Monday ... marked the 5 year anniversary of my employment at Granger Community Church! This past year has been the most challenging year on so many levels, but I wouldn't trade all the stuff I've learned/experienced. God, help me to grow as a leader.
Wednesday ... Justin Moore started work at GCC! We're are just so ridiculously excited to have Justin on the team. Fun and exciting days ahead for GCC IT! God, help me to grow more and stronger friendships.
Thursday/Today ... 15 years ago Kim and I were married in Auburn, IN! Kim, I LUV U!! God, help me grow as a husband.
*No Church IT Podcast tonight due to above anniversary :-)
Just wrapped up a week of vacation ... Cedar Point was our big family fun event this time 'round. Those of you following my Twitter have already seen this picture, but it's just too fun not to share with everyone else :-)
Jacob (10yrs) and I were determined that no matter what we had to ride the Top Thrill Dragster ... 0-120mph in 4s ... 420ft straight up then back down ... here's a youtube video that gives you an idea of what it's like.
So our last day at the park we stood in line and waited for front row seats ... yup, if you're gonna wait might as well go all out! The ride was amazing! I love acceleration and this did not disappoint!
Jacob said he was a bit freaked out on the way up to the apex, but he gave the ride an 'awesome' rating. When we viewed the picture they took of us doing ~120mph I immediately knew we'd have to buy it ... and I'm a bit of a tight wad. So we plunked down $12 for this photo that will serve as a great laugh and a great reminder of our summer 08 vacation.
For anyone interested here's the testimony I delivered on July 27, 2003 to my former church about our God sized story which lead us to Granger, IN and into church ministry. I probably read over this once a year when seeds of doubt try to creep into my mind ... it's a great reminder to me about how great a God we serve and why I'm at GCC. Perhaps my story will be an encouragement for others so here it is ...
Kenosha Bible Church, Kenosha, WI - July 27, 2003 - "Generally it takes about 30mins for the full version of this story, but they told me to chop it down so you’re going to get the condensed Readers Digest version.
If you had asked me just 3 months ago what I’d be doing this summer the answer would have been something like: working my contracted 30 summer days, spend a week or so in IN at both parents, some house work, maybe go away from our 10 year anniversary…in other words nothing really out of the ordinary.
But as it turns out God had a different plan in mind Instead • I’ve quit my job which I loved (IT Director, Zion-Benton Township HS District 126, Zion, IL) • we’re moving to Granger, IN next weekend • and I going to be working in of all places...a church!
OK…so what caused this sudden MAJOR shift in our lives?!
It may sound silly, but God used the book If You Want To Walk On Water, You've Got To Get Out Of The Boat to play a major role. God used this book to force me to re-eval my life, my purpose, my goals. I think it should come with a big warning sticker…”Warning: contents my change your life! Proceed with Caution!”
Back in Feb our small group started studying this book and it wasn’t until Chapter 4 pg 79 that God decided to majorly speak to me. The author writes... Is there any challenge in your life right now that is large enough that you have NO hope of doing it apart from God’s help? If not, consider the possibility that you are seriously underchallenged. The words YOU ARE SERIOUSLY UNDERCHALLENGED kept echoing in my head for days … I prayed that God would challenge me in ways that would force me to rely on Him.
AND HE promptly complied to my request in lots of ways, but here comes the fun stuff…
The weekend before Spring Break I was informed that the Penn-Harris-Madison School System CIO (Chief Information Officer) position was opening in Granger, IN…a really sweet position that would be a huge step up in salary and responsibility…and get us closer to our parents. I REALLY wanted this position so I spent my entire spring break crafting a sweet resume.
The next week I got an email from Rob, one of my best friends back in college, who’s one of the pastors at Granger Community Church in Granger, IN…yes the same city as the school job! He said their computer guy was leaving and thought I should send in a resume. I didn’t give it much thought as I wasn’t looking for a hard-core tech position and after all how much could the church possibly pay. Thoughts of driving a barely running beater car and living in a run down trailer came to mind.
After I submitted my resume for the school job, Rob called again about the church job. He explained that they were changing the position into a more administrative position and thought I should seriously check it out. Since I wanted to be faithful to ANY doors God opened, I went ahead and submitted my resume…still thinking that nothing would probably come of it.
I then got a call from my close IT Director peer at Lake Forest High School (Lake Forest, IL)… his wife was getting transferred and wanted me to take his position! This would be a big bump in salary, but up my commute time considerably.
At this point I said, OK God…what are you up to? I like my current job and have not been actively looking for something new…now 3 possibilities have been brought to my attention? Help…I need guidance here!
After pondering and prayer I did not pursue the LFHS position…the salary bump would be nice, but nothing else about it seemed to speak to me.
The church called me when they got my resume and I did an hour and a half phone interview with Tony, the pastor of Administration. During the conversation I started feeling that this could actually be where God wanted me. Then as the conversation drew to a close Tony said, so should we continue this dialogue if I tell you that we could not pay you close to what you’re making now? DOH! Why did he have to say that! Sigh. I told him that if this is truly where God wants me then we are prepared to make some sacrifices.
3 weeks went by before we could coordinate an interview at the church. During this time Kim and I were praying hard and asking others to pray that God were show us clearly where he wanted us. Perhaps we’re supposed to stay here in WI…but we wanted to be open and ready for his calling. I still very much wanted the CIO job, which during this time I learned that 270 applications had been received and they ended up choosing someone with tons more experience than I had.
So 2 possibilities down…one to go.
The interview at the church went very well…and afterwards both Kim and I felt like this was where God seemed to be leading us. There was still no salary discussion, which gave us a very uneasy feeling, but we prayed that money would not be a stumbling block.
We wrote out a list of the pros and cons about potentially making this move. We prayed specifically for each of the things on the list that made us frankly scared…money was one of the biggest concerns. We did some number crunching and came up with a bottom line salary figure we felt we would need to allow Kim to stay at home and keep us in good shape. We wrote this number down on a piece of paper and prayed. The night before our second visit to the church we received the church’s offer. Guess what the salary was? The exact number I had written down on the paper!
The second visit to the church really firmed up any doubts I had that this is where God wanted us. We had prayed God would show us …and he did! I sent my acceptance letter on June 12th with a start date of July 31st. We were still a bit scared about all the unknowns yet to come, but we trusted that God, the creator of the universe, would take care of us.
We quickly prepped our house for sale…we just moved into it last September! We decided to try the FSBO route at the encouragement of a real estate agent friend who also suggested we set the price considerably above what we were thinking. We put our sign in the yard on a Saturday and that Wednesday we had a serious showing and by Saturday it was sold! AND the buyers needed in buy August 1st which is exactly when we needed out!
We were TOTALLY blown away…not only did God give us a fast sale, but he gave us way more money than we were expecting for having not lived there for even a year! I could picture God smiling and saying, put your trust in me and watch what happens.
That same Saturday we headed for Granger to look at homes for 3 days. We again put our trust in God and prayed that he would reveal the house we should buy. We ended up getting a great house for way under what we should have paid all things considered and it was vacant so closing was not an issue…and we even got their riding lawnmower! Woohoo!
The next day at work my boss calls a meeting to plan out my last days. As we review my contract and past years work, we determine that contractually my last day of work was the last day of school which was May 30th...and everything I had worked up to now was just extra money above my contract salary! Woohoo!
Another total blessing! We gave our financial fears to the Lord and he SOOO blessed us…home sale, home purchase, extra $$!!!
And to put icing on the cake, our 5 year old who previously said many times very firmly that he would not move, last Sunday said he was ready to move and make new friends.
Is God the coolest or what! Before my God was big…but now he’s HUGE…my God is SOOO big! How big is your God? God loves us SOOOO MUCH…all we have to do is put our trust in Him…and then he promises he will rock our world!
So I leave you with this: Is there any challenge in your life right now that is large enough that you have NO hope of doing it apart from God’s help? If not, consider the possibility that you are seriously underchallenged.
If you've been following my Twitter you know as of Monday our house in Granger, IN officially went on the market ... sign in the yard and all.
This was not an easy decision, but it finally became the right one. We're really trusting God with this given the horrible housing market right now. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't both excited and terrified to see how this unfolds.
And of course to make things more complex/interesting we're trying to find foreclosure/fix-r-up homes in the same school system which is turning out to be more difficult than originally thought in our price range.
Oh boy! I'm sure when this roller coaster ride is over we'll look back and smile, but for now the ride is making me a bit nauseous :-)
Speaking of rides ... the black '97 M3 Sedan in the driveway will likely also be for sale .. only 99K miles and she likes to get up 'n go!
Wow, I can't believe a year ago last Friday I was in the delivery room with my wife heralding the arrival of our third child. What a crazy year it's been ... I'm so thankful to God that Ashlee has been a rather easy baby compared with our first 2. The transition from 2 to 3 kids has been challenging, but significantly better than I was expecting :-)
Here's a couple pics from the bday party Saturday ...
Thanks to Mrs. Nancy for the sweet cake! Hmm, how about I grab the flame instead of blow it out?? Ahh, my first piece of cake! I see people using this fork like thingy to eat with ... guess I'll try to. Big brother to the rescue. Forget the fork ... it's chow time!! Don't mess with me when I'm eatin' cake! Time to ride my red moose. Cya