Final Walk through Sacramento

I was able to reflect on my last walkthrough Sacramento this past week.  I grew up in this city and have many different memories of past events which happened at different places all throughout the city.

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Pyramid Building and Delta King

When I think of Old Town Sacramento two of the things that come to mind are the Pyramid Building and the Delta King.  The Pyramid Building is a West Sacramento landmark which I have actually never been to but have always looked for when in Sacramento.  The Delta King is a wonderful reminder of the rich river life history that is found in Sacramento.

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California State Capital

I have spent many afternoons walking through tours in the Capital.  Many of my thoughts here went to my life during junior or senior high.

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K Street Mall

When I view this mall I think of my youth when they had a Thursday Night Farmer’s Market which would fill this street with booths and people.  I really enjoyed this time in my youth.

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Golden 1 Center

The Golden 1 Center is the new basketball arena which was built in downtown.  This beautiful building reminds me of watching many Sacramento Kings games when I was a youth.  One day I hope to come back and watch a Kings game in this arena.

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Golden 1 Center

 

Deputation and Training Trip Results

Cross Country Trip Map

Cross Country Trip Map

I have completed the majority of the travel during a planned 3 month long support raising.  I have been on the road sense July 6th and will not return to my sending church till the first week of October.

EMC

ABWE Training Diagram

There were 4 goals that I had for this trip:

  1. Attend Training in Harrisburg, PA in July 25-29
  2. Connect with Families
  3. Connect with Churches
  4. Raise Financial and Prayer Support
Rock of Ages

Rock of Ages in Carlsbad Caverns

Trip Statistics:

  1. Attended Essential Missions Components Training at ABWE Headquarters
  2. Personally Presented 58 different families along the trip.
  3. Presented at 8 churches, preached at 1 church, met with 10 additional churches.
  4. Received pledges from 15+ families for financial support and 40+ individuals for prayer support.
  5. Over 10,500 miles driven through 21 states.
Drive

Lots of Windshield Time

The final portion of the trip will be in the Sacramento Area where I will get to visit a couple of more churches and meet with families/friends.

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Redeemer Bible Church Youth Group

Knoxville Church Plant

In 2010 I was asked to pray about helping a friend plant a church.  I began praying about helping with the church plant and specifically for the people in the future church plant.  In early 2011 I moved to the Knoxville, Tennessee area to help start what is now Community Bible Fellowship (CBF).

CBF

Community Bible Fellowship

While helping start CBF I was constantly praying for all of the people who were at the church plant and who would come.  After less than a year I had to leave the CBF church plant.  I was not able to see the official launch but kept in touch with some of the leadership to hear what was happening at the church.

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Singing with the body at CBF

While I was away I continued to pray for CBF and was excited to visit this past Sunday.  Seeing all of the people and building where CBF meets greatly encouraged me.  Over the years I mostly heard about the difficulties and trials so I was unsure of what I was going to see at CBF.  I left the service excited and encouraged by the stories of the people in the church plant.  It was a blessing to be able to visit the church, that I helped plant 5 years ago, and share about going to Brazil to help plant more churches.

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Preaching at CBF

Omaha Fun

I really enjoyed my time in Omaha, Nebraska. I was able to catch up with Shanna and experience Omaha. Downtown Omaha is a great place to spend an evening and I was hosted by an excellent family where we enjoyed ice cream pizza.

Check out the cool sky’s which greeted me in Omaha. 

I did not know where the specific border between Iowa and Nebraska is on the Missouri River but now I do.

Looking back at Omaha from Iowa the sun setting behind the city was beautiful.

The bridge from Iowa to Nebraska was beautifully lit up in the evening.

Eyes on the Sky’s

Leaving Knoxville was hard. The weather was kind of miserable in the morning before it cleared up. Overall, I really enjoyed my time praying and thinking as I traveled to St. Louis.

One of the things which I enjoyed on my trip was looking at the cloud formations. Do you remember when you were a little kid laying in the grass and watching the clouds pass over. Today I had the opportunity to look at some of these clouds as I passed through various states. Check out some of these cloud formations and see what different things you may see.

The sky in East Tennessee after the storm.

Beautiful middle Tennessee Sky’s.

Kentucky sky’s provided some excellent views.

I loved the way the Sun was peaking over this cloud in Southern Illinois.

The train of clouds in Illinois was one of my favorite pictures from the day.

Missouri provided amazing clouds also.

Difficulties of Focus

Each one of us has many different things to focus on. There are the usual financial difficulties, living arrangements, car issues, job responsibilities, and relationship issues that everyone seems to be consumed with from time to time. These are all normal parts of life which every individual has to deal with. As I was thinking about this I remember hearing that single people have it easier. From a Christian perspective singles are to be concerned about how to please the LORD while the married are concerned about how to please his spouse (1 Corinthians 7:32-33). The argument normally goes that the single guy or gal has less to worry about and so it is easier for them to focus on how to please the LORD. I have a hard time believing it. I agree that the single man or woman does not have to think about what their spouse would want or need but there are other things which they have to deal with that the married couple do not have to worry about. For instance the single person eventually has to think about someone to pursue or allow someone to pursue them if they are ever going to get married. This will probably lead to them loosing their sole focus on Christ. (At least it is hard for me to do this personally.)

All of this is actually a moot point. Both the married and single are to have a singular focus. Their focus is to be on Christ and his kingdom. Matthew 6:33-34 says “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” The Christian’s focus can be divided but should not be. I was recently reminded of where Peter walks on the water in Matthew 14:27-32. Peter saw Jesus on the water and was focused on him. Peter was so focused on Jesus that he asked to be commanded to come to him over the water. Peter then got out of the boat and walked on the water towards Jesus. As his focus waned he saw the wind and became frightened. Jesus stepped in at that point and took hold of Peter and the storm stopped when they got on the boat. We should learn from Peter that what really matters is not what is happening around him but on simply perusing Christ.

During this month I have simply learned that I need to stay focused on what really matters, my pursuit of Christ. That means living out the gospel by evangelizing, discipling, and serving in the church. This was a hard lesson for me to learn but one which was well worth all the pain.

I think that each of us would live a more fulfilled life if we each focused on what really matters. That does not excuse us from work or things which are not enjoyable or maybe less important in the entire grand scheme of things but it does mean that we should stay focused when doing those daily or life tasks so that we can complete them sooner to get back to what really matters.

Mud Volleyball

Saturday August 20 I had the opportunity to play in a Mud Volleyball tournament fundraiser for Sequoyah High School in Madisonville. We had a great team who won every game we played. Our team had some great ladies who played awesome.  Here is a picture of us resting between games.

I was unable to get a picture of us playing but here is a picture of other teams with mud covered players like how we looked.

I am so excited that even though we were there to play in this tournament I was able to talk with some people about Harvest Knoxville. Continue to pray for the opportunities which we have for witnessing to the community and reaching out to speak with individuals about Harvest Bible Chapel Knoxville.

Funnel Cloud

As I drove into bible study this morning with the Tom’s we saw a funnel cloud form. It was crazy to see the clouds reaching down from the storm in the sky and clearly rotating. I have never driven into a funnel cloud before but we did this morning. It moved past us and allowed us to continue to the men’s study. After a wonderful time at the men’s study this morning we were returning home when we saw this cloud before us. This cloud was not ask dark or rotating like the one we saw earlier in the morning but it was still ominous. As we drove closer to the cloud it began to look less threatening. By the time we got next to this cloud formation it was merely wisps of clouds which were reaching down from the main cloud bank. The weather in East Tennessee is very interesting. I am so thankful for all of the rain which we have gotten over the past week.

Outreach in East Tennessee

There are many ways that Harvest Tellico is reaching out to the community. I would like to highlight two different way’s that we are attempting to reach Monroe County.

The first is our Wal-Mart outreach. Wal-Mart is the primary store for many people in this county. We were able to spend about 3 hours in front of Wal-Mart handing out gospel tracts and invitations to the community. I am so excited for our group. Normally on an event such as the Wal-Mart outreach there are only a percentage of the folks who come but our group was represented by almost every family. That includes a few folks who are not as social. I am so proud of our group for all going beyond our comfort zone’s and speaking with these people who were going shopping. We had many great conversations during which we were able to share the gospel and some facts about Harvest Tellico.

The second way that we have been connecting with the people in the community has been through Open Houses. During these times we set up signs throughout the community inviting people to come, hand out fliers asking individuals to attend, and personally invite our friends or neighbors to this event. It is at the open house were Aaron, our pastor, does a formal presentation about Harvest Tellico. It is during this presentation that we explain who we are and what we are looking for in people who are going to join the Harvest Tellico launch team. I am constantly encouraged by our open houses that the LORD is bringing people who will be great assets and who are genuinely interested. Who can resist the smiles of these three great men who greeted every individual who came to the last open house?

Fresh Water

Fresh water is a great thing. The other day I was able to go with a Tom, a friend of mine, to an artesian well. It pumps about a million gallons of water a day that is so pure and fresh it does not need to be filtered. It was a treat to see and taste. Now I know why Tom and his wife do not drink tap water. When you compare tap water with artesian water the tap water is no where to be found on the scale.

As we were getting this water Tom brought up the story of Moses striking the rock during Israel’s wilderness journey. This actually happened twice during their journey. Once at Horeb (Exodus 17:6) and once at Meribah (Numbers 20:8-11) during this time I can only imagine what it was like being so very thirsty and then having water bubbling out of a rock. That must have been an amazing sight and one which I am reminded of every time I see this picture. Thinking about God’s provision of water for Israel helps me to not doubt God’s continued provision for me now.