Bring on 2014

As I sit here in bed wide awake an hour and 40 minutes into the new year, I am reflecting back on the past year and all that God brought us. Isn't that what philosophers usually do, think back before moving forward? Well, this guy is and I am thankful for a year that was one of my hardest yet one of the best. Here are just a few things God did in our lives this past year:

1. 2013 started with a bang - literally. Last year at this time I was getting ready to head to Ko'Olina Lagoons and watch the fireworks with my family and a couple of thousand people. I remember being in awe that God would let us be in Hawaii and how much I loved being outdoors in the winter time (without being cold)

2. I realized that I had depression. I still don't know how long I have lived in depression but 2012 and 2013 brought it to a head. For the first time I realized that I was in trouble if I didn't get help.

3. I got help! That help came in form of a man named Paul Gotthardt and Doss Estep. Both of these men were very merciful toward my struggles and even my sin. With out Paul's counsel and Doss' grace, I might not be anywhere near a church today. God blessed me tremendously with these men.

4. Our church plant went from 40-50 each week to 25 each week within 1 week (well, actually it happened in 2012 but that first week of 2013 revealed that 4 families really were not with us in planting the church. I hope the best for them and know God used it to grow me up.

5. I fell in love with the church. The Takaguchi's, The Vierra's, The Hughes, The Killins, The Rodgers, The Molitors, Ashley Bell, Devin Bae, Joe Carrillo, The Hazelwoods, The Robinsons, Donnie Baker, Ariel and Mark were a joy and thrill for me to be with each week. I miss the core team God brought us and pray for them daily. They showed me how to love the church by being open and honest in our walk together. I have never enjoyed teaching God's Word so much as I did with this group.

6. We struggled to reach Kapolei. Church planting is the hardest thing I have ever been a part of. Again, God used this struggle to bring my view of Him in alignment to who He is and what He does. He didn't waste a moment of hardship and was there even when I didn't turn to Him.

7. There were so many other people that we fell in love with and wish we could have had them move back with us: The Caldwells, The Nakasones, My Fretias family, Atama, Jessica, The BCM group at Manoa (especially Arjay, John and Steppie), Campus Light at West Oahu and LCC, Clyde, Som Pom, The Farbuck's Crew, John Eliff and his family and so many more people that loved us and did life with us.

8. Having to send my friends the Rodgers back home because of funding. I have to admit, I was really mad about this one. I got mad at God and was a little mad at the Rodgers. But I realize now that God had another plan and He was doing what He wanted. I carried this one for a couple of months.

9. Coaching T-ball, Volleyball and football. I love to coach and it also allowed us to meet many people who did not know Christ. It also helped us meet the Takaguchis.

10. Leaving Hawaii. Although I realized how much I did not fit there, it was still hard to leave. The water will be the thing I miss the most but our family and friends we left made it even harder. Still choke up a little bit thinking about them.

11. We helped 2 church plants get going while we were there. One of the goals of our being there was to start churches. We got to help 2 and I am grateful that God allowed us to be part of it.

12. Not finding a job yet. This has been a troubling and humbling experience. I really thought that I could have provided for my family better at this point. But to no avail I have not been able to find a job. I think I have filled out about 70 applications and have had 8 interviews. However, God reminded me that He is the one that provides and that He is the one to give me a job. So trusting Him, I will keep filling out applications and going on whatever interviews He lets me. By the way, He has paid every bill to this point through His people. I have not had to sacrifice a meal or a bill yet.

13. The best part of this year: Learning to rest in Christ. The theme of my year has been "abide in Christ". God has taught me that my first calling is to be intimate with Him and that everything He will do through me, He will first do in me. My obedience is a direct result of me being with Him. This truth is still permeating through me and I pray that it will grow to the most incredible levels this next year as I pursue Him. I want to leave you with the vision of Life Baptist Church because I believe it speaks to what God is doing in me and allowing me to pass on to others.

"We are to know God intimately, which leads to loving God completely, which will result in sharing God continuously" My goal is to KNOW God and then I will Love Him out of that intimacy which will end up with me SHARING God with others! Friends, our first call is to Know God! How well do you know Him?

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