1. Talking to Steve who’s been with Calvary Chapel from when it started with 20 people 15 years ago to now having a regular attendance of 300. He talked about faithfulness to the preaching of the Word as big. I’ve heard several times that their pastor works hard and preaches well. What a rebuke to me. I’m encouraged to persevere in establishing CrossView Church in LA.
2. Talking to Steve about him getting saved at 31 and the power of the Word and someone hearing the gospel repeatedly encourages me with some of my friends that age in LA.
3. The middle and high school students here pay attention better than any other group I’ve preached to. They’re about tied with my CFBC youth group back in the day (2002-2007). What a joy to preach to young people interested and engaged in learning about the glory of God from the pages of Scripture.
4. Hanging with brothers who are way more sensitive to the Spirit than I am. I’m thinking of Will, Ryan, and Kyle. I want to be as sensitive, broken, and soft as those brothers by the grace of God.
5. My friendship with Andyman is more than I could have ever asked for. He’s faithful to Christ. He speaks the truth in love. He pushes me to memorize Scripture and stay sharp in my Hebrew and Greek. He pushed me to rap. He still keeps in touch with me. What a great friend. I would have never thought that in 1999 when he met me in biology class and would pursue being my friend during meals and other stuff that we’d be partnering side by side striving for the faith of the gospel and encouraging each other along the way. What a gift he is to my life. Thank you Jesus!
6. I miss my wife and children. I love bragging about Rock. I wonder how much of that is self-centered sinful pride and how much of it is boasting in God’s grace in my son. God give me wisdom here please and help me to learn to be a better dad and husband.
7. God loves me. He showed it through some of the kids loving me. They challenged me to a snowball fight I couldn’t refuse. Boys won. I got tagged several times, especially towards the end. Three of the boys worked hard to take me down. They succeeded. I love their manhood being expressed.
8. I liked rapping. God was good to push me through Andy forcing me to devote time to creativity and rhymes.
9. God has done more than I could imagine in preaching. I thought the sermon on the glory of God in the church was going to be boring, intellectual, and that the students would not be engaged. But God came through AGAIN! Why do I doubt God? I think part of it is that I want to be careful of presuming on God what he hasn’t promised. I don’t want to coast on gifts and laziness. God used Andy to show me a proverb about the diligent hard working man reaping fruit. I’ve been encouraged to work harder in these days. The sermons on Exodus went well. The story carried the first sermon. I’m not quite sure, in terms of content, what held the attention of the students in the second message. On paper it looks academic and not easily engaging for students. I can only attribute the attention to the grace of God, the shepherding of their pastors, the power of the Word, and the answers to the prayers people have been praying.
10. I don’t know how to take compliments well. I don’t know what to do with them. I don’t dwell on it, but I don’t receive it well either. One kid told me that I’m tied for the best pastor he’s ever had. I know what I should’ve said, but I didn’t think well at the time and just said thanks. I should have said that I’m not his pastor and though I’ve preached this weekend (pastoring him in this way), I don’t have the difficult work of personally pastoring him. What I think he meant to say was that he liked the preaching. So did Rodney. He said he can understand it. Will told me that his small group is enjoying the preaching in that they would rate me anywhere from an 8-11 (depending who you ask) on a scale of 1-10. I know when I was in high school I was not capable of giving a substantial and meaningful comment to go along with, “Thank you for preaching to us,” so I should not be ungrateful or too picky with the genuine efforts of encouragement and love that God is providing me through them.
11. I love CrossView Church and miss my church fam. I praise God for the good text message reports I’ve received and for brothers and sisters who are faithful to build each other up without their pastor for preaching there. I’m thankful for brothers in our church who are growing in their ability to preach on Sundays.