Back One Week (& Everything Since February)

I was recently home for about a week and a half.  There were two weddings that I was fortunate enough to be a part of; one was my old roommates, and the other was one of my sister’s.  

It’s been a while since I have posted anything … I seem to fade in and out of my desire to write and to read … I’m not really sure why.  Either way, a lot has happened since February 26, so bear with me and I’ll try to catch all 4 of you up!

Sometime early in March (maybe the 9th…) I had to make the big decision … “to go or not to go?”    I was officially offered a job at my old church, in my old place of residence, sometime in February, and though my trip home for Christmas seemed to seal the deal, by the time I received the offer I was less certain.

I took all of the time that I had been allotted to make a decision, and in the final hours of the final day (EST) I called my good friend Joe and accepted his offer to come back and start a college ministry at Peachtree Pres in Atlanta, GA.

At first I didn’t feel all that excited … really just kind of relieved that I didn’t have to deliberate with myself any more.  As time went on, however, I began to become distracted by my future life.  The idea of starting up a ministry became more and more exciting and I found myself having to refocus my brain on my work here in Menlo Park.

So when I got to return to the east coast for a week and a half, and leave my job in California for that period of time, it was a nice break from the discomfort of having to quiet my mind’s restlessness.  

For the first weekend I got to be around a bunch of Peachtree folks, and unashamedly talk about my pending return to Atlanta.  It was great to see that people other than me are excited about the new college ministry … important people like pastors and directors, not just normal people!  Being back at Peachtree just felt right; the little issues that I have with mega-churches in general and with Peachtree in particular didn’t matter.  I will always have issues with churches … if I don’t than I probably shouldn’t be there.  And I can’t really explain it, but I love that church and am so thankful to have the opportunity to return to it.

The day after Bryan’s wedding I went to Turner Field and watched the Braves beat the Mets.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

But the highlight … and this was somewhat unexpected … was the time from Wednesday to Saturday that I got to spend in Charlotte, NC.  I don’t think that the location was very significant, though I do like Charlotte more each time I am there.  What was significant was the company.  I can’t recall ever feeling so blessed by the company of my family as I did in those four days.  

It actually felt like we were there to build each other up, to encourage one another, to be the love of Christ in all of the places it was needed.  My sister, Suzanne, and I comforted each other through our emotional toasts on the night of Karen and Ellis’ rehearsal dinner.  I watched my mom and dad dance together, possibly for the first time ever … and it was so incredibly moving.

The whole family … aunts, cousins, & grandmama included, had come together to celebrate this significant day in my sister’s life … and it was significant, and I am incredibly happy for she and Ellis.  But I caught a glimpse of something that weekend that has excited me beyond any of my expectations for that weekend.  I saw a family that truly loves one another.

And we’re not all preachers or saints either.  But love doesn’t hold the same standards that we church people have a tendency to hold.  Love is actually accessible to everyone.  And I can’t talk about love without thinking of the beautiful words from 1 John 4:

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.  In this, the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that he has loved us and has sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.”

There is no earning of God’s love, only receiving it.  And receiving God’s love, we enter into something resembling the involuntary love of our neighbors.

This past weekend gave me a sense of peace and of confidence that my family has experienced and received the love of their Father.  

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~ by Will Norman on April 14, 2008.

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