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A New Chapter Begins in Following the Cloud

Today I can officially announce that I have accepted the offer to enter into the PhD program at Luther Seminary. After much prayer, seeking counsel of mentors and friends, the urging of my wife, the enthusiastic blessing of my Senior Pastor, the peaceful nudging of the Holy Spirit, and the continued miraculous and benevolent financial support of a friend, I sent the “I accept” email yesterday.

What does that mean? Honestly, I’m not exactly sure. Here’s what I do know. I will cut back my official status at Grace to 3/4 time to allow for time away from the office for classes and study. My job description as Pastor of Spritual Formation and Youth Ministries will stay the same, but my motivation to hire a Senior High Youth Director has heightened and the time line has rolled forward. I’d like to get the right person in that spot this fall so that our High School students can receive the care and attention that they deserve. I will continue to lead and teach in youth ministry, but anyone who has been in youth ministry knows that these functions are only the tip of the iceberg for effective ministry. I will also continue to preach and preside in the weekly worship services, teach Adult Classes at Sunday Evenings @ Grace, and manage staff in children, youth, and adult ministries.

Due to the generosity of some individuals, I will no longer need to generate freelance art in Spot Studios to pay the bills. This is HUGE. For the past 18 months, and more intensely since September, I have been working my normal 60-80 hours at the church and then coming home to put in a few hours a day in the studio drawing caricatures and illustrations for clients. I absolutely love creating my art, but it is pretty stressful when I HAVE to do it and the deadlines pile up with deadlines at church. Removing this stress will free up immense amounts of mental real estate. I am humbled and grateful for this opportunity. For the next four years, art will be my stress reliever, not my stressor. Sweet!

Beyond that, I know that I have to take a Theological German class this summer and study for my entrance exams at the beginning of the fall. Over the next couple weeks I need to prayerfully recalibrate my daily and weekly rhythm of life.

If you think of it, please pray for me. I truly believe that this is the place the cloud has brought me. I am not stressed or freaking out. I have a sense of peace that was elusive for many years. It’s amazing what happens when God breaks you and rebuilds you in His way. I just feel like I’m along for the ride and am enjoying the view along the way. I’m just grateful that I get to participate in the expanding Kingdom of God and hope that I can play a part in it that brings glory to God and peace on Earth, good will toward humanity.