So much going on — sometimes it gets to be so much it’s hard to find time to say it all. Where even to begin?
I’ll start with the big one: We’ve moved. Just a few miles north, from Lebanon, Ohio, to the south side of Dayton. But it’s a big change for us — from a large yard to a townhouse. But not just that. We’ve moved from a place that for us was hard to find friends, and hard to find a church to be part of, to a great church that invited us into small group leadership the very first week. I was pleasantly surprised at that, and I asked the pastor over lunch, “Don’t you want to check us out first?” He answered, “I have. Online. And I’m getting to know you even as we talk.”
Need I say it? This has been the main thing taking up our free time lately. But it’s going to free up more time in the long run, and increase our ministry opportunities even beyond the church.
Top on the ministry list is the Spiritual Readiness Project. It’s almost ready for its public launch, with a web home at spiritualreadiness.org.
I’ve been saying this for years: The Western world is turning more and more hostile to Christianity. It’s showing up in hard battles over morality, marriage, religious freedom, right to life, and so much more; but it’s based in spiritual roots. The answer has to be spiritually based, too. The apostle Peter told us not to be surprised at the fiery trials we may encounter (1 Peter 4;12), but there’s probably no Christian population in history that’s been so unprepared for them.
Our team is making a unique contribution to readiness, exploring ways to support pastors and lay Christians in being confident in what we believe and why we believe it.
The project’s real roll-out only awaits one more step, which is to bring a small- to medium-size group of interested people on board with launching it. That’s about a two-week process. I’ll keep you informed.
Our move to Dayton will allow me to re-boot another ministry that was hard to sustain from our previous location: The “Thinking Christian Connection.” It’s a fellowship of people with special interest in the readiness factors: what we believe and why we believe it. Time after time, in conferences around the country, I’ve talked with groups who have that kind of interest, asking if they feel alone among their friends in caring about these things. Time after time, virtually everyone in the room raises their hand to say yes.
The Spiritual Readiness Project may contribute toward helping build that interest across the country; in fact, that’s exactly what we’re praying for. But there’s “across the country,” and there’s our own back yards. Dayton is a big enough city to build a fellowship of interested people, to provide encouragement and to help equip them for ministry in their own churches. We’re looking forward to what God will do here!
Sara has just begun her second year leading the abstinence education program for the Miami Valley Women’s Center. She and her team are in dozens of schools, mentoring boys and girls, and teaching them it’s really okay to wait until marriage before starting sexual activity. That message alone comes as news to many students. Of course they go further, explaining why it’s a wiser and healthier choice.
The Miami Valley Women’s Center is a pregnancy resource center, offering pro-life counseling, ultrasound services, and alternatives to abortion including adoption referrals, education on parenting, and supplies to help with raising young children. Our move brought her considerably closer to her work there.
That story won’t go away. After five surgeries resolving a congenital structural flaw in my left foot, my right foot finally decided to get in the action, too. It’s got the same flaw (bones growing inside tendons along the outside of both feet). This next surgery is scheduled for November 12.
As a writer and ministry strategist/leader, I’ve been able to stay productive following each of these operations. I’m honestly having a harder time gearing up emotionally for this one. Thank God, our new church has a Stephen ministry, a lay counseling/helping ministry, as part of its outreach, and I’ve already had my first meeting with a Stephen minister there.
My hope is that this will be the last surgery. That was the hope for each of the other five, though — which tells you something of why this one is harder to face. Please pray that I would find God’s own comfort in this, that He would build Sara and me as His followers, and give us more ministry for Him through it.
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