Two years ago today

Today marks the day when, two years ago today (November 5), I was ordained as a pastor at The District Church. On Halloween, I celebrated three years since I came on staff as the church’s first Leadership Resident. On reflecting on these milestones, a few thoughts come to mind:First, there is always gratitude: to you all for your support — many of you have been a part of my journey since before I started at the church, and have contributed to my ministry through your prayer, wisdom, and financial support; and to God for the tremendous opportunities I’ve had to give, to serve, to learn, and to grow, as a pastor and as a Christ-follower.

Second, there is wonder: at what God has done in and through me, and much, much more than that, in and through The District Church. Just this last weekend, DC127 (the foster care initiative started this year by the church) hosted the inaugural Foster the City event, in conjunction with the National Council for Adoption. Several hundred people from across the city showed up to hear how they could play a part in making sure every child has a home. Our efforts were even covered by TIME Magazine’s Religion reporter, Elizabeth Dias (who’s a friend); click on the image below to read the full article.

TIME FTC
Third and finally, as I look forward to Advent and Christmas and 2014 beyond that, as I dream about what God may have in store for me, for The District Church, and for the city, there is tremendous anticipation. I can’t wait to see what God continues to do, and I can’t wait to share it with you.

Thanksgiving at 30

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18 

Yesterday, I turned 30, and I was reminded this past week–especially in light of this coming week–of how much I have to be thankful for: doing a job I love in a city I love, among people I love, with a family I love supporting me (even from afar).

There really isn’t a way to adequately convey how full my heart is after the events of the last week: from having my friend Rachel in town, to celebrating Austin & Maggie’s engagement, to numerous birthdays this week (Jordan, Erin, Rachel, Amy), to going to see LIGHTS for the fifth time (below), to the birthday party that was thrown for me last night.

When I was leaving California three years ago, a friend wrote this to me:

As you go, I hope that you see and are seen, that you inspire and are inspired, that you know and are known.

Over the last few years, I’ve been so humbled to see how these things have come to pass. Knowing and being known is pretty core for a nomad like myself, and God has been so faithful in this.

This is now the longest I’ve been in one place since I left Hong Kong almost fifteen years ago, and while every few years has been punctuated with a new chapter, this is the first time that, instead of going on to the next thing or to a new place, I’ll be putting my roots down deeper.

And to be honest, I wouldn’t be able to have done any of that without all of you who’ve been involved–from the over fifty people who have supported me financially over the last two years, to those of you who’ve been so faithful in prayer for me, and to those who have been friends and family to me for longer still.

This Thanksgiving, at the beginning of a new chapter entitled “My Thirties,” I’ll refer to Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi: “I thank my God every time I remember you.”

Yesterday, my dad sent this quote from Confucius:

At fifteen my heart was set on learning; at thirty I stood firm; at forty I had no more doubts; at fifty I knew the mandate of heaven; at sixty my ear was obedient; at seventy I could follow my heart’s desire without transgressing the norm.

Standing firm … I like that.

A Thanksgiving Prayer and a Reminder

Praying:

Generous Lord,

We are humbled as we think on all the gifts and blessings you have poured into our lives. Thank you for your love demonstrated in the gift of your Son and the restoration of relationship that we have through the Incarnation.

Keep us mindful of those around us, particularly those who do not have what we often take for granted. As you have been generous to us, may we also be generous to others: in thought, word and deed.

Amen.

Remembering:

Thus says the Lord: Act with justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor anyone who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the alien, the orphan, and the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place. (Jeremiah 22:3)