announcements are fun…

I always like hearing from people about new things happening in their lives and I’m excited to share something new happening in mine.  For most of the last year as a part of my web development business I’ve been helping a company called Event Espresso with their website redesign and some bits and pieces that are running their automatic plugin updates and membership system.  It was a really fun project to work on and we just launched their website two weeks ago.

In the process, I was working closely with the Event Espresso team and we realized that we worked well together.  I was invited to join their team as their core developer and I’ve accepted.

I’m REALLY excited about this transition because I get to keep building cool stuff and I really see Event Espresso becoming THE “go to” plugin for events and ticket sales and I’m looking forward to being a part of and contributing to their growth.

Are you running events?  Are you looking for an easy way to manage registrations and ticket sales?  You really need to check them out.

Oh and you know what else is cool?  My family and I don’t have to move.  EE’s team is a distributed team working from locations all over.  Fun stuff!

big changes

I know I haven’t been posting here much lately -it’s a sign of how busy I am.  However, there’s some news in my life that deserves a post.

This past Sunday I made public my resignation as the Assistant Pastor at Waterloo Pentecostal Assembly.  Effective May 31st, I’m transitioning from pastoring into doing web-development full-time.  Followers of my blog already know that I’ve been doing web development on the side for a few years now.  I’m going to be growing and expanding my business and plunging full in with this passion that I believe God has given me.

The good news is that we’re not moving from Waterloo and WPA remains our home church.  I’m looking forward to transitioning from a full-time paid ministry position to a volunteer role helping in the areas that match who I am as a person and the gifts and abilities God has blessed me with.

Some people have asked me, “So how do you feel about this?”  My short answer? AWESOME!  My longer answer, “At peace that this is the right decision, excited for the changes this will bring, nervous about whether our financial needs will be met, but trusting God that He has a bigger plan and this is just a step towards fulfilling”.

For those who are interested, here is the text of the letter I read to the congregation this past Sunday:

Dear church family,

When I first went into ministry as a pastor, I fully believed it was where God was directing me at that stage in my life, and to this day do not doubt that God has been ordering my steps, nor that I’ve been failing to follow. There have been some incredibly fruitful years of pastoring where I learned much about being a leader, preaching, and teaching; and I know that all of these years have been preparation for what God wants to do in and through me in the future. 

However, I have never really fully embraced Pastoring as a passion. I have done it because I believed God called me to pastor, and I’ve always wanted to be faithful to that call. In my heart of hearts though, I’ve always known that pastoring would not be a lifetime calling. Ministry? yes! However, ministry can take many forms and I’ve always been a strong communicator about God’s call to ministry in LIFE not necessarily what may be viewed as “full-time” ministry.

Over the past two years (really began much earlier but the last two years have brought things more into focus), I’ve become more fully aware of and embraced what IS my passion, and that is internet/web development. That is the practical outflow of my passion, but really I’ve always been passionate about using technology within the church to effectively reach today’s culture.

I still feel called to ministry but there has been a shift of my calling away from Pastoring full-time into something else that still hasn’t been fully revealed to me but involves what I am passionate about.

In early January I handed Pastor Marshall my resignation that will become effective May 31st.  

Coming to this decision has been a long and difficult process with much time spent in prayer and seeking God’s direction.  I do believe God called me into pastoring for a season and I’ve been faithful to that call (15+ years of pastoring). There have been many joys and sorrows, as it is with anything worthwhile doing and I’ve been impacted in incredible ways over those years, however, I’ve always known that this would not be a lifetime calling.  

One of the things I’ve always taught and preached is my firm belief that sometimes we know the general direction God is taking us but we don’t know the final picture.  Sometimes all He gives us is “what’s next”.  That certainly is what happened for Ker and I when I resigned 4 years ago in Hanover (all we knew was our time was done but had no place to go) and it is certainly what is happening now here at WPA.  We have found that when we’re faithful and obedient to what we’re certain God is showing us for what’s next, He is faithful in providing the direction for the future.

The “what’s next” that I am hearing for my family and I is to step into the area of where my passions are, which is the intersection of church and technology (specifically the internet) and I’m going to be volunteering here at WPA to help with our online internet and social media strategy.  To support my family I’m going to be continuing to expand and grow the web development business I’ve been running in my spare time over the last two years.  I don’t know what the long term destination is that God has for us but I do know this is what’s next 🙂  I also know that God is always at work in us to prepare us for His purpose and His plans and the destination isn’t as important as the process of getting there.

While I do feel released from my position as pastor here at WPA, neither Ker nor I feel released from ministry here and we are VERY excited to be able to stay and contribute our gifts and abilities as we continue to serve the Kingdom and belong to our church family.  We love this church, we love this family, and we value and trust our leadership. We know that God is at work here at WPA and we’re thrilled that we are able to continue engaging in ministry here!

I’m a different person than I was when I first came to WPA (in a good way!) and many people in this room have had some part in that change.

I will be officially transitioning from my position as Assistant Pastor at the end of May and have purposely allowed more time for Pastor Marshall to find a person to fill my position here.  

Pray with me as we lift up this search to our Lord!

Sin

Sin is the propensity for humans to live as if they are God. Sin is the decision to live life away from God rather than toward him. This decision can be subtle or blatant. It involves a contest of wills between humans and God. It is the oldest contest in the world, the pride of life, the saying yes to the temptation to live as if we humans are not accountable for our lives moment by moment to our Maker. Sin is the failure to surrender life, moment by moment, to the rule of God. We sin when we place ourselves in charge of our lives.

– Reggie McNeal
A Work of Heart – Understanding How God shapes Spiritual Leaders

Problems with Adium or Sparrow and not being able to sign in with google account credentials?

This is a note I’m leaving for my future self if I have this issue again but hopefully it will help anyone else experiencing the issues I was.

Basically, what was happening is even though I was using the right sign-in credentials for my google account with the Sparrow and Adium apps, both of them kept re-prompting me for the credentials.  However, this was only happening when signing in from home.  Elsewhere, there were no problems.  Trying to find the answer via google took a lot of searching but the solution that worked for me was to just go to this web address: https://accounts.google.com/b/0/DisplayUnlockCaptchaV2

Apparently, at some point Google locked out sign-in attempts from those apps (and ip addresss) because of too many unsuccessful attempts – its a security feature (although not widely published or known).  Visiting that url temporarily deactivates the security lock and then you can sign in.

It worked for me and everything is back to normal thankfully!

To reach the finish line you have to do something…

I often find myself looking at all the things I have to finish (because of my obscenely large todo list) and it overwhelms me and I shut down.  I’ll end up procrastinating and wasting time because I don’t think I have enough time to get started and finish something in the time I have in the moment.  I discovered a secret.

It is what you do in the moments that bring progress and eventually lead to a finish.

Are you stuck because what you have in front of you seems to big to accomplish in the time you have to get it done?  Then capture your moments and do something that brings you closer to the finish line.  Resolve that you may not finish it in that moment, but you will be closer than what you were before.

Don’t stay stuck, get started.

Do something.

The finish will come quicker than you thought it would.

Wrap up and a Look Forward

This entry is part 11 of 11 in the series 2011: A look back A look forward

It’s time to wrap up this series I wrote in the month of January.  It was a great exercise to take a look at what I aimed to do at the beginning of 2010, and what I actually ended up doing!  Some great lessons learned a long the way.  By the way, this is a GREAT exercise for anyone to do on an annual basis, it helps cultivate focus in your life and implant the lessons you’ve learned in the past year.  Leaders take note!

Now that I’ve taken a look back, it’s time to take a look forward for 2011.  What does this next year hold for me as I consider what I know and what I hope to see happen (in no particular order)?

  • I’m going on two missions trips this year.  I’m actually flying out for Malawi (already here at the time of publishing this) and will be going to Ukraine for almost 2 weeks at the end of April.  Missions trips always shake up my world and give me a HUGE appreciation for the work our missionaries do all over the world.  I volunteer my web development skills for this, and this, because of a missions trip.
  • I’ll be continuing to develop and grow OrganizeSeries.com and also have the potential for some other partnerships with people in the WordPress community that I’m exploring.  In case you haven’t discovered yet, I have a great passion for web development and coding.   To me, code is poetry.
  • I want to continue to develop as a leader.  I’ve made a personal commitment to read 10 books this year and this will join all the other reading I do through my feed reader.  If you want to follow along with what I’m reading (and have read) you can check out my anobii page.
  • My wife and I will continue on the positive path we’ve taken for our financial health as a family and will work on paying down more of our debt.  It currently looks like a three year plan but I’m hoping to shorten that with the extra income from the business I’m developing.
  • There are some big things personally I wrestled a bit with last year and this year I hope to come to some clear decisions regarding that.  A big part of the process is prayer, listening to the wise, and listening to the wisest (God).  So if you know me well, keep me in prayer this year – the decision will have huge implications for me and my family.
  • I’m looking forward to seeing what God has in store for my church this year -> really working on accomplishing my ministry goals for what I do there.
  • I’ve made the decision to spend some time working on my physical health.  Working at a desk during the day and the development work I’ve been doing in the evenings (usually sitting with my laptop on a couch) is taking its toll on my physically and I’ve been in the worst shape of my life.  I don’t like it.  I know it’s not healthy. I don’t want to die young.  I love my family.  Soo, I’ve committed to start taking care of my body better this year and am watching my calories.  I’m also going to try to squeeze in some physical activity through the week to get the exercise I need.  The great thing is, my wife is joining me on this one.  It’s so much easier doing this kind of thing when someone you love is doing it with you!

I look forward to coming back and reviewing this list in 2012.  What about you?  What kinds of things are you working on in 2011 – I’d love to hear from you!

getting in the Word

This entry is part 10 of 11 in the series 2011: A look back A look forward

I’ve been away from here again for a few days and it’s turning this series I’ve been writing into a month long reflection.  Nevertheless, I am determined to finish this! So let’s continue (if you’re new to this series, you can click here for some context).

Here’s what I wrote last year:

I love YouVersion.com and thanks to the many Bible Reading plans they’ve made available, I’m going to be reading through the Bible (again) this year.  If you don’t read the Bible, you should – it’s one of the best things you can do (and the digerati team behind youversion has made it so easy!) My wife and I are working through a plan together as well.

What happened:

I made it halfway through the M’Cheyne plan that I was working on.  Kind of bummed I didn’t complete it but I try not to be religious in my Bible reading (otherwise it becomes a chore, it should never be a chore!).  My wife and I didn’t complete the reading plan we were working on together either (Blended) – so many days where we just collapsed exhausted in bed together.  I’m missing this though so I want to get back on track with another one this year.  Now that we both have iPhones it should be easier to work together on this.

What I learned:

About myself:  I work best with routine, but need to change it up once and a while.  Otherwise it becomes just that, routine instead of reward.  There IS NO SET FORMULA for when, where, how, or how much you should read!  YouVersion has REALLY helped me with breaking the shackles of routine.

About  my spirit:  Spiritually speaking, the Word of God is “soul food” for me.  I definitely feel it when I go any extended time without just reading the Bible with an open heart and spirit, expecting to hear from God.  There’s almost an edginess, and dullness that exists in my life without it.   Not only that, but I have found that my creative output goes down as well.

What about you?  How does reading the Bible affect your life (or not)… and why do you think that is?