6 Months and 1 day ago Our Heavenly Father….just kidding. I wrote something to our congregation at Gardenside Christian Church (www.gardensidecc.org) when I first came here at a congregational meeting. I think I promised them 5 minutes and went 8….in preacher math….that’s close enough. But it was an honest examination of my heart and what I believed God was leading me to do in our congregation. Now looking back….I continue to see his affirmation and the firm belief that if we will be sacrificial when it comes to Loving our “pioneers in the faith,” but knowing our future is in young families with children and Students…..so here it is again and I ask you to read it with an examination of what our God has done and what He is still leading us to do….
On November 19th we celebrated the 150 year anniversary of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. I have trouble remembering what I preached about last Sunday, and I know you guys do…how come we remember a speech made 150 years ago? It’s only 270 words long…Lincoln delivered it in about 2 minutes…the guy who spoke before Lincoln, Edward Everett spoke for over two hours…and no one remembers his speech…
So I asked the Chairman of our leadership if I might share my heart with you……
I was born in a little log cabin….just kidding. On August 18th I came and preached for the very first time here at Gardenside Christian Church…I shared with you a message called “One Thing I do,” from Paul’s letter to the Philippians….One thing I do, forgetting what is behind I press on toward what is ahead.” I couldn’t think of a more fitting message to share with you….for your experiences over the past few years…and also for me, leaving a 15 year ministry in Louisville Kentucky…I believe that the search committee and then in turn your leadership recommended me to come here for one primary reason….”Lead us in a new way….help us forget about so many of the past struggles and difficulties and help us get back to a place where we are doing what God wants us to do. Help our staff focus on the primary purpose of our calling instead of just putting out fires and dealing with things in a reactionary way…help our leadership and our people to dream again and to rekindle that fire for God’s mission for Gardenside Christian Church…C’Mon….let’s go forward….let’s forget what is behind. Even our victories need to be remembrances, not things that we live in…we are called by God to be a people moving forward for His great plan.
Just shy of three months ago I had no real idea about what we should do…Kari and I just wanted to share our lives with you…begin to love you and for you to begin to love me, my wife, daughter and grandson as well. So that’s what I’ve been doing…preaching and sharing on Sunday mornings and Sunday Evenings, leading a smaller group on Wednesday nights, encouraging and spurring the staff and leadership on to better things, and meeting with other ministers, and folks within the community…One of those individuals is named Charles Knox…Chal to his friends, Carlos to the congregation he pastors, Iglasia Neuava Vida…When I left Louisville one of the things I was most thankful for was our ministry within the Hispanic community…the fastest growing demographic in Fern Creek…One of my elders, Stan Holstein and I began to pray for opportunities to impact this huge group of people in Fern Creek, and after two years a Missionary from Ecuador returned to the states with a desire to do work within the American Hispanic community. His name is Mike Hook. He and his wife Jill began to work and share their lives with this segment of our community and God grew it to be a beautiful, loving part of Fern Creek. Gardenside, Cardinal Valley Garden Springs has a huge population of Hispanic people…we’ve already witnessed the opportunities we have at James Lane Allen and in other outreach ministries at our door. Chal and I have become friends…He’s served on Staff at Southland Christian Church and pastured Iglesia Neuva Vida for almost 10 years…He, Holly and their family are deeply invested in this ministry….He shared the other evening at our Men’s Fellowship that there are 50,000 Hispanics in Lexington and only about 2,000 are involved in any kind of church. It’s one of the largest communities that need Christ in our area….What would Jesus do?….well, His church would be about lost people…and opening doors for ministries to impact people for eternity. I believe God would have Gardenside Christian Church open our doors and partner with Iglesia Neuva Vida in ministering to the Hispanic community AT OUR DOOR. What does this mean entirely? I don’t know, but if we really believe that every tongue, tribe and nation will be present before the throne of God, then we should begin to intentionally seek that also here in ministry. Will it mean changes….absolutely….will it require some sacrifices and adjustments….yep…but nothing that is done to please God operates outside of the arena of faith. This has become clear to me, our staff, our leadership and I believe also the same groups at Iglesia Neuva Vida….who brought this confirmation…I believe the Holy Spirit did. I hope you will be excited about the opportunities and trust us to follow God’s lead.
One last note as I finish out this 5 minutes…This next year we believe God will bless us as we follow His leading. Especially as we reach out to young families with Students and children so God’s church can be infused with new life and leaders for the coming generations. Our finances, as people sacrifice and God blesses will focus on Raising up an overseer to give structure to our youth and children’s ministry. A weekend intern to focus on our students and instead of a children’s ministry that just survives…we will have one that flourishes with newness and excitement. Hopefully we will have one special offering this next year and the funds will help us reach those goals, maybe a new van for “the Ramblers” and our students and children, and a redone and refreshed playground…plus other items that show our community our priorities.
I find it one of the greatest privileges to be your lead minister her at Gardenside Christian….and as we seek God…He draws near to us….and the power and intimacy that develops within His will will change our community and our world.