Moving

Moving

14. That was my answer to Riley when he asked how many times I moved over the course of my life. He was curious after counting how many times we’ve moved over the course of his life (just twice). In 15 years of marriage, Sarah and I have moved a total of 8 times which averages to once every 1.875 years (yes I used a calculator 😊).

It has been awesome to move into a new place here in Taneytown where we have new neighbors, more room for the kids, and a great place to put roots down. It is truly funny though how much of a pain it is to load things up, carry them around, move them in, unpack, and get settled in.

We love the result of the move, but the work it takes to get there is the frustrating part.

So it is in our walk with Jesus.

We know that we have a home and a destination awaiting us one day in Heaven. Although, there are joys in this life, there is much pain and difficulty. Sometimes it is hard to follow Jesus. He says himself in Matthew 7:14 “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

Jesus reminds us that following Him will be tough, but the gift He gives us is completely worth it when we are finally able to settle into our new home. A home with no hurt, pain, sadness, or heavy lifting. Sarah and I hope this might be our final move before that one! 

 

In His Service,

Pastor Jared

 

 

Questions, Answers and Trust

I love the honesty of the questions of kids. They haven’t learned the filters that we as adults use in hopes we won’t offend others. They haven’t learned to feel dumb asking a question, like we adults have (wrongly, I might add). They just ask. From “Why is the sky blue?” to “What’s that on your neck?” Somewhere along the lines, we learn to stop asking questions and pretend that we have it all together, or just move on.

Some of the most interesting questions I’ve ever been asked about Jesus have come from my children. Sometimes I can answer them fully and completely and other times I must admit that I cannot (because no one can but God). But I began to realize that all of us have questions about Him but we can’t have all of the answers.

Sometimes the lack of an answer keeps us from trusting in Jesus. It is with this in mind that I began to pray about our new Easter sermon series, “The Real Jesus”. Everybody thinks they know who Jesus is. Whether they claim Him as savior or doubt He ever even existed. But who did He say He was? What does scripture really say about Him and can we trust it?

I’ll admit it, I don’t have all the answers to all of the questions you may have about Jesus, God, and all the other mysteries of the faith. But I do want to point out a couple of things. One, I believe there is enough evidence that Jesus truly existed, truly died, and truly rose again. Two, it takes some measure of faith to believe in Christ. And three, God isn’t scared of our questions. He can handle them.

In scripture there is a man who is struggling to believe that Jesus can help his dying son. He cries out to Jesus, “I believe, help my unbelief”. May we approach Jesus with our unbelief and ask Him to help us trust in Him. I may still be young, but I’ve had enough experience with Him to know that He is worthy of that trust.

 

In His Service,

Pastor Jared

Unchanged

Sarah and I have received one question more than any other in this time of transition to Maryland. Have you got settled in yet? The answer is progressively getting better (though not yet complete). There are still boxes to be unpacked, and a few other minutia to complete.

Among the changes that we have been excited about as a family is one that surprised me more than others: the weather. Growing up in Jacksonville, FL and spending many years in NC, I have been overwhelmed by the difference in temperature in the summer. Gone are the multiple days of 100 degree heat with 100% humidity! Our family and friends in Texas, the Carolinas, and Florida have not been happy with us! In fact one of them just told us “You’ll get what’s coming to you in February!”

Fall has always been my favorite season since I was a kid. The colors, the cooler weather, football, Thanksgiving, and Pumpkin spiced everything! There is no question autumn has come because everything changes right before our eyes. With every season’s change, I am reminded of the quote from the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, “Change is the only constant in life.” While this may be true of every part of creation, it is not true of the Creator. Scripture is rife with reminders that though we are like the grass that withers and fades, the word of the Lord stands forever. (Is 40:8, 1 Pet. 1:24)

The last few months have been a mixture of warm and sometimes unseasonably cool weather. They have also offered a mixture of excitement, sometimes a little uncertainty, a lot of love from our new church family, and new adventures. But as summer turns to fall, and fall turns to winter and so on, we know that God never changes.  He is always with us, never leaves us, and never forsakes us. And that, friends is worth holding onto in a constantly changing world: A God who remains unchanged.

 

In His Service,

Pastor Jared

Unless HE Builds

Before I share a bit of testimony, I would like to say a word of thanks again to all of you at TBC for the amazing welcome my family and I have received from you all. From the help moving in, setting up, reception, cards, stocking of our pantry and so much more, we have truly been so blessed by our new church family!

One other word of thanks I would like to give is to your pastor search committee. They put in so many hours of hard work and prayer for a very long time. There is no question that they earnestly sought God for His plan for TBC and conducted themselves professionally, courteously, and lovingly. They truly gave their best and have been and will continue to be an encouragement to me and a blessing to their church.

As I shared on my first Wednesday night here, the task of building a church can be a daunting one. In Matthew 16:18, Jesus says, “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Though we all have been given a part to play and are working to fulfill the Great Commission, it is ultimately Jesus who builds the church.

A few months ago, after meeting with you search committee I had a bit of a sleepless night. When God begins to do a work, there is no question Satan tries to foil those plans. We had come to the realization that God was leading my family and TBC together but then the enemy’s words began to creep in. “You’ll never be good enough.” “What if you fail?” “You’ll eventually make them not like you and you will not be able to build up this church!” Thankfully, God had already planned for this attack.

I had been reading through the Psalms during my time of searching for our next place of service and the next scheduled reading was Psalm 127. Here is what verses 1&2 say, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.”

I closed my Bible and began to pray and try to keep my teary eyes from catching the attention of the two or three stragglers checking in at midnight at the Gettysburg Courtyard by Marriott. There really was no question that God was calling us here before Satan’s attack but when he does attack, God is always there with an answer to it.

We will have some difficult times ahead as a church family. We will also have some great victories. But through it all we must remember that the task of building up the body of Christ here at TBC is in the hands of the one who had nails put through His hands to save it. We do however get to work with Him because we are His tools. So let’s get hammering!

 

In His Service,

Pastor Jared