Planting a Church!

StartAs I held that simple sheet of paper in my hands, I knew that this was it. Everything was about to change! And that was both scary and exhilarating!  On the last day of 2014, I was given my official Call Letter to be a lead pastor/church planter with Converge North Central (Baptist General Conference).

We are so thankful that we are not on this journey alone! We have two awesome parent churches (Northridge Fellowship and Grace Fellowship) who will be coaching us and giving us tons of support.  They are letting us recruit between 50 and 60 people between the two churches to help us gather a core launch team. If you don’t know, that is incredibly generous of them! They have also committed $56,000 in financial support, which helps us get more than halfway to our goal of raising $100,000 for this new church start. Again, this is amazingly generous!

I’ll be spending the next four months as a “church planter in residence” at Northridge Fellowship in Rogers, MN. This will give me a great opportunity to continue learning about church planting as well as time to invest in relationships as we build our core team. I’m really excited about this opportunity as well as the gift of having our family plug into an existing church for a while. 

We are also very excited to be a part of a church planting group called Minnesota Grace. This is a group of Converge churches that are all daughter (or grand-daughter) churches of Grace Fellowship in Brooklyn Park, MN. Grace Fellowship has planted well over 20 churches in the past 25 years and is passionate about planting churches that are passionate about planting churches. As a part of this church planting group, our goal is that as Mosaic Church gets established, we would be able to partner with Grace to plant our first daughter church by 2019.

This journey has just started and we have a long and hard road ahead of us, but we are confident that God will be with us and will empower us with his Holy Spirit to use us to make an impact in the Maple Grove area for God! If you are reading this and you would like to know how to pray for us or if you are interested in joining the launch team or becoming a financial partner, I would LOVE to talk with you! Please email me or use the contact link to reach out.

Our whole desire is that we would make Jesus famous and help people in the suburbs know that its ok to not be ok. Because here’s the reality: we are ALL broken and hurting and in need of a Savior! But God is going to use us broken people to form his beautiful Mosaic. We want to plant a church that plants churches. We want to help people love God, serve others, and help make disciples who make disciples. We would love your prayers as we launch this church and as we dream big dreams. Its all about Jesus and building His Church. We are just excited to be a part of what God is doing here in the Twin Cities.  

Check out our new church’s website here: MOSAIC CHURCH

Thanks friends,

Erik

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Joseph, Dreams, and Getting Out of a Pit

josephI’ve been thinking a lot about Joseph this past year or so. Not Joseph, the adopted dad of Jesus. No, I’m talking about Joseph- the arrogant, young leader who had a vision from God.

You probably know the story: Joseph shared his God-given vision with those closest to him and what happened? He ended up in a pit. That’s when his dream died. Then things went from bad to worse.  He was falsely accused and he ended up in prison. I would bet all my guitars that he started questioning God’s plan and started doubting the vision that God had given him. He was in a dark place. A hopeless place.

But you know what? God was there. God was there in the pit. God was there when he was falsely accused. God was there in the dark place of that prison. And God had a plan.

You know what I think? I think Joseph wasn’t ready yet for the vision God gave him. I think Joseph was arrogant and he needed some time for God to do a work on his heart.

 So there was the birth of a dream. Then the death of a dream. Then God did what only God can do. He re-birthed that dream in Joseph.

God had a plan for Joseph’s life. His timing was just WAY different from what Joseph probably thought was going to happen! God used Joseph in a powerful way to bring salvation to people far from God. And out of those circumstances, a people of God was formed.

So if you are like me, and you’ve had the birth of a dream and then faced the death of that dream- take heart. God is there with you. God is here with me. His timing and is ways are probably just a lot different from what we expect!

God is in the business of re-birth. Of resurrection. And even now, in that pit, in whatever hopeless situation you find yourself, God is there. He gives life and hope and purpose. We just need to trust and wait on our God. Its not easy and we will struggle and doubt- but God was and is and will continue to be faithful and true to His word. And you know what? That’s great news.

 

 

EL

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Pray for Iraqi Christians

10599503_10152706273714673_6529960756093892030_nThings are pretty dark over in Iraq. Christians are being killed are persecuted for their faith.  I feel so helpless but I think its good to remember that the best thing we can do is to remember them in our prayers.

You can see more HERE

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Dealing With Loss

Last week, my wife and I experienced the pain and loss of our fourth miscarriage.

To be honest, I’m still coming to grips with it.  I was just starting to get excited about the idea of child #3 and then…and then my wife tells me she is spotting…and since we’ve been down this road before, I know exactly what that means.  Then the doctor confirms that the HCG levels have dropped dramatically and that dream of a third child is gone.  For now.  I still cling to hope that God will bless us with another child.  I also know that we are incredibly blessed with two amazing, beautiful, funny, strong willed children.  And if our family continues to be just the four of us, I will continue to thank God for the wonderful blessings he has given us. But man, it still hurts.  It hurts so much.

This past year we have lost so much.  Friendships, possible futures, a community that we were a part of.  Sometimes that pain of all those losses literally knocks me down and I just collapse on the floor or the couch or my bed or wherever.  I will have trouble breathing and feel like there is a huge rock in my stomach. My heart will start to race and my mind will start racing even faster.  Often this happens at night- which probably explains why sometimes I lie in bed for hours before falling asleep.

So what do we do when we experience such terrible suffering? Do we give up? Give in to bitterness? Some do.

But Paul tells us in Philippians 4:7 that “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” and in Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”  That word “guard” is the idea of a fortress or citadel.  God wants to be our castle of hope and guard us against the arrows of the enemy dripping with the poison of worry and anxiety.   And then God wants to fill us with his Holy Spirit so that we can overflow with hope.  Not a natural hope that we conjure up; instead, a supernatural hope that can only come from God.

And so I run to my heavenly Father.  I let him be my fortress and strong tower.  Daily, I ask for the Holy Spirit to fill me up with his HOPE and PEACE.

ShalomBut its not easy.  In fact, its so tough that my wife has HOPE (tikvah) tattooed her wrist and I have PEACE (shalom) tattooed on my wrist!  Its so that every time we look down, we are reminded to find our HOPE and PEACE in God alone.  To look beyond our circumstances and our losses and know that our Father loves us and grieves with us.  And we make it through another day.  And God continues to give us HOPE and PEACE and to heal our hearts.  And someday, he WILL wipe away every tear and there will be no more pain or loss or suffering.  You can bank on that.

 

EL

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5 Reasons I love My Church

Me adjusting my pedals LOL

Me adjusting my pedals LOL

Yesterday I was thinking about some of the reasons why I love my church (Blackhawk Church).  Here’s what I came up with:

  1. We kicked off a new book study yesterday on Proverbs. One of our worship pastors, Paul, taught the congregation a worship song he had written based on Proverbs. I love Blackhawk’s appreciation of the arts!
  2. Pastor Chris ended his sermon by having everyone repeat Proverbs 1:7 over and over and then had us all memorize it and repeat it together (he’s big on scripture memorization). Super cool to memorize scripture with a few thousand other people.
  3. Blackhawk is asking the whole church to read a chapter of Proverbs a day for July while we go through the different themes of book on Sunday mornings. Pastor Chris is also a huge fan of daily Bible reading. Its cool knowing so many of us will be studying the same book.
  4. They announced that Blackhawk is doing a blood drive on July 13 and a food drive on July 14 as well as the community garden we have that is to for our food pantry. I love how Blackhawk wants to be the tangible hands and feet of Christ to meet local needs!
  5. This weekend we celebrated Pastor Chris being at Blackhawk for 20 years! Man- that’s pretty awesome!

Just a few reasons why I love my church! What do you love about your church?

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Current Top 10 Favorite U2 Songs

Because U2 is without a doubt the GREATEST BAND OF ALL TIME, my list of favorite songs continually changes because they just have so many great songs!

So- here’s my (current) list of top 10 favorite U2 songs.  Some you would expect and some might surprise you.  (Since I can’t really place these in order of what I like best, I’ll just list them chronologically)

U2TCD029

  1. “A Sort of Homecoming” from The Unforgettable Fire
  2. “Bad” from The Unforgettable Fire
  3. “In God’s Country” from The Joshua Tree
  4. “One Tree Hill” from The Joshua Tree
  5. “All I Want is You” from Rattle and Hum
  6. “One” from Achtung Baby
  7. “Walk On” from All That You Can’t Leave Behind
  8. “Kite” from All That You Can’t Leave Behind
  9. “Yahweh” from How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.
  10. “City of Blinding Lights” from How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.
  11. “Window in the Skies” from U218
  12. “Invisible”- the free single they gave away during the Super Bowl.

OK- so its actually my top 12 songs.  So sue me.  What are you favorite U2 songs?

 

 

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God’s Guidance

Things don’t always go the way that we think they will!  Isn’t life like that though?  We make plans and then life throws us a curve ball.  We don’t get into the college of our dreams.  That guy or girl you thought was “the one” laughs at you when you ask them out.  Out of nowhere, you get handed a pink slip and you are left wondering what to do next.  We wonder, where is God in all of this?

One thing you can be sure of is that there are few things you can be sure of.

So the question is: how do we have faith when we are facing a crisis, when we are looking up at those hills of life- those mountains we have to face?  What do we do when the weight is just too much and we just can’t deal with everything that is going on in our world?

ropes-on-the-tall-shipWell, the Bible has a lot to say about God’s guidance.  The Hebrew word for guidance (tachbulah) is same word for “rope”.  Back then, sailers used ropes to guide and navigate their ships.  They used ropes to raise or drop the sails and to tell the ship where to go and how fast to get there.

God’s guidance is the same way.  Here’s what I’ve been learning these last few months: God’s guidance is more something he DOES than something he GIVES. I’ve prayed and prayed- “God, show me what you want for my life!”.  That prayer has mostly been met with silence.  Silence.

BUT.

But what God does is shape and mold and guide me where to go…and how fast to get there.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the life of Joseph from the Old Testament.  He was falsely accused and thrown in prison.  And that was AFTER being thrown in a pit and then sold into slavery.  For years and years, Joseph waited on God’s plan.  But in the midst of that seeming inactivity, God was moving and shaping and molding Joseph so that he was ready to lead when the time came.

These past several months have been really tough as we’ve waited on God.  But I can see that God has been working on my heart and preparing me for whatever is next.  And for that, I can be thankful.

If life has thrown you a curve or if you are facing uncertain times- you are not alone! Your story shares a lot with many people’s stories we find in the Bible.  And in all of those stories, God was moving and shaping and molding.  Even when it seemed like he was distant or silent.  We can trust that God is good and God is great and he has good things planned for his children.

Stay strong.  Stay the course.  Trust God.

EL

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