God has been so gracious to us! It has been a crazy busy but also a crazy good last few weeks. Last Tuesday we began the process of moving into a great rental house (at a great price!) just around the corner from the Bontragers, right in the heart of our ministry area. This old house has 3 bedrooms & a study on the 2nd floor (& a huge semi-circular window Susan really likes), a 3rd floor bedroom & bath (the boys room, enter at your own risk), a fairly wide open first floor (great for our gatherings!), and a large finished basement with an old school wide screen TV left behind (the password for ladies to enter this man-cave is, “I have food & drink”). With the help of several friends & neighbors we cleaned the place last week & moved in over the weekend. A man from a supporting church who owns a “2 Men & a Truck” franchise also sent, well, 2 men & a truck – never have I seen 2 guys work so hard. God has been so gracious to us!
Our Tuesday night Gospel in Life & Sunday afternoon Story-formed Way gatherings are going great – interest is spreading & attendance is increasing in these embryonic phase studies. Way most of all we are seeing through these studies the supremacy & sufficiency of Jesus for all of life. God has been so gracious to us!
We have also been encouraged by a growing web of friendships – from a neighbor who helped with some electrical issues at our rental house, to a young man from our community who loves Jesus & wants to make Him known, to a man released just 5 months ago from prison after serving 29 years who shared his story with me yesterday, to another couple considering moving into the 48202 to be part of Restore, to a local pastor who is encouraging me, to a couple down the street who visited when we were moving in & shared that they had been praying for a church like ours to get started in this neighborhood. God has been so gracious to us!
Last Sunday we were part of the rebirth celebration of Gospel Life Church in church in Madison Heights – it was a great testimony to the ongoing power of the gospel! We are also thankful for the care these brothers & sisters have extended to us since moving to Detroit. Next week Clete & I are traveling to Buffalo to met with Ryan Kozey (sharp dude!) of Infinity Alliance and some others to learn & talk about church planting in contexts like ours. The following week we will be attending Scott Thomas’ (president of Acts 29) Gospel Coach Training near Cincinnati. God has been so gracious to us!
This coming Sunday, following our Story-formed Way gathering, we are hosting a Super Bowl Party. You are invited provided you root for the Packers and, when they win, repeatedly (& with passion) remind everyone that the Lions beat the Packers this season (you knew that didn’t you?). Okay, we’ll go soft on that requirement – just bring some food &/or drink.
Oh yeah, last Sunday night we had a little party for Clete’s 39th Birthday. In addition to busting on Clete just a bit (material was really hard to find;) we rent around the room & shared what we were thankful for about him. It was a sweet time as we celebrated his authenticity, his love & sacrifice for others, his desire to make a difference, & how the gospel has changed & is changing him.
God has been so gracious to us!