This season of life is full of new beginnings!
Last week Bishop Paul Leeland officially ordained me as a deacon in the United Methodist Church, which is a pretty big deal considering it was about a 6 or 7 year process. People have asked me what I will be doing with my time now, referring to the fact that throughout the process I have been enrolled in many educational opportunities and required to provide much evidence of my ongoing development. It's kind of a funny question though because the point of all of this was not just to get through the process, but to begin a lifetime of vocational ministry. So it was not a finish line, but a starting line.
My wife Elise and I started running races this year, which neither of us have ever really done before. By the end of the year we will have run 6 races including 3 half marathons. It's been challenging and rewarding, but the thing I find myself realizing is that at the end of every race I am already thinking about how I will try and beat that time in the next race. It's actually a little addicting. I'm not even fast, but rather than comparing myself to others I am just trying to compare myself now to how I was before. And this time last year I was not running at all!
Elise and I just closed on a building that is now The Big Blue Center for Expressive Arts, which is home to Elise's new dance studio, Sole Impact, Master's Taylor's Common Ground Martial Arts, circus arts by Cirque Appalachia, and recording studio for Red Yeti Audio, which is my musical producer/ engineer/ friend Everett and his talented wife Caroline. This is allowing us to continue to use our gifts, fulfill our dreams, and give back to our community. We are so excited to see this finally come to fruition and it is surely just the starting line!
It was over 4 years ago that I connected with Jesus' teachings in a new way by writing the Songs from the Mount based on Jesus' sermon on the mount in Matthew 5-7. This summer I will finally finish recording and releasing these songs with my third EP titled Matthew 7. Watch for it on Spotify and everywhere music is bought and listened to! The last song, based on Matthew 7:24-27, is to challenge listeners to be more than hearers, but to also be doers. The point is to go and live out these words, to act differently in this upside down kingdom of God, and more specifically to live out a life of love. So the finish line of this project is once again another starting line. As I continue to sing and play these songs, as I am throughout the summer at FaithBridge and places like Lost Province in downtown Boone, I am determined to not just be about words, but to also be devoted to action out of love.