hot dogs and hard times

Tonight we finished KidSport, a summer sports camp that our church hosted in a downtown elementary school. For our grand finale, we invited the parents to stay and hang out for a program and dinner. It was really a neat experience to just sit on the playground with people you don't know, eating hot dogs and popcorn, and talking about life.

It wasn't a high-pressure religious setting at all. During the whole three-hour gathering, the only spiritual material mentioned was a five-minute story about Bret Farve and the Apostle Peter. The rest of the night was just parents and kids mingling, sharing parenting struggles, watching a cheerleading performance and sports games, and hanging out. We didn't even tell them the NAME of our church from what I can remember. We just loved them. And we let them love us.

I was amazed by how vulnerable a few folks were. One gal I spoke with had encountered mostly abuse and failures in life. There was a beauty to her humility. She was open about fears, and fixes, and old wounds. I loved seeing a rawness and honesty in her that people in my normal circles (including myself) have learned to hide.

By the end of the night, we had parents asking us what the name of our church was, where we met, wanting to know service times, and asking if they could come in simple clothes.

I'm so thankful. It all just felt right. I fell in love this week with taking ministries like that off campus to where people really are... just being real and being close.

When people asked where our church met, I should have said, "It meets here. And I hope it always will."

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I'm reading through Milton Vincent's The Gospel Primer again. Below was tonight's entry, which I found really helpful. (This whole book is definitely worth the read, BTW.)

Perspective in Trials:

More than anything else could ever do, the gospel enables me to embrace my tribulations and thereby position myself to gain full benefit from them. For the gospel is the one great permanent circumstance in which I live and move; and every hardship in my life is allowed by God only because it serves His gospel purposes in me. When I view my circumstances in this light, I realize that the gospel is not just one piece of good news that fits into my life somewhere among all the bad. I realize instead that the gospel makes genuinely good news out of every other aspect of my life, including my severest trials (Romans 5:1-5). The good news about my trials is that God is forcing them to bow to His gospel purposes and do good unto me by improving my character and making me more conformed to the image of Christ.

Preaching the gospel to myself each day provides a lens through which I can view my trials in this way and see the true cause for intelligent rejoicing that exists in them. I can then embrace them as friends and allow them to do God's work in me."

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Welcome to our family’s adoption journey. As you read, you will see us stumble and take wrong paths. You will see our hopes surge and fall. You will see the gaps in our humanity, and how our God realigns us to His purposes over and again. We think the messiness of this process is important. Sometimes walking with God isn’t a neat, linear package that can be summarized in bullet points. More often, life ebbs and flows around our plans, while God works His sovereign wonders from it all. We are learning so much through this journey. And we are super excited about our new son. If you’d like to join us, we’d love to have you along for the ride.

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