CALLING (PART VI)

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I’ve only been here 6 months, but I love the city of Troy more every day.  Instead of waxing philosophical about why I’ll just give you my reasons in list form, in no particular order.

1.  I love that everybody in Troy thinks it is a small town.  (Trust me, there are smaller.)
2.  I never have to drive more than 10 minutes to get anywhere.
3.  Milky Moo’s  (milkymooicecream.com)
4.  For a smallish town in lower Alabama, there is an amazing mixture of people here.  Nationalities, religions, hometowns.
5.  University students bring a buzz and energy to town.  (You’re thinking that is the polite way to say it.  I actually enjoy them!)
6.  Friendly people.  I’ve had great conversations about life and about Jesus with some people who are very similar to me and some who are very different.
7.  Milky Moo’s (milkymooicecream.com)
8.  There is a trailer park here that has its own lazy river.  I haven’t made it in yet, but I’m coming!
9.  The eTroy staff.  Though they ridicule me, they keep me laughing and allow me to commute around the office without getting out of my chair.
10.  New friendships.
11.  Easy access to college sports.
12.  People who love God and love people enough to let them be authentic, regardless of who they are.  (www.troychurch.tv)
13.  The weather is pretty much phenomenal.
14.  Close beach proximity.
15.  A local playground where life just seems to happen.
16.  The potential to reach multiple countries with the truth about Jesus by reaching the large international student population.
17.  Milky Moo’s (milkymooicecream.com)
18.  The hope of a long future of discovering more people and things I love about Troy.
19.  Cinnamon roll flavor ice cream, featured at Milky Moo’s (milkymooicecream.com).

 

CALLING (PART V)

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“Sounds like Paul trying to go Asia.”

A weird thought for 3:30 AM when one cannot go back to sleep.  No offense to Jeremy Powell (see previous post), but he is not necessarily the voice I would choose to have in my head that early in the morning.  I would prefer my wife saying, “The pancakes with syrup are ready with a big glass of milk.”  Or, maybe, “Hello Tide fans, this is Eli Gold.”

My wishes denied, I wrestled my covers for a good 45 minutes with nothing more coming through on the old internal antenna than Jeremy Powell, “sounds like Paul trying to go to Asia.”  These words eventually cracked through my denseness and wrestled my will to sleep to the ground, dragging me to Read more

CALLING (PART IV)

jeremyblog

Jeremy Powell is my pastor.  Of course, he also happens to be my friend, a mentor in ministry, the greatest spider hunting college choir boy this side of the Mason Dixon, and a great warm up match before facing a real ping pong opponent.  Most importantly, though, he is my pastor.  He told me when he brought me on staff at FBC Hayden, AL that he would not only be my boss, but refused to fail to serve my family and I as our pastor.  His regular checking in on me to be sure that life was good, regular willingness to listen to me ramble regardless of the topic, and somewhat frightening propensity to want to “hug it out” are all symptomatic of a guy who understands what it means to know, feed, lead, and protect people.  All that to say, he is my pastor.

I had been up front with Jeremy about what I thought God was doing in my heart, potentially leading me to start a church, supposedly in Jasper.  For a while, we regularly talked through it all.  He was patient and encouraging.  At this point in the story Read more

CALLING (PART III)

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I met Eric Law (pictured above with his family) in the summer of 2011.  My student ministry was repairing houses in Tuscaloosa that would otherwise be torn down, their occupants left homeless.  Safehaven Church was gracious enough to partner with us in this venture by doing much of the preparatory leg work and by hosting us in their event building downtown.  In retrospect, 30 teenage guys were probably a few too many to cram into Safehaven’s space downtown.  In additional retrospection, the itch for a solid game of 4 square can drive people to illogical lengths.  Sorry about the floor SHC! Read more

CALLING (PART II)

wally

So, my family and I are headed to Jasper, until this character shows up at my house.

Meet Wally Macaluso:  lover of Jesus, my former Sunday school teacher, mentor, longtime friend, and the inventor of Poolf. (If you are not already familiar with this golf/swimming pool combo sport, you should be.)  Wally has had as much of a meaningful impact on my life as has anybody else.  When you are in 8th grade and a guy lets you come over to his house, move all of the furniture out of the den, and play tackle football on your knees until people bleed, that guy is automatically the coolest person on the planet.  More importantly, I have never met a more humble and sincere follower of Jesus. Read more

Calling (Part I)

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“I think it has to be a moral imperative, something you are certain you have to do.”

After months of praying, strategizing, and discussing the idea of starting a new church in Jasper, Alabama, I still didn’t have absolute certainty that this was something God was initiating in me. Begging God to give me a clear direction and doing my best to have my eyes open to see this prompting, I was now on the phone with a friend that had planted a church in New York City. Read more