Many times Calvin and I step back, take a look around, stare at the other for a good 2-3 seconds and say, "How is this our life?" Or with equal admiration yet bafflement, admit, "Man, I love our lives. We're blessed to get to do this and be here."
Just this morning those were Calvin's exact words to me. Allow me to get you up to speed as many have asked us how we are doing and how the church is doing.
I started a full-time job exactly 90 days ago today. It's official, official. As of today, I'm a real full-time employee at a magazine and I love it. God, again, demonstrated the perfection of his timing, his generosity and how he graciously grants us the desires of our hearts. In other words, I feel like it was a total God thing, seeing as to how the job posted on a Friday, I dropped off my resume + cover letter (always, always provide a cover letter) on that following Monday and unexpectedly was asked to stay for 3+ hours interviewing and testing and interviewing some more. Long story short, I got the job the next morning (Tuesday) and have been loving it since. It's a job I really enjoy plus it's what I studied in college (YEA!).
Calvin has continuously worked hard to lead, guide and direct our church. He is so intentional and so disciplined. He is extremely invested and passionate. We're all very proud of him. And by we, I mean all the people that make up Christ's Mercy Church, myself included, of course. We started with what was but 4 families (about 12 - 15 people total) and are now at about 12 - 13 families totaling an average of 45+ people. Lives are being changed and some of my favorite moments have been our House Church gatherings as well as our Communion Services where we've seen numerous members share testimonies. Last month, Calvin had the opportunity to baptize a man whose life has been transformed by the love of God right before our eyes. This was Calvin's first time baptizing someone and next Sunday morning, December 6th, will be his second! Change is happening and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom! Hallelujah! We are thrilled and just in awe.
House Churches have been truly phenomenal and life changing. We have two that meet in our home. One on Tuesdays and one on Wednesdays. Our vision with this is that the church would not only gather on a Sunday morning, but also break bread with one another in their homes throughout the week. In comes the idea of House Churches! During the early church (the Christians that gathered once Christ ascended and the Holy Spirit came) all the believers would meet in homes, "devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals, and to prayer." (Acts 2:42-47) This is the model we hope to replicate, always. In this setting all of us have shared, we have learned, we have discussed, we have confessed, we have celebrated, we have encouraged, we have shed tears and we have laughed, we have praised and we have mourned, we have sought the Lord in prayer and have entered his presence with thanksgiving. Oh, and we have enjoyed food, lots and lots of food. There's power in a shared meal with others. We live life together. We are the body of Christ, many parts - different and unique - yet one body and one purpose. It is absolutely beautiful.
In the month of December Christ's Mercy will launch it's 3rd House Church. This one will be led by 3 of our church servants (church servants is our preferred phrase over church leaders) who have attended our Wednesday night House Church. We are so excited to see how God uses these servants and the House Church they have agreed to and felt led to start on Thursday nights. We hope this continues to multiply and before we know it be able to offer House Church gatherings all across our community in various neighborhoods and various homes, all throughout the week.
Theodore Rex is growing. I don't know when it will stop. He's one stocky lab. I blame that on him being half English lab and not just solely on the fact that he eats a ton then has loads of energy so he plays, then gets hungry all over again. He's now a year old and this Christmas I'll be congratulating myself on successfully owning a puppy for a year. God knew we needed a dog with us during this time. They're just the best company, hands down, no matter what season you're in. He loves House Church too, by the way, that Theodore!
Calvin and I are currently going through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. We have also introduced the church to it and have heard great stories already of how God is realigning our way of handling money as his people with what he commands in Scripture. I'm a fan. Thank God for Dave Ramsey. But it's hard! Nonetheless, we are 2 months into budgeting and it feels great to know exactly where our money is going instead of ending the month or year wondering where on earth it all went! And we're just $3,000 away from paying off my student loans!! It's possible, fellow graduates, it's possible. I graduated in 2012 and was on a 10-year plan to pay off $22K+ of debt. We have been able to cut that time down to 4 years! The less we owe the more we can give and this is just the start of it all. If you feel like you're in need of something like this (peace when it comes to finances and freedom from debt), allow me to introduce you to Dave and check out his website, here!
Calvin and I are fans of The Voice. So I end with a live performance by Jordan Smith. He is one of the Top 10 contestants of this season. Here he sings "Great is Thy Faithfulness". An appropriate cry that exudes from our hearts. God has so faithfully provided everything we have needed. He has left us wondering, 'how is this our life?' A life of witnessing lives being changed, a life of hard work, ministry, adventure and an endless supply of joy. A life of grace, wonderful relationships and abundance. Only because of God's goodness and the sacrifice of Jesus to rid us of all sin and through him have communion with the Father. That's how. Surrendering your life to God and His mission is the best thing you could ever do. We love it.
Ps. The picture of us I included is of when we first got to Katy, TX and held an event, a New Years Eve Bon Fire, at the church. It's been nearly a year now and we are so humbled at all we've experienced and learned thus far.
Thanks for reading,