Another year is coming to an end and today I have flipped the calendar on another year of life. Seems like a perfect time to look back over the last twelve months and reflect on getting older!
2015 was an exciting year for our little family. Just over a year ago we moved to southern California to be part of Grace Church. When we arrived there was a lot of uncertainty to be sorted out and new foundations to be laid. By God’s grace, the church today is vibrant and deepening relationships. In the last year as a church we have installed a new elder council with five very different men all committed to the church and each other, we have moved our Sunday gathering out of a industrial park and into a neighborhood school saving some $14,000 a month, and we baptized nine believers (first baptisms in a long time).
There is much to come as we endeavor to put into place a new vision and mission statement as part of our new book of church order in January and hold our first new members seminar since I have been at the church (more than a third of those who attend are new to Grace int he last year).
I am constantly amazed at how the Holy Spirit uses my preparation and preaching to glorify Christ and he has wedded this group of people together.
My routine has changed quite a bit in 2015 compared to 2014. I have an office in our garage but spend most days at the local library or coffee shops. I am thankful for the flexibility but I do miss having an office fun of people to interact with during the day. Now I take the interaction outside of the office and the coffee is usually a lot better!
2015 also marked the official beginning of our family’s adoption journey. Stacy and I have always known that adoption would be part of our life and now we are in the midst of our home study to bring home a child from East Asia. We have been so blessed by the generosity of friends to help us make this happen and while we have a long way to go, look forward to adding another sweet face to our family.
This year Iona started kindergarten at the public school a couple of blocks away and she is having a blast learning and making friends. She has quite the personality but is such a joy to have around. She enjoys Daddy/Daughter dates and can make anything into an artistic craft. She is also learning to play the piano and is usually the first one to wake up so we get to spend a lot of time together each morning. Just last week she turned 6 and is ready to take on the world.
Ewen spends most of his days as Stacy’s sidekick, but I get as much snuggle time as this three-year-old will give. He is quick to tell you he loves you and always has a smile, unless you ask him for his sad face which is impressive. He has a few good friends his same age in church and is stoked for each play date and days at the beach. He also loves aquariums. He can sit in front of a tank forever watching the fish. We tried to let his hair grow out but it was so moppy we pulled the trigger and trimmed. He doesn’t seem to notice the difference!
One lesson I have learned well in 2015 is that I could not survive without Stacy in my life. She is such an amazing support and friend. She loves to give me a hard time for falling asleep on the couch but she is always up for an adventure. I am encouraged by the way she is quick to love on others and share the gospel. She is such a great mother to our kids and has been in charge of the adoption process giving me tasks every now an again. She gets more beautiful with every day and I can’t believe she is mine!
It has truly been a wonderful year. I still have a lot to learn about being a pastor, husband and father, but the people I am learning with make it so worthwhile. This year I have read some good books, run a few miles, drank a ton of coffee and been completely converted to San Diego weather. I have written a few articles on For The Church and started a little podcast about good news. I am older than I have ever been, but I don’t feel it. Each day God is revealing more of his kindness in the gospel and even the hard days are hopeful rather than dreadful.
My thirty-ninth year (and 2016) has a lot in store and I look forward to all of it, mostly because I get to experience it all with amazing people, and that includes you.