If you would indulge me, here is a brief recap:
Thursday - November 20th
Had some early morning 7am and 8am meetings before heading over to the Harris home
for the Elevation "Brainstorm" meeting for our church.
In this monthly meeting I am part of a very highly creative team of thinkers from our church (who are way more creative than I will ever be!) who pray, dream, dialogue and ultimately plan our Elevation service at Calvary Church. I spent the morning with these folks and then
UCI Hospital in Orange.
No, I wasn't there to check in.
I was invited by UCI Chaplain, Jon Wetterholm
to be part of the "Spiritual Diversity" Fair for hospital employees.
The hospital set up tables for groups representing Muslims, Mormons, a Jewish group, Jehovah Witnesses, Christian Scientists, Catholics and for me representing Christianity.
It was an incredible afternoon, the type of experience that most people imagine Pastors having each day. I was able to talk with random folks about Jesus, Christianity and the Bible.
I was able to dialogue with the people representing the other faiths and share with them what I believe as a Christian. It was awesome!
After the diversity fair, I had the honor of shadowing Chaplain Jon Wetterholm as he made his rounds through the hospital. Jon is such a passionate, authentic Christian. He represents Jesus so incredibly to the doctors, nurses, staff and patients of UCI Hospital. I learned so much just watching him pray with patients and hospital staff Thursday afternoon. I want to be like Jon.
Friday - November 21st
Spent the day reordering our home, doing chores, mowing the lawn, cleaning our backyard and putting up Christmas Lights (I am going big this year!). It was a great sabbath um....work day.
Saturday - November 22nd
This morning was one of the most emotional, difficult mornings I have experienced in a long time. I had the honor of going to Chelsea Worcester's memorial service at Taft Community Church in Orange. Chelsea was one of my high school students in my youth group and had battled cancer for the past 2 years before passing away a few weeks ago. The church was packed and I was so proud of the body of Christ in how they came around the Worcester family during and after the service. There is nothing more difficult than watching parents bury a child. I pray the Lord just overwhelms the Worcester's with his love and peace during this time.
At Night, Marie and I packed up the kids and headed down to San Diego to experience a life long friend of ours, Moriah, get married. This is where she and her husband Seth had their ceremony:
It was a very nice wedding with a harp player, photo booth, tons of food and friends I have known my entire life. They even had paid "nannies" to watch our kids. One thing that is kind of difficult about being in ministry is that most weddings, celebrations, birthday parties etc. take place on Saturday nights. This is a great fit for 99% of the people at any party, but as a Pastor whose biggest day of the week is Sunday morning, there is always tension in being out on a Saturday night. This Saturday was no different as we left the wedding at 7pm to make sure we would get home at a decent time to be ready for the next day. I am not complaining, just stating the reality of life as a Pastor.
Sunday, November 23rd
Was at church at 7am and ready to go for our monthly homeless outreach. Once a month, Brent Dedmon, Laura Copeland, Doug Brown and myself take college students from Calvary down to the Civic Center in Santa Ana and pass out brown bag lunches to the homeless men and women who hang there during the weekend. This Sunday was particulary cold by OC standards and it was so cool to have had one of our college students Tiffany make over 100 wool beanies for the folks we passed out lunches for. People seemed really open to talking with us. It was a great morning. Particulary I am praying this week for a lady named Ricki who has a college degree yet due to several circumstances finds herself living on the streets of Santa Ana. "Lord protect her today and give her hope that you care for her."
Returned to Church and helped with our church wide Angel Tree Project. This is a Christmas outreach to families of prisoners who live here in Orange County. Our church has adopted 125 kids to give presents to this Christmas. In 2 Sundays, the gracious people of Calvary "adopted" all 125 kids. I was blown away by this!
Finished the day of ministry leading a lunch for new people at our Church called, "New to Calvary." It was a particularly precious time this Sunday as several people openly shared stories of struggle and how God had in his providence brought them to Calvary. I left church Sunday just feeling thankful that God is using this little church for His great purposes.
Monday, November 24th
I had the joy today of meeting for pre-marital counseling with a couple whom I just love and will have the joy to marry on New Year's night next month. Caught up on some adminstrative stuff at church and then Marie and I packed up the kids at night and headed over to Birth Choice Crisis Pregnancy Clinic at night to lead a prayer time for the clinic. It was sweet time of going room to room in the clinic and praying for God's protection and power to move within the clinic and the clients that walk through the doors.
Over the last 5 days I have felt so many emotions.
Joy, Humility, Sadness, Excitement, Compassion, Laughter and Stress.
I love that the Lord has been with me through every emotion and experience.
"Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal. "