Last Friday morning Susan and I loaded into my dad's explorer and began to drive to Louisville. This was a drive that we had made at least 75 times in 2005-2006 while we were living in Louisville and I was preaching in TN on the weekends. It was almost surreal stopping at our normal Starbucks. The power of good memories are difficult to put into words. Even more so, when those memories are laced with the faithfulness of God, worship is the only response. Starbucks in hand, we began to drive down the long two-lane that would eventually lead us to I65 in Bowling Green and then on to Louisville. Reflection overload kicked in and in a matter of minutes we were so overwhelmed with God's faithfulness to us over the years that we erupted in prayer and praise to God. The reflection continued through our whole weekend. Once we arrived in Louisville, we drove past our old apt/house, went to my favorite coffee shop, and spent some quality time with some of our best friends, Kyle and Ashley Barrett.
We were in town for the wedding of a dear couple that go to the Gallery Church. Counting our old worship pastor who now lives in Portland, OR, there were 22 people from the Gallery Church that made the trek to the wedding. Once again, Susan and I had an opportunity to reflect upon God's faithfulness over the last couple of years and how He has beautifully woven together this community of faith.
Another unexpected thing I experienced on this trip was a bit of what felt like closure to our first chapter of our lives in NYC and the dawning of a new. A little over 2.5 years ago, Susan and I stepped out with the biggest faith either of us had ever known in our move to NYC. Every step of our move was in partnership with two families, The Coes & The Rameys. Aaron Coe was the founding pastor of the Gallery Church and the man God used to mobilze us out of comfort onto the front lines in NYC. Aaron was Susan's college minister @ MTSU. He and Carmen have a son that is six months older than Jack and has been Jack's best buddy since we moved to NYC. Paul Ramey has been a good friend for many years and moved when we did with his family from Portland to be our worship pastor. If you've kept up with this blog over the years, you know that Paul's family had a very difficult time in the city and they made a brave decision to move back to Portland. Paul is now serving in a great church in Portland. Aaron has just recently accepted a position as the Vice President of Mobilization at the North American Mission Board (NAMB) in Alpharetta, which is a huge win and stride forward in the fulfillment of our church planting vision for NYC (more on this in an upcoming post), though it is a personal loss for Susan and me as the Coe's were our partners in ministry and best friends in the city. At the wedding, Aaron, Paul and I got to spend some quality time together. This time was very, very sweet. Getting to hear each of these guys talk about life and where they are at came with a real sense of rightness for each of them. And though Paul has been gone from NYC for some time now, getting to be with him and Aaron together, really gave me a sense of closure to our first chapter in NYC. Sad, yet so many reasons to rejoice. God is good. He is so, so good. A new day is dawning, and I'm excited to see what's on the horizon. Always grateful for your prayers.
(Aaron's move to NAMB is incredibly significant and I'll share more in an upcoming post about that, stay tuned.)