A couple anniversaries occur for Betty and I in early November. Three years ago I began the writing and ministry of Lambchow. I didn’t know what God was planning or how far Lambchow’s reach would extend. It’s been surprising and humbling to see God use this little ministry to encourage others in their walk with Jesus. I’ll bore you with the numbers in January when we do our annual report.
The first of November also marks the first anniversary of another big step of faith. A year ago Betty and I left our former church of twenty-five plus years, New Life Community Church in Henry Illinois. It was an intentionally long process that was designed to bless and leave relationships intact. We weren’t looking to escape from something but to move towards something. On our last Sunday morning there they blessed our journey, and we blessed their continued ministry.
I didn’t say much about this on Lambchow because I wanted to give time for that blessing to take root. Over the past year, Betty and I have been blessed with a new family as we have grown to know, love, and care for the folks of Vineyard Church Peoria. We entered their doors with no expectations or assumptions about how God would use us. Both of us had been active in many aspects of our previous church home. The past year has been a refreshing vacation of seeing where and how the Lord would graft us into our new family. It didn’t take long for us to feel at home.
One of the reasons the Vineyard seems like home is that it reminds me of something I had experienced around my senior year of High School. While the Vineyard movement was sprouting in California something similar was germinating in Central Illinois. All around the area barn ministries were springing up. I went to one near Bloomington, but there were others in Morton, East Peoria, and elsewhere. Gatherings of those around High School and college age that came together to worship with the then emerging new worship music, apply the Word of God to our lives, and to pray for one another. The barn movement eventually faded, but the lessons and experiences never have.
As I look forward from this point, I see several things. Lambchow will continue although with a modification to the publication schedule. I’m sensing a larger project on the horizon that will require time to write. Beginning with this post, we will publish a rewind, guest post, or short article on Tuesday and a series style article on Thursday. We’ll continue to create and offer free Bible Studies along with praying for folks as they write in. I expect that Lambchow will grow towards classic Vineyard teachings while retaining its para-church flavor that seeks to encourage all believers everywhere.
In a way, our vacation has ended, and it’s time to again put our hands to the plow. What that means is not yet fully evident. I’m becoming more active on VCP’s worship team and am enjoying the challenge of learning new skills and the joys of collaboration. Betty is part of the welcoming team and is beginning to help out with the children’s ministry. Is there more? I don’t know, it’s in God’s hands. I suppose that’s the point to this whole thing. Sometimes we do need to make a change, even a bold step, without knowing the outcome and watch as God works.
Having anniversaries is a good time to look back and to look forward. But we don’t need to wait for a date on the calendar, any day will do. So, my encouragement is to make today that day. What has the Lord done in the past week, month, year, or even decade? What steps do you see in front of you? It’s OK if you can’t see the outcome as long as you take the step that God is showing you.