Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

God was there.

Lake Monroe, IndianaSave me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God. (Psalm 69:1-3, NIV)

These words pretty well summarize what David experienced–not the David who penned these words but David Richards, my brother-in-law.

David died last Friday.  He drowned in Lake Monroe, about 60 miles south of Indianapolis.  He was a strong, 33-year-old father of three who was just out to have some fun with his boys, like they had done many times before. Continue reading

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Learning More about Jon Kirby

Here is the audio from our public question & answer time with Jon at Heather Hills:
Q&A with Jon Kirby

Here is the audio from Jon’s teaching on spiritual development at Heather Hills:
Four Essential Commitments for a Spiritual Development Ministry

Heather Hills Welcomes Pastor Jon Kirby!

 

Pastor Jon Kirby

Pastor Jon Kirby

This morning in a special business meeting of Heather Hills Baptist Church, the congregation called Jon Kirby to be our Associate Pastor of Spiritual Development with an 87% approval vote.  Pastor Kirby will largely focus on the areas of discipleship and Christian education at Heather Hills.

 

We welcome Jon, Janel, Amber, Alisha, Tanner, Abby, and Trent to our church family and eagerly await their mid-June arrival!

This brings to an end a nearly five-month search with over fifty resumes having been reviewed.  We are grateful to the work of the search committee and praise the Lord for His leading!

Pastor Kirby’s message which was read to the congregation today following the call was:

I praise God for the confirmation of His call on my life to minister alongside Pastor Brian, Pastor Bob and the Leadership Team at Heather Hills Baptist Church.  The Kirby family is eager to be with you and to build Christ’s Kingdom together.  Our focus will be to follow Christ with all our hearts while manifesting the fruit of the Spirit to each other and to the world.  By His grace we will all accomplish these goals together for His great glory.  Colossians 1:9-10 says, “we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”  See you as soon as possible.

Praise the Lord!  He is good!

Heather Hills to Candidate Jon Kirby This Weekend

jon-and-janel2

After 4 months of searching and investigating over 50 resumes, I am excited to announce that Heather Hills is candidating a man for our new position of Associate Pastor of Spiritual Development!  It has been a rich process thus far and we have been able to interact with many godly men around the country who are seeking the Lord’s will.   However, in the end, one of our applicants has risen to the top of the list and has been unanimously recommended to our congregation by both the search committee and leadership team. Continue reading

“Biblical” Models of Marriage

2nd_century_hebrew_decalogueAccording to Newsweek’s Lisa Miller, the Scripture is not a good source for supporting traditional marriage.  For example, here is the introduction to the article published Monday:

“Let’s try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does. Shall we look to Abraham, the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his beloved wife Sarah was infertile? Or to Jacob, who fathered children with four different women (two sisters and their servants)? Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel—all these fathers and heroes were polygamists. The New Testament model of marriage is hardly better. Jesus himself was single and preached an indifference to earthly attachments—especially family. The apostle Paul (also single) regarded marriage as an act of last resort for those unable to contain their animal lust. “It is better to marry than to burn with passion,” says the apostle, in one of the most lukewarm endorsements of a treasured institution ever uttered. Would any contemporary heterosexual married couple—who likely woke up on their wedding day harboring some optimistic and newfangled ideas about gender equality and romantic love—turn to the Bible as a how-to script?” Continue reading

By Faith…

In our search for God’s next ministry location for us, my family is starting to get “faith pains.”  My kids are asking me several times a day, “Dad, did [name of church] call today?”  “What about [name of church]?”  Last night, my wife looked up at me and said “I don’t think I like waiting very much.”  Of course, as the unwavering spiritual leader of the family, I give them all the exhortation they need to continue to trust and not be anxious. [false piety intended]

What I don’t tell them is that Brian gets the “faith pains” too.  Even though the Lord has given us some very positive experiences through this process, the waiting doesn’t get any easier.

Part of the problem is that we are so accustomed to instant gratification.  We live in a society that demands such immediacy.  Particularly in our cities, the “rush hour” is a misnomer; our real problem is a “rush” lifestyle as we scurry from one event to the other.  When we are forced to a standstill, by traffic jams or extreme weather, we get angry.  We call it “road rage”; God calls it sin.

Recently, I had the privilege to visit a rural section of the Midwest.  As I drove through miles and miles of countryside filled with fields of corn and soybeans, I started reflecting on the differences between that culture and the culture in which I currently live.  There is a patience and a calmness in people from “the country” that people from “the city” can learn a great deal from.  Many of the people in this particular area are still involved in farming.  Now there’s an occupation with some history!!  I didn’t know much about the particulars of farming so I asked lots of questions.  Although with the advancement of technology, farming has made incredible strides, it is still a job that requires patience.  Seed can only be planted so quickly.  Corn will only grow so quickly.  Flooding, drought, bugs, and animals can slow and even destroy productivity. 

A city boy would be greatly frustrated.  “Why does it take so long to grow?”  “Why are the work days so long”  “Can’t you make that tractor go faster?”  “You do all this FOR CORN?!”

The farmer will just smile and continue with his work.  You can’t hurry the work of God.  He establishes the timing.  He brings the sun and the rain.  It’s just the way things are supposed to be.

It’s interesting how at different times in our lives certain biblical characters give us needed hope and guidance.  For some going through deep waters, the testimony of Job is significant.  For those needing to be inspired by the huge task ahead, Nehemiah provides a sterling example.  For me, right now, Abraham’s my guy.

Of course, I know the stories of Abraham–have since I was small.  But now, in a sense, I’m walking in his shoes:

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. (Hebrews 11:8, NKJV)

I could put my name right in there with Abraham.  The Lord is leading.  I am obeying.  I haven’t a clue where I’m going.  And…

I believe God.  I really do.  I firmly believe not only in his all-encompassing knowledge but also in his personalized plan for my life.  I am so excited for what He has for me.

I’m sure there were times when Noah paused from his ark-building to wonder when the rain would fall.  I’m sure Moses looked up to God and wondered how much longer they would wander in a desolate wilderness.  And I’m sure that there were times that Abraham wondered where God was taking him.  I wonder too.

But what marks followers of the one true God is that we continue to trust, we continue to follow, we continue to obey.  It’s called faith.  We don’t have to know the end of the story right now.  We just have to know the One Who has already been there and Who is leading us there step-by-step.

I think I know why I enjoyed the peace and tranquility of the “country.”  It’s because God has called me to be a shepherd.  I can’t wait to meet my next flock!

The Aftermath

Well, I hope I don’t have to go through that again any time soon.

Hearing the announcement come from my pastor’s mouth made everything finally seem real.  I struggled through a few words of love and hope to the congregation, then walked around with watery eyes as person after person expressed love and encouragement to me.  Believe-it-or-not, the hardest people to tell were not the adults–it was the children in junior church.  These were some of my charges; I am as much their pastor as my senior pastor is to our adult church family.  Their sweet, innocent faces, obviously not understanding the whole reality of what I was saying brought a choke to my throat.  I have loved ministering to children in our church the last several years.  We have studied so much of the Word of God together.  Many of them have been saved and baptized in the last year.  I felt like a father saying goodbye to them.

While we do not know right now where God will lead our family, it was encouraging to hear so many of our friends affirm our decision.  They were so kind in their words.  God says that in an abundance of counselors there is safety.  I do have a sense of safety in our decision to pursue a senior pastorate, despite the unknown before us.  Our life of faith is again as active as it should always be.

Now we turn to a period of divided focus: finishing well here and finding our new ministry home.  I’ve put the resumes out and people are reading them.  Now we’ll wait and see what God will do.

Pray for us.