Big News!!

It’s been a jammed back couple of months with summer ministries, support development, family time and preparing for an exciting fall. Many of our prayers are being answered and God is at work in many ways. Many of you have prayed that God would provide our church the right space at the right time and the right price!

I’m pleased to announce: New City Church has a permanent space. Read details below!

The Right Place
Over the last 3 years God has been faithful in helping our church establish a strong presence in the riverfront area of Long Island City. This area is defined by about 20 square blocks. Our prayer has been that God would provide a space within that area for us to use on a weekly basis. This past month we have been able to secure the use of the Hunters Point School campus for our Sunday services.

This campus is in the heart of that 20 block area and is directly across the street from our 17 acres of waterfront park. It is the newest school in our neighborhood and we will have access to a brand new auditorium that will allow us to provide seating for up to 350 people. We will also be able to use others rooms in the school for children’s activities on Sundays. We are also in negotiations with a new preschool facility next door to the school to be able to use their facility on Sundays to provide programming for our birth – 4 year olds.

God has truly provided us with an incredible meeting space.

The Right Time
God has been so faithful to provide more space at the right time. When we first began to meet as a church, we gathered in the living room of Patrick’s apartment. When we out grew that space, God opened the door for us to use the community room in this complex. For the last 15 months that room has been a perfect fit for us. As the door closed on that space God was opening the door to our new space which we will have use of the first Sunday in October.

The unique thing about the first Sunday in October is that it falls on the same weekend as our annual community carnival. Last year we had close to 1,000 people come out to the carnival and we are expecting an even bigger crowd this year. How amazing is it that on that weekend we also get to tell people about our new meeting location that is directly across from where the carnival will be taking place! We are praying that God will draw many people from the carnival to join us for church on that Sunday!

The Right Price
During our search for a permanent meeting space we have looked at places that could have cost us up to $8,500/month. Each of these spaces would have given us a maximum seating capacity of around 150 people. The majority of these spaces would have also required some extensive build out that could have cost us around $100,000. Last week we got our final price on the school and it will cost us only around $2,000/month to have access to it every Sunday. With the additional cost of renting the preschool facility next to it we are looking at a total monthly rental cost of $2,500. This will give us seating capacity for over 350 adults, an area for older kids and access to a state of the art preschool facility.

There are some upfront costs for items like a sound system, projectors, pipe and drape, signage and children’s equipment that we will need to purchase. We have no doubt that God will provide for each of these needs as well.

Prayer Requests:

Pray for our church as we move into our new home. Pray that God guides us as we direct our ministries and our teams into this space and that God will grow our church not just numerically but spiritually.
Pray for our LIC Fall Carnival that is October 3rd. Pray for our mission partners that will be a part of that event and pray for our community members who will come be a part.
Pray for my housing. I’m in the final phase of approval for my affordable housing apartment and it has been a rollercoaster to say the least.

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I need to see you!!

It’s that time a year again. My annual pilgrimage to Tennessee to share with you lovely people about what God is accomplishing through His work in NYC. Please join me as I share an update on life and ministry and enjoy delicious homemade desserts.

Click the links below at the location nearest you and RSVP as soon as possible.

Cookeville, TN Monday August 17th, 7:30
Nashville, TN Thursday August 20th, 7:30

Prayer Requests: 

Continue to pray for my housing. I have been waiting for weeks to hear back about final approval on the affordable apartment. I’m confident God has a plan for my housing but as you can imagine I am growing impatient.

NCC will be moving into Hunters Point Campus School in September, praise God for this amazing provision and pray for our church as we transition into this new home.

Pray for those we had contact with over the summer and those who have made commitments to Christ recently. Pray God will lead them into healthy discipleship relationships and their love for Him will continue to grow.

Pray with me for my sister Ashley who is struggling to find employment. Pray she finds God’s path for her career and comfort as she waits.

Pray for my time in TN that God will be faithful to provide for my needs through my fundraising conversations and events. Pray I will find a time of rest after a busy season of ministry.

Overly Emotional Post about Relationships

For some of you this post may be overly emotional, but I guess I am having an overly emotional day and I just want to share it with you! I talk a lot about relationships and sometimes I feel like a broken record, but I love that God designed our lives to be spent with others and I love that these relationships are key to our health, happiness, and spiritual journeys.  I am the most lost and spent when my relationships are out of balance and the most encouraged and refreshed when my relationships are healthy and active. Recently, my mind has been filled with thoughts of how these relationships flow and how God uses them to shape lives. Take a look at these three difficult aspects of relationships and what God is teaching me in each one.

When those closes to you live far away

At each stage of my adult life I have wondered why God has placed me so far away from those that mean so much to me. In college, it was high school friends that I wish were at the same college, in seminary it was my family living in another state and college friends settling down in places I was sure to never live. In the past 10 years its been countless people whose lives impacted me for a short time. If I were honest, I would say my deepest desires would be that all the people important to me would live in the same place and our relationships would always be strong and meaningful; that we would share the mundane details of each others lives each and every day. That phone calls wouldn’t be “tell me about your last month and whats important in your life right now” but rather “this funny thing happened to me today”! I wouldn’t look at cell phone pictures of the most adorable babies in the whole world and wonder when I would get to hold them again! My heart breaks in moments like those and yet here I am 800 miles away from family, 1000s a miles away from friends that mean the world to me.

I have laid awake many nights thinking about how I can solve this problem. Moving back to TN would put me closer to those precious babies and many of those friends but there would still be many of these friends hundreds of miles away. Staying here helps me develop new and deep relationships in a place I love but still leaves miles and miles between me and some of my favorite people. God placed each of these people into my life in specific times and the reality is that now He has called us to different places and different people so I will continue to cherish each of these friendships and spend precious moments with them when life allows it.

When your longing for that one relationship thats suppose to be above the rest

I almost don’t want to mention this for fear of the pity and/or anger it might in still in some of you but I feel like many of us have this struggle. God created us for intimacy in relationships and a desire to share our life with family. I often desire that God would fill this void in my life that no friendship ever seems to fill. I long for a husband to serve alongside, to encourage, to love and to have a family with. I long for a person who will choose me over others and who will protect me above anyone else. I’ve romanticized this relationship over and over again as I watch friends and family live out these lives and as I have watched romantic comedy after romantic comedy. For years of my life I waited around for God to provide this, thinking my life will start when I get married. Well, looks like my life started many, many years ago and God’s plans for my life are different than my hopes and dreams of romance and a man guiding and protecting me. Now, luckily God knew He could provide those things through other men in my life and I am very grateful for Godly men who lead and guide me through some difficult times and those who lovingly encourage me to serve and lead the way God has gifted me.

What I am learning here is that, no matter what I thought my life would look like God has a better plan and His love and care for me goes way beyond what an earthly companion could provide. And while I am still hopeful God’s plans at some point involve a husband and children I am ok if it doesn’t.

When relationships aren’t enough

Heres the real kicker! I often feel restless even in the closest of relationships, I believe thats because we are created to long for a relationship with our Lord and Savior that will only be solidified in our eternal walking and talking with him. Until then I will press on in these very important, very special earthly relationships.

Sharing life together, Part 2

Recently I watch a new TV pilot about a man who survived a deadly virus that killed off the rest of the human race. The first twenty minutes or so of the show, the man goes from state to state trying to find life, once he finds no other human life he returns home and spends several months living life alone. He creates crazy games (mostly destroying things), he starts talking to balls, fights with God and lives like a pig. At first glance I see the appeal, what if there really were no repercussions to your actions, what if you blow up a car by crashing it into another car and no one cared? What if you had free reign of all places and things? Sounds cool right? Well, pretty quickly you begin to see his misery. He’s lonely, bored, and over it. He gets ready to kill himself when he sees smoke in the distance. Someones out there! He meets a lady who apparently is the only other survivor and although they don’t hit it off right away, this gives him hope and a reason to live.

As I shared in my last post, sharing life together is a very important part of our lives. We weren’t meant to live life alone. God called us to care for one another and share each others burdens. In 1 Thessalonians we read, Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us. (2:8)

This verse is a favorite of mine! It was also a very important verse as I prayed through and thought about moving here. It’s my heart’s desire to share the gospel and my life with others! As promised in the last post, I want to share with you about a few of these people I share life with here:

Evelyn and Todd: Todd is a writer and Evelyn is a stay at home mom. They first came to our church after moving into the building where we meet. Evelyn expressed that she wasn’t a Christian but that she enjoyed spiritual things. From that morning, we began hanging out with them and getting to know them. Over the next 9 months, many of us at NCC became friends with them and had conversations with them about the Lord and why a relationship with Christ matters. Recently, Todd and Evelyn have been to many of our Sunday services and I love watching them take in the word of God. A couple weeks ago we learned they would be living the city, moving for his job. I was so sad to lose their friendship but grateful God gave us the chance to spend time with them before they left. The last Sunday they were at church the gospel was proclaimed and I trust God will continue to work in their lives!

Student missionaries: Over the last couple of months, I met Andrew, Daneja, Dejanira, Emily, and Jordan. These are 5 student missionaries serving through NAMB. It was such a blessing to get coffee with these young adults and talk with them about ways God is using them in the city to share the good news. Each of these students have amazing stories of the journey God has brought them on and through in their lives. I have seen them in action in their work and been blessed by their spirit to serve and grow as God uses them to call people into relationship with Christ. Its amazing to share in this journey with them!

Ladies Small group: In January we kicked off a monthly women’s gathering at New City. Each month the ladies of our church gather for a prayer and fellowship time. Our first gathering we served dinner at Hour Children. It was fun to cook together and spend time in prayer as we prepped our meal and then serve the ladies dinner and fellowship with them. I love the ladies of our church. We have so much fun together!

Bill: Through our desire to be a light in our community and to serve those around us, NCC connected with our local parks volunteer organization soon after we moved to the city. Very quickly we became good friends with Mark and Bill who led out in that organization. Our volunteer teams and church members spent many hours cleaning, weeding, and planting in our park alongside Bill. Bill was a lot of fun to work with and hang out with and I loved hearing his stories about LIC from 20 years ago. Bill was one of the first residents in the waterfront area and watched the community grow and blossom into the place it is today. Bill would often say our church was “invaluable” to our community. That stuck with me and made an impact on my life. Bill passed away a couple weeks ago from a short battle with cancer. As I thought back about our friendship and all that he meant to our community, I realized Bill was “invaluable” to our community! I will never forget him or the impact he has made. Our short time shared together here on this earth was a great reminder of why God has called me to this place!

As always this list isn’t exhaustive but just a small fraction of the people I come in contact with day in and day out! I’m grateful to share my life with believers, nonbelievers, fellow laborers, and friends! Thank you God for designing our lives to be lived together.

Prayer Requests:

Pray for the hundreds of students that will serve through NAMB this summer. Right now they are finishing applications and making decisions about where they will serve. Pray for the 4 students that will serve with New City Church this summer, that God will give us a great summer sharing in ministry together.

Pray God will continue to open doors for new relationships in the city.

Pray for NCC as we continue to seek God’s plan for long term ministry in our area.

Sharing life together, Part 1

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up… And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

From the creation of humanity, people have shared life together. Adam received a helpmate from the Lord because the Lord saw that it was not good for Adam to live life alone. So too, we must share our lives with others. Think about the lowest moments of your life, were those spent alone? Did those around you brighten these sad moments? I know for me I feel the most low, most fear, most sorrow when I am alone. Just last night, after having spent 3 wonderful days with my sister and a dear friend, I sat in my room feeling alone and sad. Moments later I was in tears, feeling the weight of the separation from those I love, feeling the burden of sorrows I had been thinking on all weekend. While I rejoice in the ability to grieve losses and experience emotions, its strange to me that those burdens feel so much heavier when I am alone.

The joy of relationships lighten our loads and make burdens easier to bear! This truth has been real in my life in many, many ways. Part of my call to live in NYC was to share my life with those who needed to know the hope of Christ. While that has made for some difficult and lonely moments, I believe these relationships are God’s plan for leading many into a relationship with Him. Relationships with other missionaries give me the strengthen to continue on. Relationships with family, friends, and ministry partners back home give me the encouragement to continue to live life on mission.

The verse above points to some wonderful truths we see packed throughout Scripture. Our lives were meant to be shared with others and its through that sharing of life together that we are able to not only grow but also survive. Our lives revolve around relationship! Much of my job is about relationships! Much of my last couple of months have been about building new relationships and putting people into relationship together. Church planting is about relationships! My new role with NAMB has enabled me to be a part of relationships with other missionaries in the city and hear about their journey! Sharing life to together is important stuff and should be celebrated and encouraged!

In Part 2 of this post, I will share with you about some of these important relationships in my life here!

Prayer Request:

Last week a dear friend of ours in LIC passed away after a short battle with cancer. Pray for his friends and family and for our church as we speak to the hope we have in life and death.

God continues to move in our church, yesterday we ran out of chairs for service! Thats a great problem to have! Pray God continues to open hearts and minds to the gospel and will use New City Church to bring people into relationships with Christ.


**Friends sorry for the long break from my blog but the adjustment to a new schedule and new role have made it a bit more difficult to set aside time to reflect and write. I never want to just write to be writing so that reflecting time is very important to me. 

The Fruit of the Spirit’s a banana

Well actually… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

Over the last nine weeks NCC small groups have been studying the fruit of the spirit. We learned that this fruit is God given and we are able to live it out through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We also learned how each of these traits are a part of who we are but are also a part of what we do.

As we studied these character traits God brought to mind people in my own life who live these out and I thought it would be fun today in my blog to share with you a bit about what I learned through this study and an example of these things lived out.

Love
The fruit of love is about loving God and loving others. My Nashville friend, Jessica Kerr, is a great example of love. She loves the Lord with all her heart, mind, and soul. She loves her neighbors, she loves even those she hasn’t meet. She was such an encouragement to me as I moved from Nashville to NYC and showed love to me in a real way. She also loves and cares for her sisters and their children in a selfless way. When I think of loving well, I think of Jessica.

Joy
Probably my favorite fruit of the spirit. Joy is the internal peace and fulfillment that comes from deep within and is not related our circumstances. I know lots of joyful people but I’m going to go way back for this example of joy. When I was in 5th grade I had a crush on this college student at my church, his name was Paul and I called him Smily b.c he always, always had a smile on his face. Although I didn’t know Paul well, his joy and zeal for life always encouraged me and reminds me to this day to be joyful always.

Peace
Peace is an inward confidence that doesn’t depend on the ever-changing circumstances of life. My NYC friend and co-worker, Casey Hyde, displays this to me perfectly about once a month. His demeanor, character, advice, etc is a constant reminder that God is in control of life’s circumstances and that uncertainty and challenges aren’t to shake our faith or confidence. Over the last few months this has been a struggle for me and I am so grateful for a peaceful friend to encourage me through it.

Patience
Endurance, constancy, steadfastness, and perseverance describe patiences well. Nashville friend and roomie Jennie Bowling, is probably the most patient person I have ever met. I cannot remember a time or conversation with her over our 6+ years of friendship where she questioned anyone’s time tables, let alone the Lord’s. She exudes this patience in every area of her life, with family, friends, work and her future.

Kindness
Kindness is an active expression of our love of God and others. These actions can be simple or complex but either way kindness is one of the most sincere actions of a person’s character and are selfless. One of the most kind and selfless people I have ever met is childhood friend and college BFF, Ashley Buckner Sims. Ashley lives a pretty selfless life and shows kindness to everyone she comes in contact with. While in seminary, Ashley and her husband David selflessly showed kindness to me financially many times. She is always there to lend a helping hand or express a kind word!

Goodness
Goodness is kind of like inward kindness. Its not necessary an action but more visible in a person’s overall character. While working GA camp as a teenager, I became friends with Melody Maxwell. Melody’s life is glaring with goodness, from heart, to attitude to actions, I don’t think I know a person more marked by this fruit of the spirit.

Faithfulness
Faithfulness to God, in relationships, to our churches and with our resources are traits of a dedicated Christ follower. Also a friend from my GA Camp years, Katie Swarthout Lee, has been a faithful friend for more than 14 years. We reconnected when we were both living in Nashville and I have watched her faithfulness lived out in her service to God, her church, and with her resources. This has never been more evident than since I moved to NYC. I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive, encouraging friend who has faithfully led our church and some of her own family to partner with me in ministry here.  She is truly a champion of my ministry!

Gentleness
Gentleness is described as mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit, and meekness. This doesn’t mean a weak person but more a person who lives with strong faith and love and expresses themselves with a gentleness that many lack, including myself. One of my newest NYC friend Jina Taylor, embodies gentleness in her speech, hugs, kindness and life. During our small group discussion, we talked about how Jina was so gentle. The next Sunday after church, I had lunch with Jina and her husband Matt and she was telling me about a difficult coworker and I kind of baited her, asking how she responds to her, and as I suspected, she handles this coworker with gentleness and kindness in a way I am not sure most of us would. I really look up to her for that.

Self Control
A self controlled life is lived through the Holy Spirit, not given to overindulging in passions and desires and keeps an appropriate view of self and God. Each of the other fruits of the spirit is possibly when we live in self control. My seminary friend and now missionary in Asia, Emily is a great example of self control. Much of our friendship has been spent on different continents but in the times we lived together I always saw her in control of her body and spirit and using the resources God gave her to further His kingdom. I now see this lived out in the sacrifice and control she demonstrates as a missionary.

Can you share with us someone in your life that is living out a fruit of the spirit? Share below in the comment section and then encourage them to check out this article.

**as an editorial note, this list is in no way exhaustive, there are many many wonderful people in my life living out the fruit of the spirit, I made this list simply by praying that God would lay people on my heart to give example and I went with the first people He placed there!

New, new, new

We all love new stuff! New clothes, new babies, new toys, new everything.  I love meeting new people and sharing my life with new people.

This past month has been a whole lot of new. I moved into a new apartment and began sharing my life with these three new people.

I want to introduce them to you!

Sarah is a college freshman, fresh off a Kansas City farm (ok, well I don’t think she lived on a farm but it sounds good)… she moved to NYC the day she moved in with us to attend Mannes College to study Piano.  She keeps her room a little messy (I can relate) and does her hair in the living room.  She’s gluten free and cooks her dinner a lot.  She does funny stretches in the living room while we are talking and wasn’t even alive with the show Friends first aired.  I am excited for her and her journey in NYC and find it fascinating to live with someone in college and think back about my experiences when I was her age.

Corinne is a NC transplant who moved to NYC just because she loved it so much. She has spent the last year trying to find her place in this crazy circus, she would tell you its not be a fun journey but I admire her tenacity and dedication to living out this dream. Like me she loves babies, watching Friends, and getting to know other people, unlike me she likes to clean and is also gluten free so she cooks strange things, and she sings strange songs out loud. She is a nanny by day and a Container Store employee by night (or weekend).

Chelsi (yep with an i, its so cool) moved to NYC this summer to pursue adulthood. She is from OK (like my Shingleton friends), although she recently lived in Morocco. She is a 6th grade math teacher and makes me feel dumb ;). Chelsi loves Seamless (we get along there) and doesn’t do a lot of at home cooking, although she packs here lunch for school everyday.  One morning Chelsi left the house for school before I even got home (she leaves at 5:20, I’ve  come home at that hour maybe two occasions in my whole life). She also loves watching Friends and sharing fun stories. She is the champ who cleaned human feces off our stoop one day.

To say I really know these girls would be a lie, as we only just met but I am thrilled to share life with them and add info to these small paragraphs as time goes by. I am honored to be living with them and I know God uses relationships like these to strengthen and encourage my life.

Photo from left: Corinne, Chelsi, Sarah, and of course me!

Prayer Requests:

Pray for our LIC Community Fall Carnival this weekend. We have been working towards this outreach event for about 6 months now and are pumped to see what God has in store for it. Pray for clear weather, great contacts and conversation, and a fun time!

Pray that God would continue to open doors for ministry in the city.