One Picture Tells My CentriKid ’13 Story

centrikid 2013

This one picture perfectly describes my CentriKid 2013 experience.  After working on the sermon content, training the camp pastors, and serving as camp pastor myself for 3 camp cycles, this one picture is what it is all about.  Thank you Hannah Golden for sharing it with me.

This group of kids were outstanding.  After worship one evening, they came up as every one else was leaving to ask me a few questions about God, His existence, how God relates to us here on earth, and how Jesus and God are one in the same, yet unique. It started with one question, which led to another and another.  After about 40 questions and an hour of discussion, they were still coming up with more and more questions.  You know how kids are.  Once they get started, they keeping going.

It was one of the richest theological discussions I’ve had in years.  These kids were asking deep, I mean, deep questions about how the narrative of Scripture relates to what they’ve learned about evolution and natural science.  Their questions were smart, articulate, and hard.

To be truthful, they were asking questions I don’t even get asked in my college level Intro to Christianity class.  They were curious and inquisitive and I loved every minute of it.

Teaching kids theology is a passion of mine.  If you can explain hard concepts to kids, you can explain them to anyone.  And these kids were eating it up.  Well, maybe all of them except the kid in the yellow shirt.  He was obviously checking something else out.  Fun.

Thank you LifeWay CentriKid camps and specifically CK2 for letting me serve alongside of you.

May 2012 to May 2013 : A Ministry Look-Back

mayEvery May, at the beginning of my summer break, I try to stop and look back over the past year and reflect on the opportunities the Lord has opened for me to do what I love and was called to do.  This particular 12 months has been a little bit of everything.  Ministry opportunities have flowed from all sides.

From…

  • Traveling to Greece, Turkey, and Switzerland with the Apostles & Epistles Tour.  You can’t beat teaching Revelation 1 on the Island of Patmos overlooking John’s cave.  Indescribable.
  • Finishing one interim pastorate at Lancaster Bapt Church and beginning and finishing another at Living Grace Church.
  • Training young pastors for LifeWay’s CentriKid Camps and then being a camp pastor myself for a couple weeks.
  • Preaching in various pulpits around KY like Corinth BC in London, Immanuel, Pioneer, Hopewell and Bruner’s Chapel BC all in Harrodsburg, Simpsonville BC, and First Bapt Clarksville, TN.
  • Leading training workshops for Eubank BC, Beechland BC, Pioneer BC and First Bapt Clarksville.
  • Teaching breakout sessions at ministry conferences – the CU Transformational Church Summit, the KBC Seminary for a Day, and CU Louisville’s Contagious Churches & Leaders.
  • Serving alongside the tireless LifeWay VBSi & Preview Team as a speaker & breakout session leader in 4 cities: Ridgecrest, NC, Fort Worth, TX, Nashville, TN, and Kissimmee, FL.  This opportunity has been one I will never forget.
  • Great times of sharing with my students outside of class like doing the DNow Team training, teaching alongside Jennifer for BCM about relationships, pre-marriage counseling in our home with Chris Price and Anna Step, witnessing Jacob Howard, one of my guys, ordained to the Gospel ministry, and taking a group of 13 to LifeWay’s headquarters in Nashville for CU Day at LifeWay.
  • All the while completing two amazing semesters with my students in class after class.  Year 5 was my best in class teaching year so far.

It is simply amazing for me to see what God has done in my life, if I would make myself available to Him and His purposes.  As I reflect back, I am overwhelmed by God’s grace and kindness toward me and my family.  This is way more than I could have ever imagined back in 1996 when I surrendered to the call of ministry.  God has taken my 3 loaves and 2 fish and multiplied them time and time again.

Where will God lead from May 2013 to May 2014…who knows?  But wherever He leads, I will follow.

An Open Letter to Living Grace Church : He Who Began

The following is an open letter to the men and women, college students, teenagers, boys and girls of Living Grace Church, Campbellsville, KY, a church I dearly love and treasure.  This is my prayer for you.

Dear Living Grace Church,

Philippians 1:6  I am assured of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

I am assured of this, that He  I am assured that He, God is with you.  I am assured that He, God dwells among you.  I am assured that He, God is near you.  I am assured that He, God is working in you to make you what He wants you to be.  Will you let He, God do more?

I am assured of this, that He who began a good work in you…  He who began this work is still at work.  He who began this work is not finished with this piece of art quite yet.  He who began this work of molding, shaping, chiseling, adding and removing wants to continue to mold, shape, chisel, add and remove until He approves.  Will you let Him work more?

I am assured of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion…  Take heart, you are not complete yet.  You are not perfected yet.  You are not polished and shined up yet, ready for display.  You are still in the completion process and will be for quite some time.  Please my dear friends don’t hinder the completion process, instead beg God to cut deeper, hammer harder, bolt tighter, paint brighter until He decides when you are ready.  Will you let Him complete more?

I am assured of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Christ Jesus.  Full completion ultimately awaits the coming of Jesus Christ.  Ultimately the incomplete bride desperately awaits the coming, glorious Groom.  The longer we wait, the more time that passes, the more our longings for Him increase.  But until then, will you let God do more?

To you my brothers and sisters in Christ, it has been my joy and honor to be your Transitional Pastor.  As we continue to live as neighbors in this little community called Campbellsville/Taylor County, let us look forward to the day when we will live as eternal neighbors in God’s holy presence forever.

Grace and peace,Shane

Jesus and the Cross Verse 6

Part 6 of 6 Jesus and the Cross Holy Week Reflections

Acts 4:12    And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

The last verse of the six Jesus and the Cross Holy Week Reflections tells us there is only ONE way to be saved.  “Saved from what” you might ask.

We must be saved from the very just, very holy wrath of God which will rightly judge sin.  We must be saved from the sin that “so easily entangles us” (Heb 12:1) and causes us to be in direct opposition with a holy God.

We must be saved from the place of torment, a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth (Jesus’ words), a place of eternal fire called Hell which has been prepared for those who reject Christ as Lord and Savior.

We must be saved from thinking that we can somehow save ourselves with our good deeds, our family connection, or our acts of charity in this world.  We can’t do anything to out weigh our sin debt.

We must be saved.  The Bible, God’s inspired Word, tells us there is only ONE way for sinners to be saved.  That one way is by placing our faith, trust, hope, heart and life into the loving arms of Jesus Christ, who died on the cross and was risen again to life.

That is what Easter, or as I prefer to call it Resurrection Sunday, is all about.

Jesus and the Cross Verse 4

Part 4 of 6 Jesus and the Cross Holy Week Reflections

Mark 10:45   For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

The paying of a ransom creates an interesting picture in our minds. We think of a kidnapper leaving a ransom note or a plane being high-jacked and the assailants delivering their ransom demands.  Some form of payment must be made for the child or the passengers to be freed.

Sin has kidnapped us.  Sin has high-jacked our lives away from God.  Therefore a ransom had to be paid.  Something had to be exchanged to ultimately deal with our sin-filled soul.  Yet there is nothing we could ever payback for our wickedness.  Our lives are tainted with ongoing sin and our hearts are wildly corrupt.

So God paid the ransom.  He gave one life to be the ransom for all who believe.  The perfect given for the imperfect.  The sinless savior given for sinful humanity.  The death of God’s one and only Son was a ransom paid in full for those who trust Him by faith.

That happen on the cross.  But how?  You shall see in verse 5.

Jesus and the Cross Verse 3

Part 3 of 6 Jesus and the Cross Holy Week Reflections

John 1:14  And the Word [God the Son] became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

God had dealt with the sin of humankind time and time again throughout the Old Testament.  Making animal coverings for Adam and Eve in the garden.  Cleansing and remaking the world with Noah’s flood.  God gave the 10 commandments and the 613 laws to Moses to govern the people and when the people broke the laws (as God knew they would), He provided an annual Day of Atonement, or day of forgiveness, to cleanse their hearts.

But these dealings with sin were all shadows, or mere pictures, of the ultimate means by which sin would have to be dealt with.

God the Father choose to deal with sin personally.  He did so by sending God the Son to dwell among men in human form.  In sending His only Son Jesus, we not only witness God in the flesh, but we also see in him in his fullest glory.  Jesus said, “If you have known me, you have known my Father also.” (John 14:7)

Jesus was sent to deal with sin. The price to be paid for sin, however, would be costly.  But that is for verse 4.

Jesus and the Cross Verse 2

Part 2 of 6 Jesus and the Cross Holy Week Reflections

Romans 3:10-12 As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

In a world where we constantly prop each other up with our words and admiration, making mini-celebrities out of everyone. In a day and age when we constantly quote mantas from self-esteem gurus and self-help books relying on our own self-sufficiency and pride to make us feel better about our choices. It is quite counter-cultural to think that each and every human being on the face of the earth is a desperate, wicked, corrupt sinner.

I don’t have to call you a sinner for it to be true. But you can call me one any time you like, because I know it is true. It is what the Bible says I am; it is what I know I am. There is none righteous, no, not one.

We often say, “nobody’s perfect” to dismiss our sinful nature and feel better about our shortcomings. But perfection is the standard of Heaven. Remember God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all. There can’t be any darkness in His Heaven.

In order for heaven to be reached, sin must be dealt with by a righteous, holy, just God. And sin will be dealt with, just not by you or me.

Jesus and the Cross Verse 1

Part 1 of 6 Jesus and the Cross Holy Week Reflections

1 John 1:5  This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

God is not like us. We are nothing like Him. He is altogether, entirely different from anything we see, know or experience. While we are made in His image, we only vaguely reflect the attributes of God such as love and forgiveness.

God is holy. God is completely just and fair. God is righteous being completely without sin or fault. God is infinite having no beginning or ending. God is creator and sustainer of all things. God is all glorious, all good, all perfect, there is no darkness in Him at all.

The complete story of the Cross and Resurrection begins with God creating the world, including us, for perfect fellowship with him, but that changed because of sin.

Ending Interim No. 4

IMG_3814

Children’s Sermon @ LGC

On April 14 (4 weeks away), I will be concluding interim pastorate no. 4 at Living Grace Church here in Campbellsville.  I served Living Grace Church as interim pastor back in 2008-09 during a previous pastor search process and again this time around for the past 9 months.

The people of Living Grace Church are wonderful.  They have been so kind and gracious to let me learn alongside of them what it means to be a church that is intergenerational, inter-denominational, multiracial and from every socioeconomic level in our community.

I have been stretched in my understanding of the primary Christian doctrines, built up in my belief in the sufficiency of God’s Word, and saw how stabilizing church administration is essential for a 10-year old church plant.

I give thanks to the previous pastors of Living Grace Church: Pastor Phillip Kelley and Pastor Jason Fox.  The time between my first interim and my second showed how much leadership, blood, sweat, and tears these men invested in LGC.  Thank you my dear brothers for giving your hearts (and probably lots of nights of sleep) to this people.

I also give thanks for my worship leader for the first 6 months Mr. Benson Sexton and his dear wife Kristin, our church media guru.  These two leaders have been invaluable friends to me and my family and diligent co-laborers in the Gospel ministry.

I give thanks to our youth minister Mr. Mike Humphress who has a tender heart before the Lord and a true passion to develop leaders who love students.  I am also thankful for Mrs. Anne Sanders who leads the children’s ministry.  I have been impressed time and time again with her organization and vision for our GraceKids.  Ms. Debbie Ruggles, the church secretary, has been my helper, encourager, and faithful supporter through thick and thin.  She has been a peace-giving force in my life.

I will miss seeing the smiling faces on Sunday mornings.  I will miss the warm hugs from those ladies (and a few fellas) who gave me a hug every week no matter what was going on.  I will miss watching the children of LGC run all over the place after worship.  I will miss being called “pastor” which is a term of endearment and devotion, which blessed me every time.  And “step-pastor” by one dear friend which always made me smile and laugh.

But unlike other interim pastorates which have been in other towns, when this one concludes I will still get the chance to see the people of LGC out and about in our little community, which will always be a treat.

Spring Tour of KBC Churches

rural-church-on-cape-breton-islandFor the past few weeks (and the next few months ahead), I’ve been on a little tour of KY Baptist churches teaching and preaching on youth and children’s ministries and VBS.

A couple Sunday’s ago I had the great honor of being at Hopewell Baptist Church in Harrodsburg with pastor Doug Wesley, a CU alum and now a CU dad, talking about raising up the next generation for Christ.  They had kids running everywhere.  God is working to help them reach children and families in their rural community.

Then onto Eubank Baptist Church in Pulaski Co this past Saturday to spend the morning with pastor Shelby Reynolds, youth pastor James Griffith (CU alum), family pastor Jeremy Johnson and a great group of parents discussing how to disciple our children in Christ.  We had parents from EBC, Beacon Hill BC and Polly Ann BC join us.  Great time together.

Looking ahead a few weeks to April, I get the privilege to spend an evening with the fine people of Hillcrest Baptist Church in downtown Lexington with pastor Tony Hancock and his sweet wife Mrs. Rhonda, the children’s director, sharing about VBS and helping them train their leaders for the upcoming summer.

Then back to Mercer Co. and to Bruner’s Chapel Baptist Church for their spring revival April 21-24.  I will be joined by my dear brothers and fellow CU alums Brandon Carrier, Jason Dunbar, Tim Hervey and Zach Rice of Sola Grace leading the revival.

Finally at the end of April, my wife Jennifer and I doing a family conference for Beechland Baptist Church in Louisville for youth pastor Corey Young, one of my former CU students.  Corey and his wife Jessica are approaching their first year at Beechland and are doing a tremendous job with the students and families.

With all this, I have to mention Seminary for a Day April 13 at Greenwood Baptist Church hosted by the KY Baptist Convention and Campbellsville Univ.  I will be leading a morning session on preaching, which I am really excited about.  It is always a pleasure to be with bi-vocational and part-time pastors encouraging them in their service to the body of Christ.

Ministry opportunity abounds.  God is gracious and kind.

When Pastors Were Songwriters

john newton

John Newton by Jonathan Aitken

I have recently finished the outstanding biography of Pastor John Newton in the book John Newton – From Disgrace to Amazing Grace by Jonathan Aitken.  The life of John Newton is extremely fascinating as the former slave ship captain is saved by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and becomes a beloved pastor and national Evangelical figure in the late 1700’s.

Newton’s pastorates at Olney Church and then at St. Mary Woolnoth of London are well documented by his involvement with the famous English poet William Cowper, William Wilberforce, and the movement to abolish the slave trade.  Of course, everyone knows of his beloved hymn, Amazing Grace, which started out as a sermon illustration for his New Year’s Day message on January 1, 1773.

But more than anything else I have been inspired by the concept of Newton as a pastor/songwriter.  He wrote and published hundreds of hymns that were used in his churches and all over the English-speaking world.  He understood the long-standing power of music, more than the preached Word, to teach, inspire, and transform people into faithful disciples of Jesus.

In today’s world, we normally do not think of the teaching/preaching pastor as a creative, musical type.  Most often he is stereotyped as the lone man in the sanctuary who can’t sing, can’t play an instrument, and will never spend any time penning a song to be used for his congregation.  He is the verbal teacher, not the musical artist.

But isn’t this stereotype a rather new idea of the pastorate?  For the greater part of Christian history, especially post-Reformation, the songs and hymns of the faith were written primarily by pastors and preachers as sermon illustrations and teaching tools.  If you wanted to instill doctrine, you wrote in a song not a sermon.  If you wanted to teach affection and devotion to Christ, you crafted a hymn not a Bible study.

So my question is:  Where have the Pastor/Songwriters gone?  We have Pastor/CEO’s, Pastor/Theologians, Pastor/Authors, and Pastor/Counselors, but rarely any Pastor/Songwriters.

In many ways, the concept of the sacred desk has been re-inspired by the new reformers resulting in young pastors taking seriously preaching and teaching as his primary function.  But I wonder how long will it be until songwriting will return to it’s prominent place in the pastor’s life.

We could use some great music inspired by great study of the Word.  There is no question great music is being written by fabulous songwriters and musicians, only not many of them are pastors.  I think John Newton would be disappointed.

Walk On – New Series @ LGC

walkon2I am so excited about our next message series at Living Grace Church.  For the next few weeks leading up to Easter Sunday, March 31, I will be sharing a series of messages called Walk ON from the book of Exodus.  We will start after the plagues upon Egypt and follow the path of Moses and the Hebrew people took through the desert all the way to Mt. Nebo in Deuteronomy 34.

The Exodus is the pinnacle event of the entire Old Testament, which leads us perfectly to the pinnacle event of all human history, the cross and resurrection of Jesus.  Every Christian, every believer in God, every person in a committed relationship with Jesus need to move away from some things.  We all have “Egypts” in our lives that we need to get away from, but keep drawing us back.

I am praying this series will bring freedom to your life in Christ and for our church, bring us into a clearer vision of what lies ahead, not forever destined to look back at what we left behind.

Feb 10:  Walking Out of Your Egypt
Feb 17:  Walking In-between the Lord
Feb 24:  Walking Through on Dry Land
Mar 10:  Walking in the Midst of God’s Grace
Mar 17:  Around the Mountain of God
Mar 24: Walking Faithfully Until the End

I do hope you will come every Sunday @ 10:30 AM.  And bring your Bible!

LifeWay VBS Preview & Institutes

It has been a great joy over the past two weekends, and again in the coming two weekends, to be part of the LifeWay VBS Preview team.

As many of you know, I came to faith in Jesus Christ through the ministry of VBS (Vacation Bible School) back in the summer of 1987 in my home church, Lewisport Baptist Church.  Since that time, I have been passionate about this ministry to unbelieving children and families through the Gospel bridge of VBS.

So being invited to speak and teach at these 4 events has been an absolute joy and treasure.  I am praying that my story will inspired thousands of VBS leaders, volunteers and teachers to share the Gospel with unbelieving children this summer.  My hope and prayer is that they will make an extra effort to build a bridge to unbelieving children so that they might have a chance to hear about God’s love for them in Jesus Christ.  My desire is to encourage them to go the next mile and make sure we are not hosting another event for our church-kids, but to truly dig deep and think about the spiritual orphans in their neighborhoods and communities that have no access to the Gospel in their homes.

I am asking God to make this VBS summer a banner year in which more children, teens and families hear the Gospel, possibly for the very first time time.  Say Yes to VBS.

Special thanks to Austin Adamec , our worship leader for the events, for the photo.  From Travis Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Worth, TX.

Travis Ave

4 Things I am Most Happy About for Living Grace Church

To my Living Grace friends and family…

I am bursting with joy today and I just had to tell you why. We sang 10,000 Reasons last Sunday which encouraged us to remember all the ways God has blessed us in the past, present and will in the future. Well, I would like to share 4 of 10,000 things I see God doing in our midst at LGC.

1. Our youth ministry on Wednesday nights – Last Wednesday there were over 50 students and leaders attending our ReFuel service. This is tremendous and I am so proud of Mike Humphress and his team for their leadership in reaching students. Reaching teenagers with the Gospel must continue to be a primary ministry of this church.

2. Our Sunday morning worship attendance in Sept & Oct – We are up on average nearly 30 in attendance from the summer. Many of these are college students from our Awaken Ministry, which I am so thankful for. Reaching young adult/college-aged students must continue to be a strong avenue of ministry for Living Grace. They bring so much energy and talent.

3. Our missions focus this fall – So far we have given to the UNITED clothing drive, Change for a Change which digs wells in Africa is happening right now, and starting Nov. 18 – Jan.15 we are going to be collecting can goods for local food pantries. We are making a difference in our community and around the world in the name of Jesus. So proud!

4. Finally, our unity as a body of believers – There is a great sense of togetherness and unity in the house. We come from a lot of different backgrounds, paths, histories and ways of “doing” church, but there is a consistent unity in putting Jesus first in everything we do. I am thankful and inspired by this.

What are you most happy about for Living Grace? Maybe we can share 10,000 reasons together.

The First 60 Days

You are always welcome to join us Sunday @ 10:30 AM.

I have been serving as Transitional Pastor at Living Grace Church here in Campbellsville for just over 60 days.  Just 2 months in and I am really enjoying ministering together with these fine brothers and sisters in Christ.  With the return of the CU & LWC college students, we have seen many more faces come and engage with our faith family just in the last two weeks.

On the occasion of the first 60 days complete, I thought I would share a few reflections and observations I am experiencing so far.

  1. Words will never truly express how thankful I am to Pastor Jason Fox and Pastor Phillip Kelley, the previous two pastors of LGC.  Their leadership from 2009 (when Pastor Phil came) till June of this year (when Pastor Jay left) is quite remarkable.  There hasn’t been a week gone by yet where I haven’t noticed something new and improved that wasn’t present back in 2008-09 when I served before.  The congregation is more mature, more balanced, more healthy, more faithful, more committed to missions, more generous, and more focused on the needs of youth and children than ever before.  I am indebted to these my brothers, friends, and fellow pastors.  Phil and Jay, thank you for laboring so well in this harvest field.
  2. The expanded and ever-improving worship team have been very encouraging to me.  Under the leadership of our Worship Leader Benson Sexton, I am thoroughly impressed each week at this group’s commitment to worship that engages the congregation and lifts high the name of Jesus.  From those on stage to the servants behinds the scenes in the sound and media booth, I love that they are open to trying new forms of worship.  In my very short time, we had reflective and celebrative, somber and serious, passionate and powerful worship times and each week gets better than the week before.  Variety is the key.  Variety builds anticipation.  Variety meets different people preferences.  Variety doesn’t allow the church to get stuck in a “style.”  Great work so far.
  3. The children’s, student and college ministries are thumping.  When was I at LGC before, the children’s ministry was just getting going and the student ministry was slowly gaining momentum.  There wasn’t much of anything for college-age young adults.  But with the church only being 6 years old, those ministries were still in their infancy.  Now in year 10, these three avenues of ministry are growing every week.  Our leadership and volunteer teams for these ministries continue to grow and get better at ministering to these vital groups.  What a change 4 years has made!
  4. Finally, I am thrilled at a renewed passion for missions and outreach.  Every week I see and hear a desire to send people out with the Gospel around the corner and around the world.  From helping widows  and orphans, to mission work in Haiti and Ghana, in supporting local missions through The Blessing at the Well and outreach to our lakefront friends with Green River Lake dock ministry or downtown with the Family Fun Zone.  This heartbeat to go and be the church in the world has really challenge me in my personal walk with Christ.  A huge thank you to Mrs. Emily Fox for her tireless work to promote and lead mission endeavors for LGC.  You too are one of my heroes.

I am so excited about what is happening.  I believe this faith family is maturing to be what God intended her to be – a place that is committed to producing fully devoted followers of Christ.  Thank you for letting me come along for the ride.

Grace, SG

Summer 2012 Recap

Riding a hot air balloon on the 4th of July.

When the blog went down in July, I frantically tried to get it back up and running.  And when I finally got the thing going again, I just didn’t have anything interesting to say or post.  So I haven’t.  But now the summer is nearly over, so I thought I would fire some one-liners about life, ministry, parenting, and the culture.

  • The Olympics – Team USA is awesome, but the Chinese are machines. 
  • Living Grace Church – I am 1 month in and am having a very good time.  The health of the church is tremendously better than compared to 3 years ago when I was here before.  That goes in a very large part to the leadership of Pastor Jason Fox.  His steady hand and commitment to biblical health for the church paid off.  I tip my hat to you my friend.  Well done. 
  • Jennifer’s father – Earl – was in the hospital nearly all of July with a serious infection through out his body.  He is home now and we are very thankful.  God spared his life.
  • CentriKid Camp – Getting to be camp pastor of CentriKid camp was way too much fun.  3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th graders are so sweet and gracious.  They actually paid great attention to the messages each morning and evening, which I didn’t expect.  Organized Mass Chaos (OMC) was pure craziness.
  • Both boys in school – Isaac started 1st grade, Ethan started pre-K.  For 3 hours each morning, not one kid is in our house.  Very strange phenomenon.  I think Jennifer likes the quiet mornings.
  • Chick-Fil-A – Americans can’t spell the name of the store, but they sure do love themselves some Jesus chicken.  The original and the spicy are my favs.
  • Summer movies – Didn’t see anything at all.  Not Batman, not Spiderman, not Brave.  Nothing.  Nada.
  • Books – Great reads this summer mostly from the secular world.  Into Thin Air by Jon Krakaur, Moneyball by Michael Lewis, Theodore Rooseveltan Autobiography, and The Rise and Fall of the Anabaptist by E. Belfort Bax.
  • Downtown Abbey Season 1 – Extraordinary.  Season 2 needs to get on NetFlix asap.
  • Jennifer’s book – The Leaders Guide to “Christian History Made Easy” – was released in July and we got a copy.  I am so happy she beat me to the publishing punch.
  • Greece/Turkey Trip – The May study tour has really helped in preaching and teaching.  I will start my series on the 7 churches of Revelation in September and have tons of video to show.  The dates for Israel/Jordan 2014 are available if you’re interested in traveling with the School of Theology.
  • My sister Crystal got married.  Small, sweet ceremony in a quaint Methodist chapel.  Congrats Sis.
  • Finally Turning 35 – With July came my birthday and officially rolling into the middle-age demographic.  All demographic studies have 21-34 and 35-54 as categories determining young adults and middle adults.  10 years of marriage, 2 kids, a mortgage, a Buick sedan.  Yup, we are middle adults.

Cheers to Summer 2012.  You’ve been a wild one.

Living Grace Take 2

Starting July 1, I will begin a second stint as Transitional Pastor of Living Grace Church here in Campbellsville.

I served LGC way back in 2008-09 for about 6 months as they went through a pastor search process.  That was my first year back in Campbellsville after being away for 10 years.  It was an interesting re-introduction to the community I’d hoped to raise my family in and to the radically diverse nature of church dynamics in the lil’ ville.

While my first stint with LGC was rather short, I have stayed in decent contact with the church and its leaders over the past few years.  I was honored to be friends with both Pastor Phillip Kelley (who came right after me) and also with Pastor Jason Fox (who I will be following).  Actually Jason’s daughter Stella and my boy Isaac are quite the item.

I’ve spent time with both brother-pastors and learned about how things were going at the church.  Maple Trail, my consulting firm, was hired on back in 2009 to do a ministry consultation which gave me more insight into the workings of LGC.

As with any transitional ministry, I will keep my interim ministry philosophy intact with this one…
1.  Don’t change anything unless asked.  And only change things that you can see through all the way till the end.

2.  Don’t start anything new unless asked.  Actually transitional ministry can be a great time to winnow ministry offerings choosing the most essential over the unnecessary.

3.  Only give input when asked.  And when giving input offer more solutions than problems.  There is no need to add burdens onto the lay leadership in the midst of pastoral change.

4.  Pass the baton well by not getting confused about my role.  I am not the starter of the race nor the finisher, just one of the men running a middle leg.  Therefore I do everything possible to help the search team, support the lay leadership, and establish stability across the body.  That way when I leave, everyone is happy knowing we reached the intended goal.

My Last Mid-Week Article to LBC

Copied from LBC Mid-Week Informer May 7, 2012

 Dear Friends and Family of LBC,

With a heavy heart but a rejoicing spirit, I offer to you my last Mid-Week Informer article.  My final day as interim pastor of LBC will be Sunday, May 27, and since I will be out for two weeks on the study tour of Greece and Turkey, this will be my final weekly installment.

When I arrived back in August 2011, only 10 months ago, I found a church in need of love and care.  From all accounts, emotions were raw, tension was thick and conflict was brimming on all sides.  Walt Browning and Bill Oliver tried to prepare me for the difficult situation the church was facing.  I sensed I was coming into a battlefield. 

Yet when I arrived, I found something very different.  There was an immediate connection between us.  I didn’t find a church engaged in battle, I found a people wanting to love their leader.  I was told by Walt early on, “Our people want to love their pastor and want to be loved by their pastor.”  Those words became the hallmark for what I believed God was calling me to do at LBC – simply love the people. 

And you, my dear brothers and sisters, returned that love immediately back upon me and my family.  There wasn’t a Sunday or Wednesday that went by where I didn’t “feel the love” in our midst.  In our times of worship, in prayer, in Bible study, in meetings, when eating around the table, with the children, the teenagers, the senior adults, the various Sunday school classes, with the staff, the deacons, the ministry teams, everyone showed us amazing, abundant love. 

I’ve often been reminded of Paul’s words to the churches in Galatia when thinking about you, my LBC family.  He writes, For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have gouged out your eyes and given them to me.” (Gal 4:15b)  I think you might have done the same for me if I asked.

Deep love and kindred spirits are hard to come by these days.  For that I am so grateful to have shared this time with you.  I will look back on our Wednesday night studies with sincere fondness and a smile on my face for every time I made you do something new.  I will cherish the times I spent with Pastor Nehemiah & Stephen on our Google+ video conference staff meetings.  I will remember with joy walking up and down the aisles on Sunday mornings talking with you, shaking hands, asking how your week has gone.  I will continue to celebrate the increase in giving and attendance, the number of children baptized, and the explosion of community awareness and outreach.

Pastor Harold & his family are going to be so blessed because I know you will extend to them the same love you’ve extended to our family. I love each of you and will be praying God’s best for you in the days to come.

Grace and peace,   Shane