This year the theme of our Summer Teen Camping Trip was “National Treasure 3: Gold Rush.” For our time in Scripture we focused on Seeking the Greatest Treasure from Hebrews 2 and 11-12. It was a great camp with plenty of memories, lots of fun, and enough smoke in the eyes to make one nostalgic. In their free time the volleyball court was in constant use.
At the beginning of May a council was called to evaluate my doctrinal beliefs. Men from all over Minnesota came to read my doctrinal statement and ask me questions. There were pastors, teachers, missionaries, elementary school friends, college friends, seminary friends, and others. Upon their recommendation, Liberty Baptist ordained me on June 15th, 2014.
Three men spoke at the service, Jeff Straub, Don Odens, and David Grotzke. The reason each of them took part in the service was because they all have played a large role in my formation as a man and pastor (not to mention Crystal and I have lived in each of their basements for over a month at a time!) We thank God for the experience we have received over the years and the way he has shaped our lives.
One thing we greatly enjoyed doing this summer was visiting the Arboretum in Chaska. Some friends from Liberty, the Sapps, took us out and also gave us a few passes. It was a great treat to take in the beauty!We thank God for friends like the Sapps who continue to encourage us and seek to see our family thrive. There are multiple families like them within Liberty and in our lives that God has used to strengthen us!
Things got somewhat hectic the past six months, so we are doing a little catch up. The next series of posts will be filling you in on the changes that have gone on in our life.
Seth graduated with his ThM in May. That is a Masters of Theology and is designated as a teaching degree. He graduated in 2012 with his Masters of Divinity which is a 96 credit masters and the precursor to the ThM. We thought it would be a good idea to go on for additional education in order to better prepare us and add extra credibility to international schools we will be associated with in the coming years.
The program included postgraduate classes and then a thesis. Seth’s area of study involved “Partiality in the New Testament Assembly according to James 2:1-13.” It was a profitable study and a rigorous research, writing, and defending process…plus, he got a nice piece of paper at the end!
Personal note here: I am very thankful for all the sacrifices that Crystal has made over the last six years while I have studied at Central. She has read many papers, given up many hours, and limited her own desires so I could make it through. It was not easy, but she followed through. I thank God for her.
We recently moved again. In the past two months we have done little more than move stuff around. We moved our possessions out of our home and into a friends home. We then moved furniture and bins up to Brainerd as family came down and visited. In the meantime we moved into a basement of some other friends. We then moved back to Brainerd this past week. Do you see a theme?
In the midst of all of these moves we wrote down a few lessons we have learned from packing our life into Rubbermaid bins:
- It is hard.
- Why have 2 when 1 will do?
- It is liberating.
- The meaningful possessions are often overshadowed by the peripherals.
- An item is only as helpful as it’s accessibility.
- $5 in the pocket is better than an unused clearance shirt in the closet.
- If someone else can use it, and I’m not, why not be a blessing and give it to them?
- When people are in our home do they see us or do they see our stuff?
- Do our decorations tell our guests more about Martha Stewart or our lives?
- Hoarding is not a fruit of the Spirit.
- Tanzen would rather play with us than a room full of toys – and the toys she does like to play with will break.
- If I think “I might use this someday” I probably never will.
- If I don’t like wearing it – I won’t.
- If I put it in the garage sale bin and don’t think about it for 4 months, that probably means I don’t need it.
- If the people selling it at the garage sale can live without it, I probably can as well.
Any you would add?
Here are some of the events of the past 2 weeks:
- May 10th – Seth graduated with his Master of Theology degree (ThM) from Central Baptist Theological Seminary. His thesis entitled “Partiality in the New Testament Assembly according to James 2:1-13” is currently being bound.
- May 12th – Seth and Crystal traveled down to Ankeny, Iowa to participate in doctrinal interviews by Baptist Mid Missions. The council gave their recommendation for us to become part of the missions agency.
- May 15th – We moved out of our home of 5 years in Edina and moved into a basement apartment of friends in Plymouth. We are housesitting for three weeks.
- May 16th – We closed on the sale of our house.
- May 17th – Seth stood before an ordination council composed of pastors, teachers, mentors, and childhood friends. It was an encouraging and enjoyable time to remember biblical truth. The council has recommended that Liberty ordain Seth during a public ceremony in June.
- July 1st – Seth transitions roles at Liberty Baptist from Assistant Pastor to Pastor of Evangelism and Church Planting with an assignment in Spain.
- July 10th-18th – Seth and Crystal attend Candidate Seminar at BMM headquarters in Ohio.
- August – Family time in Montana
- September – We begin our pre-field ministry at churches throughout MN, IA, and WI.
- January of 2016 – We pray we can be leaving for Spain
If you would like to sign up for our monthly newsletters, fill out the form here.
A lot has happened this past year, and we are thankful to God for it.
Specifically we are thankful to God for his:
Goodness and Grace in the times of trouble
Strength which overflowed in our weakness
Provision in our need
Protection in the midst of danger
His Word full of hope and encouragement as we were in the valleys
Gift of Life which only he can give and he can sustain
Gift of Family and Friends to listen and help
Given opportunities to grow
Given opportunities to share his glory
Each of these good gifts have pointed us to the Gift Giver (Jas 1:17).
This prayer is being answered in our lives this year: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom 15:13).
This gallery contains 25 photos.
Before we head out on our Winter Manathon of ’14 I would like to walk down memory lane. *Cue sappy music