Spiritual Exhaustion

I'm in a really strange place right now. I have just experienced 4 or 5 "mountain-top" experiences right in a row. It started with a great mission trip to Mexico, followed by a really nice teen service at the Missouri State Association of Free Will Baptists Convention (that one was seriously unexpected), next was one of the most phenomenal weeks of teen camp that I've ever experienced, and finally our Sunday worship service this last Sunday marked the end of a serious spiritual dry spell for our church.

Quite frankly, all of these great experiences have left me a bit breathless and spiritually and emotionally exhausted. Last Thursday at camp I cried so hard at the altar that I had to clean snot off of my glasses. I still don't know how it worked its way up my face to my glasses!

Anyway, God is really moving with our teens and church right now and I'm very thankful! I hope we can keep things rolling like this into Fall and see some big growth (spiritual and numeric) in the youth group.


Once Upon a Time in Mexico

Well, I got my camera back. I encouraged everyone who went to Mexico to do a daily devotion that I provided for them and to also journal every day about the events of the day and any God moments. Here's mine. It' s pretty brief and I didn't do the final two days of travel back to MO (too exhausted).

DAY 1 (Lebanon, MO to Plano, TX - saw A's vs. Rangers game)
I really want God to use me this week. I read that I am God's "workmanship". I am his art! It's hard for me to think of myself that way, but it's nice to hear.
I loved being at the ballgame tonight, even though the A's lost. I miss being close to major league action.
We have a really good missions team this year. I hope God uses me in their lives this week.

DAY 2 (Plano, TX to Reynosa, MX)
Today was a good day. We made it to Mexico tonight. The seminary is nice, but simple. The people are very courteous and gracious
We bottomed out the jack on the trailer while trying to pull into a gas station. Kinda scary but fixed easily enough (in Austin, TX).
God, I don't want to be a proud "Christian". Keep me humble and meek. Help me to always be aware of my own sinfulness.

Today we visited a few churches in Reynosa. We also visited our friend Sara's school. The Marberry's took us shopping in Nuevo Progresso. I found a cross with a painting of "the fall of man" on it. I thought it was a good reminder that my own sin was the reason Jesus died. We also joined a Mexican youth group tonight.
Jesus, thanks for my gifts. Please continue to reveal ways for me to use them.


Today we went to church in Weslaco, TX. They have both English and Spanish services. The same pastor preaches them both. Tonight we went to Eric and Rosa's church (The Way of the Cross). They were very nice. I got to preach tonight. It was an honor for me. The kids sang their song today. I was very proud of them!
Today God taught me that pastors are discouraged all over the world. I'm not the only one who gets that way.

Today we worked at the seminary clearing brush and cleaning. The kids did a great job. I was proud of them. In the afternoon we went to Reynosa's town square (Centro). We saw a large Catholic church and many shops. For our evening meal we were invited to to Santos and Anjelica's house - what an honor! In our evening devotion, we shared, sang, and cried with Marcos and Marta.
Thank you for this trip, God. It's been everything I hoped it would be!


MVP Mollie!

Mollie got two great hits in tonight's game (her first of the season in an actual game) and she did a great job holding down right field. She fielded a ground ball and came really close to throwing the runner out at first. Go, Mollie, go!

Back in Lebanon, USA

Well, we made it back from our Mexico Mission Trip last night. It was a truly great trip! It was honestly everything I had hoped it would be. Safe, no van problems, no border issues, made lots of new Mexican friends, saw a lot of spiritual growth in my teens, etc...

Unfortunately, I left my camera at the church we stayed at in Plano, TX. It should be here soon, though. I'll post some pics and some of my journal entries when it arrives in a day or two.

I've been to Mexico before, but this trip was quite a bit different. I was surprised about how discouraged the Mexican pastors were that I spoke with. There's a feeling of "loneliness" that comes with being a pastor and apparently it knows no borders. The interesting thing was that they were dealing with the same problems that many US pastors deal with. Quarreling in the church, pastors with marital infidelity, how to reach young adults, difficulties in being a bi-vocational pastor, etc... My heart broke for the pastors I met on this trip, not because of their cultural differences, but because I completely identified with many of their struggles. Pastoring is an emotional roller coaster no matter where you are. But like I always say, "A bad day of pastoring is still better that a good day in the factory." (However, one pastor I met, Eric, was a full-time volunteer pastor and worked full-time in a factory.)