I came home from school in the Fall of 1993 to find my dad passed out drunk on our couch. He had taken a steak knife from the kitchen and dragged it repeatedly across both of his forearms. I’m not sure if he was trying to kill himself, punish himself, or just feel something.
By the time I got there, the blood had dried. I called 911, then poured what was left in his bourbon bottle down the drain. He’d been fired from his job as a lumber salesman that day, and that was the tipping point for his brokenness. He’d never recover.
He’d been drinking heavily in secret since his mid-twenties, but his secret was exposed now. He would get drunk right in front of me for the next few years, shamelessly tipping that 2-liter of bourbon all the way back. He’d even take the plastic piece off that controlled the flow from the tip of the bottle. He was in a hurry to disappear.
I spent the next 4 years trying to help him; I was what experts call an enabler. I just thought I was being a decent son.
When he died in February of ‘96, he left behind pages and pages of poems and songs he had written (usually when he was drunk). When we found him on the night of his death, he had been journaling, and this is the last thing he wrote:
“If this mess should become my demise, so be it… I’ve lived a life few have ever dreamed of.”
We buried my dad when he was 44, but he died when he was 25. He had spent most of his life drunk, died very young, and missed thousands of miracles that have unfolded in my life… but on his last day he was convinced that he had lived a dreamworthy life.
I’m sitting in a coffee shop at a summer camp right now, preparing a message on the life of hope and beauty God invites us into. I’m realizing how small some men’s dreams are.
My job titles keep changing!
Back in December I was the High School Pastor… then I was the High School & College Pastor… then, I don’t know what else…
Then our world flipped upside-down.
Now I’m excited to announce that I’ve accepted a position as Teaching Pastor & Student Ministries Pastor here at Mission!
That means I’ll teach on the main stage at least 25% of the time from here on out, as well as in some other ministries as needed. I’ll also oversee our Student Ministry team, which is led by an amazing group of pastors, interns, volunteers, and one very busy administrative assistant!
When we find our new Lead Pastor, he’ll teach 50% of the time, and we’ll hire another Teaching Pastor soon after he comes on board to cover the other 25%.
This new position is EXACTLY what I was hoping for! Linds and I talked and prayed a ton about whether or not I should apply for the Lead Pastor position, and I was invited by Mission’s leadership to apply if I felt led to do so, but we decided not to. I think that this position gives me the best opportunity to use my gifts, talents and abilities here at Mission. I really feel like I’m stepping into my sweet spot.
It’s been an amazing five years on staff here at Mission, and I truly believe that our best days are ahead of us.
“Before we get started, I’m gonna take a quick selfie. Everyone lean in!” Congratulations Kyle & Melissa!!! (at Superstition Manor Wedding Venue)
Griffin takes soccer practice pretty seriously.
an excerpt from a short essay written by Thomas Merton in 1959
“The purpose of Lent is not so much expiation, to satisfy the divine justice, as a preparation to rejoice in His love. And this preparation consists in receiving the gift of His mercy—a gift which we receive in so far as we open our…
ash wednesday by Thomas Merton
Remember who I am, and be content with my authority; for I have ready at hand all resources; when anything stands in your way, rely on my power, and execute what I commanded thee.
An excellent reminder from John Calvin, paraphrasing God in Jonah 1:1-2.
I should probably start by saying that I am still the High School Pastor at Mission. There’s no plan to change that. I’ll still be the primary communicator/leader/vision caster/etc.
What will change is that I will also be the College Pastor at Mission starting this January! I’m ridiculously excited about this!
I’m handing off a ton of my High School Ministry workload to our HSM director Jonny Lutz, and he’s going to hand off a ton of his workload to a brand new coordinator that we’re hiring. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say who that coordinator is yet, so you’ll have to wait.
I have a huge heart for college students, and I’m going to be able to spend a ton of time focusing on the College Ministry. The former pastor in the ministry (Jason Robinson) has done an incredible job at leading the ministry for the past five years, and I consider it a tremendous honor to take the reins from him.
Here’s to 2014!
May God get all the glory 🙂
The boys woke up to fresh snow in Ohio! Griffin went nuts, Gavin went for a walk. (at Westerville, OH)
“I could never myself believe in God, if it were not for the cross. The only God I believe in is the One Nietzsche ridiculed as ‘God on the cross.’ In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it? I have entered many Buddhist temples in different Asian countries and stood respectfully before the statue of the Buddha, his legs crossed, arms folded, eyes closed, the ghost of a smile playing round his mouth, a remote look on his face, detached from the agonies of the world. But each time after a while I have had to turn away. And in imagination I have turned instead to that lonely, twisted, tortured figure on the cross, nails through hands and feet, back lacerated, limbs wrenched, brow bleeding from thorn-pricks, mouth dry and intolerably thirsty, plunged in Godforsaken darkness. That is the God for me! He laid aside his immunity to pain. He entered our world of flesh and blood, tears and death. He suffered for us. Our sufferings become more manageable in the light of his. There is still a question mark against human suffering, but over it we boldly stamp another mark, the cross that symbolizes divine suffering. ‘The cross of Christ … is God’s only self-justification in such a world” as ours….’ ‘The other gods were strong; but thou wast weak; they rode, but thou didst stumble to a throne; But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak, And not a god has wounds, but thou alone.”
– John Stott, The Cross of Christ