Monday, April 28, 2008

Missing Florida but Glad to be home.

A week ago today I had just arrived in Orlando to 82 degree, sunny weather. I was in Orlando for Exponential 2008. It was an incredible experience for a church planting newby like myself.

To be exposed to the teachings of men like Rick Warren, Andy Stanley, Tim Keller, Ed Stetzer, Alan Hirsch, Dave Ferguson, Steve Andrews, Neil Cole, John Burke and a host of other leading thinkers in the world of missiology and church planting was like an all you can eat spiritual buffet. I walked away from that four day experience with the reassurance that I am where God wants me to be. I don't feel like an odd ball because I believe God has given me a big dream that I am relentlessly pursuing. I met a bunch of others who have had a similar experience with God and are pusuing the vision God has given them.

It was also nice to drive around Orlando a bit and get reacquainted with the landscape. You may not know this, but I have been here before; not just last year at exponential 2007, but I lived in Orlando for a short period of time in the late 1980's while working at Walt Disney World. In my B.C. days I was an aspiring chef and had gone to school for culinary arts and restaurant management. Disney was (and still is) the destination of many culinarians, not because of great pay (unless you work 70 hours per week or more) but because of the vast and varied experience that WDW has to offer. In a year and a half span I was able to learn many facets of food-service, from fast food, to large volume cafeteria/institutional, to fine dining and everything in between.

God has been impressing upon me that what I did in my B.C. (before Christ) days matters. God has had His hand on every part of my life, from the time I was conceived in my mother's womb to the very moment that I am writing this blog post (Psalm 139). Every part of my life has been shaped by God, even the bad things (bad from my perspective) are meant for His glory and used for His good purpose (Romans 8:28).

So, here I am, 24 years of walking with the Lord, and I find myself using the skills I learned in the first half of my adult life to begin a church planting movement in my own assigned field of harvest, here in New York's capital region. In just a few short weeks The Pod Coffee House will be open for business. This will be the next phase of our church planting Journey as the CORE Church seeks to make Christ known in the heart of the city of Troy, New York and beyond.

The vision God has placed within my own human brain has captured my heart, mind, soul and strength. God is moving in Troy, NY. Dare I believe that God would use me to stir up a church planting movement in this city and throughout the capital region!