a home that I had subliminally and self-righteously pervaded with gospel-less standards of performance and happiness. HERE IS REALITY.

On the homefront, please pray for our homeschooling of Lina and Meggie’s adjustment to Kindergarten in our local school district. Pray for Nate as the footprint of the “torNATEo” is expanding as he grows and participates in family! Pray for Kori to find an excellent set of ear plugs, as she needs the quiet moments to be the strategic and beautiful gospel-loving mom that she is.

at church: For West Valley, pray for our continued facility needs, for the establishment of discipleship and digestion strategies (i.e. small groups and theological/worldview training), for staffing considerations (sounding way ahead of myself, I know – but as we grow, this is REALITY!) and for a sacrificial conformity to the norm of the early church!

Even more, please pray for our financial situation, as the Lord has seen fit to grow the church numerically in a way that has increased our expenses above our income. I have been commissioned by our session to seek to raise Twenty-Thousand dollars, Lord willing, to supplement ministry and vision. Would you prayerfully consider partnering with us and/or honoring any pledges you may have made in 2008? We are at a key phase of ministry and identity confirmation, and we need the resources to grow into what we are – a Jesus Christ celebrating, culture engaging, brokenness renovating, gospel declaring, community invading church! HERE IS REALITY.

Much love to you all, and may Christ expose your REALITY and need for his mercy! -jim

Should you desire, please contact me at jim@westvalleypres.org and/or send any gifts to West Valley Presbyterian Church, 326 Main Street, Suite 1 – Emmaus PA 18049. All gifts will be tax-deduct and a year end statement will be provided.

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a word-picture that resonantes

The quote below resonates powerfully with my considerations as a church planting pastor. 

When considering church, kingdom and discipleship…  

Interest turns primarily to humanistic considerations, like more astute communication techniques or better institutional programs.  All this is helpful, of course, but unless there is genuine commitment to the essential Gospel of Christ, merely changing ways of doing things is like

rearranging chairs on the Titanic

We must come to grips with the faith once delivered to the saints and then let IT set our agenda.

-Robert Coleman, Master Plan of Discipleship

thoughts, not mine so enjoy

Been a while since blogging anything.  I am not apologetic, just up to my eyeballs.  Life has CHANGED!  A church has been planted.  God, plant maturity and discipleship and direction in it.  What a new season this is!

God give me the wisdom to prioritize my FAMILY.  My LIFE basking in the love and calling of obedience of Christ.  My PREACHING.  My PASTORATE.  I have never thought life could go mach speed like this.

So, below are some quotes from people I have been reading as a means of keeping me grounded in truth.  Typing them out for you all (my minimal blog friends because I never post anymore) – that the typing would also implant them into my heart, soul and mind.

Since I occupy a position of responsibility in the church, I think I am more responsible to be humble even than others are.  God demands that I be DEAD to EVERYTHING.  (Fenelon)

Die to jim jim.

The moment we decide to start listening to the voice of self screeching its complaints in our ear, we can no longer hear the more modest wisperings of divine love… The love of God desires that self should be forgotten, that it should be counted as nothing, that God might be all in all.  God knows that it is best for us when SELF IS TRAMPLED under foot and broken as an idol, in order that He might live within us.  (Fenelon)

Die to jim jim.

I have no doubt that God considers you to be one of his friends.  Otherwise, he would not trust you with so many crosses, sufferings and humiliations.  Crosses are God’s means of drawing souls closer to himself.  And these crosses accomplish his purposes much more rapidly and effectually than all of our personal efforts put together.  Crosses DESTROY SELF LOVE at its very root, down in the depths of the human spirit where we can hardly detect it.  But God knows where it is lodged, and he attacks it in its greatest strongholds.  (Fenelon)

Die to jim jim.

What shall we say then?  Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?  By know means!  How can we who died to sin still live in it? … We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.  For one who has died has been set free from sin.  Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.  (apostle Paul, Romans 6)

Die to jim jim.  Never has the thought of noNOT being ME been so freeing to be ME in Christ.  Sorry for all the excessive self – emphasis.  Kind of ironic in light of a DEATH to self and life to Christ consideration!

Well, one more quote … using it at WVPC as we consider the book of Acts this summer as far as WHO we are called to be as the church of God in this place ast this time.

Getting into the book of Acts is like opening a window in a stuffy room.  The wind of the Spirit blows through it.  HERE IS REALITY.  Feeling its emerging freshness, we should neither try to excuse our spiritual ineptness, nor relegate its vitality to a bygone era.  The apostolic church, not the prevaling mediocrity of our religious community, sets the norm.  Where we perceive our shortcomings, in all honesty, we should seek to bring our lives into  conformity to the New Testament standard.  (Robert Coleman)

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west valley pca update

below is the West Valley PCA church plant prayerletter that I sent out for July… read away, please pray, and contact me if you have any questions or desire to share in this great – BUSY – work!  -jim

____

 

July 2009

 Which round is this?  No, not a boxing match.  Not a night at the bar.  Thinking golf here.  Yesterday, Kori and I were privileged to join a church member at the USGA Women’s Open at Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, PA.  Picture it: 80 degree sunny skies.  God-glorifying perfectly green grass (man-toxic with fertilizer).  Beautiful fairways leading up to exquisitely raked sand traps, dense and layered roughs, and greens that were… well, unputtable.    

 Throughout the course, lucky volunteers wore matching polo shirts with red hats, exerting their awesome authority.  They told us where we could and could not walk.  They told us when to stop walking and stand there.  Actually, they didn’t tell us anything.  They didn’t even speak.  They simply held up their hands – silence people, professionals at work.  Silence is the only way to treat a pressure moment.   Every shot in a USGA tournament is a pressure moment, but we were privileged to be seated at the 18th green grandstand to witness the pressurest momentous moment of them all.  23 year old Ji Eun-hee rolled in the birdie putt of her life.   We had just observed 18 golfers in a row miss every putt attempt over 5 feet.  Then it happened.  Ji delivered a 20 foot putt worth $585,000 (that’s $29,250 per foot and $2,437.50 per inch). 

No pressure Ji.

 Wait a minute.  It wasn’t a $585,000 putt.  Ji had just completed the fourth round of a long tournament.  She shot 284 times over those four rounds.  Forgive me, that’s $2,059.86 per swing.  And since Saucon Valley’s Old Course was approximately 6,740 yards (times four), that’s $21.69 per yard that Ji had to walk.  I’d walk a yard for $21 bucks.

 It’s amazing how pressure moments seem to exist irrespective of their context, isn’t it?  That I am naturally inclined to think that Ji’s putt was worth half-a-million dollars is absurd!  Be realistic, Jim – it was one putt in the context of 284 swings, walked over 26,960 yards… in addition to multiple practice rounds, countless previous tournaments, millions of practice putts, chips, and drives over the span of 23 years! 

 (the following sentence will sound familiar)

 It’s amazing how pressure moments IN CHURCH PLANTING seem to exist irrespective of their context, isn’t it?  That I am naturally inclined to think that the prayerful decisions of today are decisive pressure moments that could blow the whole West Valley PCA thing… what a horrendous practical theology when my systematic theology declares that God is sovereign over every detail and decision… most gloriously in his church!  See Ephesians 1.

 Still, the pressure is on at West Valley PCA!  We are in a visible and fantastic facility that will soon be fighting against us, if it is not already.  We simply do not have feasible space for children.  But what to do?  Suddenly the thought of short term vs. long term vision, plus the reality that space in our target area is scarce and we NEED a form of facility expansion before the Fall when college students return and family vacations stop and, Lord willing, more visitors continue to join us … well, the pressure mounting.   Then there’s the pressure of training up leaders in recognition that we are a churchDiscipleshipDevelopment.  On top of that, there are God-fearing newbies and oldies at West Valley who are being painfully deconstructed by the Word of God for their good and the glory/joy of God.  It is pressure shepherding.  Or, then there’s the pressure of giving exhausted teachers and sacrificial church planters a needed respite, even as we don’t have the critical mass to fully raise up a new ‘shift’ of SS teachers and volunteers!  Pray against burnout and for renewed energy!  Then there’s the pressure of financial resources.  We are not yet self-supporting.  (Nor were we when we started in September ’08.  Thanks to God for many of you who have helped provide!)  Our church is expanding along with our expenses.   It is fully under God’s control, but – no pressure – the gap seems to be widening between local tithes and ministry need!  Did I mention a necessary facility change or expansion?!  Please pray for resources as we are budgeting for our fiscal calendar launch in September… pray for the resource capacity to have continued administrative staff and to expand our ministry to children and parents, to our community… in the right facility.  No pressure.

 (Did I almost make you feel like we are facing our own pressure putt that is make-or-break?)

 Seriously, no pressure.  These putts are a part of a LONG round of eternal golf.  They do not exist irrespective of CONTEXT… and that context is the church of Jesus Christ having been provided for over the centuries.  The church of Jesus Christ declaring the gospel to a broken world for centuries.  The church of God seeing transformation and kingdom-realities by the power of the Spirit in us, giving us the power of the resurrected Christ to us, under the sovereign authority of God who owns all things, including us!  Seriously, no pressure.  This Sunday’s sermon is one sermon in a gagillion.  Our worship space is one worship-house of a bajillion.  Our budget-v.-resources need is a drop in the bucket of an eternally deep well of the Lord’s possessions.  Context is everything. 

 

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think,

according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus

throughout all generations forever and ever.  Amen.  [Ephesians 3:20-21] 

 

Will you please pray for us to believe THAT. 

We know we believe it if we feel, well… no pressure.

 

On the home course…

Is it really the middle of July?  Yes.  Is Lina really turning 7 in tomorrow?  Yes.  Is Meggie really prepping for kindergarten?  Yes.  Was that Nate who just spoke in a clear and coherent sentence?  Yes.  Kori and I are so thankful for the beauty of our children – they image God to us more than anything in all creation. 

We need them more than they need us… and in this stage, they need us!  They are curious and creative.  They are observant and obsessing.  They are in need of a gospel-worldview in a secure home!   No pressure.

 Please pray for a (remaining) summer of family rejuvenation and joy (still trying to recover from Disney World and 4th of July weekend!).  Pray for Kori as she is seeking the Lord regarding her role as a mom, wife, church member, community member, and pastor’s wife.  Pray for our parental discernment regarding schooling options.  Pray for our getting to know our new neighbors.  Pray for a sacrificial – dead to self – leader to model the gospel in our home.  (Yes, that would be a bold prayer for me.)  Quite honestly, I think that this summer has exacerbated the distance that we are from our families; we fight loneliness regularly.  Please pray for contentment and surrender to the call of God to be here, on a mission field.  Please pray for a joy that surpasses circumstance.

 Finally, (and let me be explicit here) – we are extending our Powell family Myrtle Beach trip and staying in South Carolina to preach and fundraise for West Valley PCA.  From August 24-30th I would love to sit down with many of you and share more clearly the conversions, convictions and Kingdom-work that God is doing in our midst?  Would you partner with us?  Or, if you pledged to financially support wvpc over three years, would you honor that pledge?  If so, please contact me at jim@westvalleypres.org and/or send any gifts to West Valley Presbyterian Church, 326 Main Street, Suite 1 – Emmaus PA 18049.  All gifts will be tax-deduct and a year end statement will be provided.   I can’t wait to see many of you! 

 Entrusted with something way too powerful for my comprehension or control, -jim

 

 

 

 

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