I withdrew (resigned; “stepped down;” left) from the church plant yesterday. The day before that, I quit my job as it was eroding my soul and consuming most of my waking hours and not contributing much in the way of completing the mission of God to which I have been called. I am now jobless (Laurie continues with her employment, so we are not completely destitute… yet) and without a local church family. At first glance, this circumstance is a little disconcerting (well, ok…with second and third glances it is disconcerting too), but I have recourse…I trust and believe the Most High God. Because of this trust, my hope is complete and my confidence is renewed. I know that my Father leads me and loves me; I know my Father has prepared good works for me to participate in that will bring glory to Him and lead people into His eternal kingdom. Moments of suffering and seasons of sadness are the preparation of tilled soil for “faith seeds” that will bring a harvest of righteousness and glory for the Savior King. My prayer is this will be true in my life and no moment lived from my life will be in vain for my Lord.
People will ask and legitimately wonder what the reasoning is for my actions asking, “Why are you leaving the church plant?” My response is that I am trusting the leading of my heart which I believe is inhabited by the Spirit of God. For whatever reason, I do not feel “at home in my soul.” When we headed out to Washington, it was with a crystal clear vision that God had inscribed upon my heart. At this juncture, I have not realized the manifestation of that vision… or a solid move in the direction of building that vision. To the credit of my church planting partners, they do not necessarily wholly agree with my assessment. They are wonderful, supportive, godly men and I respect and love them dearly; however, I am unable to communicate my heart and vision to them in such a way that I feel understood. Inasmuch as that is the case, I feel that I am not in the right place and I am answering the call to move on. Maybe I am wrong. I will still trust God. I have had a difficult time in explaining my choices to my partners and my inability to adequately communicate my thoughts has been frustrating and humbling, but I will hold fast to what I believe I must do and trust God in the midst of it all. I realize I haven’t offered a complete explanation for my resignation, but at this juncture it is the best I can do. I shoulder the responsibility for my choices and my actions, ultimately answering to God for them. I believe with everything in me that I am doing what I must… even though I do not know where I am going, I truly believe I am following God.
A second question I anticipate will be; “So, what are you going to do?” My answer is, “I don’t know.” I’m trying to find another job and we’ll probably continue to visit area churches as we did before we started having services with the church plant… but in the big picture, what we will do is unknown for the moment. I’ll trust God for that answer and that direction. I suppose to a lot of people it sounds as though I have lost my ever-loving mind and gone completely off the deep-end of irresponsibility. Maybe that is true. We’ll see. All I know to do is to live the convictions of my heart. I can either trust what I sense is the Spirit of God within me or choose a more sensible and safer route. When I decided to live my life completely for Jesus I decided that I would hold nothing back, that I would learn what it meant to live a life crucified in Christ (Galatians 2:20). I am doing that. If I look like a fool to the world around me, then so be it. If I lose everything materially that I have in this world, so be it. If my dignity, credibility, and status in society is completely erased, so be it. It is not that I don’t care about these things… I do, but I care more about living wholly unto my convictions about what the Word of God is speaking to my soul. So, at the end of the day, I might be crazy. I may have lost my mind. I may not be “interpreting the signs” very well. Ok. Fair enough. We’ll see. I’m in all the way, over my head, crazy in love with Jesus and where He leads me I will follow. No questions. The mission phrase for my Free Methodist Church this year is Live the Story, Tell the Story; my answer is… Ok. I’m in.
Naked, Humbled, and Yelling At Walls
I have consoled myself with reflecting on some of the more prominent examples of absurdity from Scripture and remember that God asked Noah to build an Ark because He was going to destroy mankind (Genesis 6:14), Abraham was asked by God to sacrifice (murder) his own son… the son God Himself had promised him (Genesis 22:2), Moses, a single man, was sent to confront the most powerful nation on earth (Egypt) and lead several million people out of slavery (Exodus 3:10), Joshua was sent to destroy and take over a city by shouting and yelling at its walls (Joshua 6:5). He believed God, shouted, and the walls came down, Gideon was sent to take on an army so great “their camels numbered like grains of sand on the seashore—too many to count” with only 300 men (Judges 7:12), Ezekiel was instructed by God to lay on his side(s) for over 14 months to provide a visual aid for a rebellious people (Ezekiel 4:4-6), God instructed Isaiah to walk through the city naked…for three years (Isaiah 20:2), and there are other examples, but these are prominent in my memory. This is to say, perhaps I am crazy…maybe not, time will tell as it did for these prophets and other men of God. At the end of the day, I know that I love the God who has saved my soul, named Jesus, and there is nothing that stands between He and I. My conscience is clear, so I must obey what I feel I am being led to do. I might be following in good company regardless of how absurd it seems now.
I want to assure those of you who have supported us in our decision to move that we still need your prayerful support. Our vision has not changed, our certitude of conviction to do what we believe God has called us to do has not changed. Quite honestly, this is the reason for our latest decision. So, it is with humility we ask for your continued support and prayers. We need them now as much (or more) than we ever have. Additionally, please keep Dan, Matt, and the family of Trinity Community Church in your prayers as they transition through this change.
Dear faithful readers… I apologize for the lack of updates on the blog lately. I’ve been doing this (the icrucified website and blog) for going on eight years now. Long before blogging became in vogue or the marketing tool that it is for so many people today. I’ve blogged as a means of accountability for my life mission and goals and to keep in touch with my friends and family. During my blog history there have been ebbs and flows of my words; life does that. I hope you understand.
So, let me catch you up on the latest Scoop from the Borden Clan.
For the next few days we’ll be in West Point, NY for the commencement exercises leading up to the graduation of our eldest son, Stefan, from the United States Military Academy. There will be much pomp and circumstance over the next few days and we plan to update you through some of the other social networking vehicles I’ve come to enjoy (Twitter and Facebook). I’m sure you’ll see some pictures here too at some point or another.
We are continuing our transition planning our departure from Western, NY and excited about our cross-country move to Olympia, WA. If you are unaware of what this is all about, you can find out more here (and you might consider partnering with us financially to help us offset the moving expenses). There will be much more on this endeavor as the dates of the move draw nearer, but for now…we are still trying to tie up loose ends and make the departure a smooth one as we leave our existing ministry responsibilities with new and capable hands. Next week I will be leaving to join one of our new ministry team members in Southern California. We will drive together north to Olympia, WA where I will help him and his family move in to their home and (hopefully) find a new residence for the Borden family. Please keep this in prayer. I am also hopeful that I will get at least one job interview as we will need employment to support us during the first stages of our new church plant.
Our big move date is tentatively scheduled for June 30th and as I said we are only about one-third of the way to gathering the costs of relocation. We are selling many of our personal belongings including our automobile (we’ll buy a smaller and older model vehicle when we arrive in Washington with the proceeds…again, hopefully).
Finally, and most importantly, we are greatly encouraged during this season with the abundant presence of God in our life. He is guiding and “speaking” to us daily in so many ways. As I recently told a treasured friend of ours; “Finally, my heart and head are exploding with Holy Spirit inspired meditation, contemplation, planning, and ideating.” I can’t wait to share more with you all. Please keep us in prayer, and stay tuned!
I’ve taken a bit of a blogging break over the past month. It’s not like I haven’t had much to say, but more like I haven’t been able to fully express it. I’ve been working out some things in my head that I feel in my heart as I’ve been reading, praying, and meditating over the past several months. I am sure that I will be sharing these things in the coming weeks as I finally feel ready to start putting the thoughts to paper and work them out in a more formal way… (Warning) I don’t have everything figured out (I doubt I ever will), but I am feeling pretty confident and affirmed in what has been stirring me for some time now.
More to come…
This includes the last day of Catalyst and our travel day (Sat. April 25)
It’s now Saturday…almost Sunday…
It’s been a looooooonnnnng day. As I write and post this blog we’ve been traveling since 6:15am this morning. Truth is we should have been home around 5-6 hours ago. Unfortunately, a rain and thunderstorm in Chicago brought with it lightening and consequently, significant delays. So, here we sit…no biggie; I have a chance to upload my thoughts and update on the last day of our SoCal/Catalystwest experience.
My thoughts in one word: Magnifulous! Really.
Friday was killer awesome; starting out with both Rick Warren and Andy Stanley on the same stage. Andy was interviewing Rick, but it was so much more than that…It was one of the most memorable talks I have heard to date at this point of my life and this is not an exaggeration. I would be willing to bet if you asked any one of the 3200 people at this conference, they’d echo a similar response. This was just the beginning; Craig Groeschel followed Andy and Rick with Francis Chan following Craig. Interspersed between these talks we shared worship and praise together led by the beautiful spirit in Aaron Keyes.
We visited Tony Morgan for lunch and enjoyed hearing from his heart some of core beliefs that he shares for teaching and discipleship ministries within the church. He also gave us a peek inside his latest book Killing Cockroaches.
The afternoon session was a treat as we got to hear from Perry Noble (Teaching and Lead Pastor at the Newspring Church in South Carolina). He was a joy to hear from! Overall, this was one of the most inspirational, affirming, challenging, and convicting sessions I have ever been to in my life.
We were dismissed with time to spare, so we went to the beach. I suggested we return to the place I had visited with my friend Nate earlier in the week, Huntington Beach. It was beautiful and cool. I was able to catch a few nice photos as the sun was gently setting and surfers were catching some of the last waves of the day. I’ve included a few shots in my slideshow below.
Yesterday was our “day 3″ out here on the west coast. Technically, this was our only free day. We got up early to plan our agenda which was to include a trip north to Simi Valley and the Cornerstone Church (teaching pastor = Francis Chan). Following our visit to Cornerstone, we planned a tour of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library overlooking the Reagan Ranch. The end of our day would take us to the Mariner’s Church who is this year’s sponsor of the CatalystWest Conference for a “pre-conference party and mixer.” I took pictures throughout our day and have included a slideshow at the end of this post for your viewing.
Today, we start our conference schedule with a number of inspiring speakers, teachers, and pastors. Our worship music is being led by Hillsong United. The day promises to be a memorable one and I’ll clue you in tomorrow with another update and more pictures. Blessings!
Monday was a long day full of airports (Buff, JFK, Salt Lake, and John Wayne Int”l) and lots of airmiles. We started with a 2am wakeup on Monday and I never hit the pillow until 11pm…it was a “beater” day to say the least. Tuesday (yesterday) was great in a number of ways; beginning with a visit to the super hospitable people of Northcoast Church in Vista, CA. We met with and talked about ministry, small group relationships, multi-site campuses, and got to sit in on a developmental “round-table” session while we were with them. It was a very encouraging and inspiring visit.
After we finished up at Northcoast, we headed south to San Diego and ventured out to Point Loma and the Cabrillo Nat’l Monument which has a world class view. Unfortunately, the photo opportunities were somewhat limited due to the haze and the time of day (taking photos during the middle of the day with the sun glare at full intensity is extremely challenging). I did grab a few shots though, and have put together a little slide show below you can look through.
Later, I managed to connect with my friend Nate. I met up with Nate in Huntington Beach for some dinner and great conversation. The Huntington Beach experience was pretty neat and I’d like to go back to kind of soak in the culture a bit, although I don’t think the opportunity will present itself for the remainder of this trip due to our busy schedule…nonetheless, the evening was great and the “Taco Tuesday” at Fred’s was awesome. I had a Grilled Mahi Fish taco and Shrimp taco as part of my supper. It was incredible!
Today we head out to the Cornerstone Church in Simi California and then on to the Reagan Ranch for a little sightseeing jaunt. The Catalyst Conference starts tonight with a “pre-conference mixer” at 6pm. I’ll try to snag some more pictures and post another update for tomorrow. Peace!
I’m starting to plan…what conferences I’d like to attend for personal growth during 2009. I’ve found the most balanced grouping of conference sessions that I’ve ever been able to line-up before now. Here’s what I’ve found and what each conference theme is built around:
Leadership: Catalyst West (April 22-24, 2009)
- Andy Stanley
- Erwin McManus
- Brian Houston
- Craig Groeschel
- Jud Wilhite
- Perry Noble
- Francis Chan
- Guy Kawasaki
- Nick Vujicic
- Catherine Rohr
- Worship Leaders – Hillsong United
Worship Arts: Christian Music Summit (May 15-16, 2009)
- Lincoln Brewster
- Paul Baloche
- Laura Story
- Doyle Dykes
- Joel Auge’
- Gregg Bissonette
- Rick Cua
- Will McFarlane
- Brenton Brown
Spiritual Formation: 2009 RENOVARÉ International Conference (June 21-24, 2009)
- Eugene Peterson
- Emilie Griffin
- Chris Webb
- John Ortberg
- Robert Gelinas
- Dallas Willard
- James Bryan Smith
- Richard J. Foster
- Joshua Choonmin Kang
- Lyle SmithGraybeal
So far, this looks like it is going to work out and I’m in process of nailing down the necessary dates and details to make them happen. I’d still like to organize some outreach or social exercise to complete this line-up. I’ve considered a few options, but have not settled on anything definate yet. What ideas or plans do you have?
The 63 day New Testament Challenge our church family was taking together has ended (yesterday). I’m sure that some lives have been changed and I’m expectant over the fruit we will see born from the challenge in the coming months and year. It was a great exercise in community!
The ending of the NTC means that I will return to my own blog fulltime. My attentions have been divided as I maintained and adminstrated the Valley Chapel blog during our challenge series. It’s good to be back; look forward to more consistant posting beginning today.