Feeling Overwhelmed?

overwhelmed-graphicReal Life Here: I’m so very tired. And I’m so very tired of sick kids. (Honestly, I’m just a little tired of my kids). And yet…

And yet, at the same time I feel so incredibly grateful for the many, many blessings is my
life. We suffered through 3 years of infertility and multiple miscarriages, not knowing if we would ever have a child, let alone 3 kids! And now we have been blessed with 3 amazing kids!

12472782_10101698954324820_5749570881580611229_nYes, they are exhausting. Yes, having three kids 5 years old and under consumes ALL. YOUR. TIME. And energy! But they are still such a blessing. And I love each one so very much. Just look at those adorable faces! (Just please start sleeping through the night kids! In your own beds!)

I look around our beautiful suburban home and think how quickly it goes from clean and organized to looking like a disaster zone. And yet, I’m so incredibly grateful for this house God has provided for us. Our first “real home” in our marriage where we don’t have to share walls with someone! A beautiful home with tons of space to host small groups, leadership meetings, and newcomer lunches. I’m so thankful for this home and all the ministry we get to do in it.

And then there’s the church. Being a Church Planter means going to bed every night with things left undone on your to-do list. Starting a church is a lot like starting a new business or non-profit- there are ALWAYS more things to do! But as exhausting as church planting can be…man- I am so THRILLED that I get to do it!

This is what I was put here on this earth to do!

I feel like my whole life was a training ground that prepared me to do this. And everyday, I thank God that I get to do this.

So yes, today I am tired and overwhelmed and feel like a failure as a dad and a husband, but I know that God’s got this. When I am weak, He is strong.

If you are tired and overwhelmed and feel like you are not measuring up as a spouse or parent or at your job, I want to encourage you to know that

YOU.

ARE.

ENOUGH.

Don’t strive so hard. God’s got this. God’s got YOU! Count your blessings and maybe take a nap. Or get another cup of coffee.

Get your hopes up.

Rejoice in HOPE, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12 (ESV)

Excited for the Future

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Every January, I look back to the last couple of years and I get excited about what the future might hold. Here’s some highlights from the past couple of years:

  • 2010: our son Joshua is born after 3 years of infertility!
  • 2011: we move from Colorado to Wisconsin, help start a new church, and I start a new job as a church planter with Converge/Baptist General Conference.  We also experienced our third miscarriage that summer.  Lots of ups and downs.
  • 2012: our daughter Rebecca is born– and we spend 10 days in the NICU due to her born not breathing.  But God healed her and she is doing great!  I also finished my Masters of Arts in Theological Studies and Kristin and I record an unplugged Christmas album.
  • 2013: I decide to get healthy and then lose 40 pounds.  We leave the church we helped plant and work with Converge/Baptist General Conference to try to figure out where God is leading us next.

Well, this January is no different.  In fact, with the season that Kristin and I are in, I am all the more looking ahead with great anticipation to what the future holds!  Most likely, the next 6 months will find us in a new city, a new house, and a new church and job for me!  That’s a lot of changes that we know will be happening this year!!

I know in my head that God is sovereign and that he has the whole world in his hands. But its not easy to believe with my heart. Its an intentional act of faith to trust him and to believe that he will continue to take care of us and will lead us to the right place for our family.  I pray that God will continue to lead and direct us while we are waiting in this desert place.

Building Legos, Building Children

I sat on the floor with my three year old son, surrounded my thousands and thousands of little LEGO pieces.  “Wow!”, I thought to myself, “this is a pretty daunting task!” We were attempting to rebuild my X-Wing LEGO starfighter from 1999.  The problem was that the X-Wing pieces had been mixed in with thousands and thousands of other loose pieces.  Bummer.

It requires a LOT of patience to build something like that!  You need to keep your eye on the instruction book while at the same time keep an eye on what you are building and never lose focus of the end result- that you are trying to build something special.

As we tried to put that spaceship back together, I realized something.  Raising kids takes a lot of patience too! As my wife and I parent Joshua and Rebecca, we need to keep our eyes on our instruction book (the Bible) and also keep an eye on the unique children we are raising.  We also need to remember that we are doing something special here: we aren’t just trying to raise good, moral kids.  We want to raise kids that become adults who are passionate followers of Jesus.  Adults who are empowered by the Holy Spirit to do Kingdom work.  Adults who use their gifts and talents to help make disciples who make disciples.  Adults who become godly parents themselves someday and continue this great heritage of faith that my wife and I inherited from our parents.

But today, its enough to acknowledge that raising kids takes a TON of patience!  We may not have all the pieces… but its OK.  God is helping us form and shape these little angels/monsters into beautiful works of art.

Its enough for today.

Success! We did it!

Success! We did it!

Big Changes for the Lindeen Family!

1150192_10151917742004673_1234282678_nA little over two years ago, God called us to leave our friends and family in Colorado and move 1,000 miles away to Madison, Wisconsin, to become Church Planters. I came on staff with Converge Great Lakes (formerly known as Great Lakes Baptist Conference and part of the Baptist General Conference) as a Church Planting Intern. Our desire was to learn more about church planting with the thought that someday God might call me to be a lead pastor and to possibly plant a church as the lead planter. For the last two years, we have served with Ezra Church and it has been awesome to see God build and establish His church!  In the past two years, Ezra Church has baptized 14 people, helped over 85 adults find community through being a part of a small group, and grown from a core of 50 people to a church of over 200 people! Your support, encouragement, and prayers helped make that possible!

Through the guidance and direction of Converge Great Lakes and the Ezra Church Leadership and after much time in prayer, I feel that God is calling me to step out in faith and to take a position as a senior pastor! We are going to take the next couple of months to pray and determine if God is calling me to (1.) be a lead church planter and to plant a new church with Converge or (2.) if God is calling me to go to an established Converge church that is looking for a new senior pastor.

We have finished the Pre-Assessment Phase of the church planting process with Converge. The next step of our journey in determining if God is actually calling us to plant a church is attendance at the nationally renowned Converge Church Planting Assessment Center next February. This four day intensive assessment looks at potential church planters through a grid of sixteen non-negotiable traits that Converge has found to be essential for successful planting over the past twenty years. Once we complete this assessment, we will have clear confirmation one way or the other concerning whether I am called to be a lead pastor in a church planting context or a lead pastor in an established church setting.

Converge (Baptist General Conference) also has a Pastoral Placement Process (P3), which helps match pastors like me who feel called to be a senior pastor and churches that are in need of a new senior leader.  I have finished my P3 assessment and we are waiting and praying to see if God is leading us to an established church.  We have told Converge that we would be open to going to a church in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, or Colorado.

We want to thank you for your prayers and encouragement over the last two years! We could not be on this ministry journey without you! We would appreciate your continued prayers over these next couple of months as we wait on God and prepare for wherever he is leading us next.

Thanks and God bless,

Kristin and Erik Lindeen
Fellow Laborers In Christ
Madison, WI.

Blessed

Josh and BeccaI’m feeling incredibly blessed right now.  I have an amazing wife and two great kids.  Super supportive parents and a great extended family.

Lately, however, God has really blessed me.  In the last couple of weeks, I have been able to upgrade from a VOX AC-15 (electric guitar amp) to a VOC AC-30 and to upgrade my phone from an iPhone 4 to an iPhone 5.  Because of a gift card I received, and because I was able 944590_10151709364999673_1481022486_nto get a killer deal on the AC-30 and because I was able to sell my old amp and phone, it ended up not costing me any money to upgrade my amp and phone!

IMG_3088God blessed Ezra Church with new offices…and the best part is that we are getting about 3,000 square feet of office space for FREE because someone in our church is donating space to us! WOW! God is good!

After almost two years of being a one car family, we were able to get a second car.  We were blessed that someone in our small group works for Toyota and IMG_3057he was able to get us a great deal.

As church planters/missionaries, we rely heavily on God’s provision to meet all our needs, but its really nice when he also blesses us above and beyond our basic needs!

How has God blessed you lately?

What A Difference 12 Months Make!

537580_10101455109262280_503419460_nAs I looked back over the last 12 months, I was amazed at all that God had done in our lives! He has proved himself faithful and walked with us through the dark nights and been there with us as we celebrated new life and growth and change. A few of the big changes in the last 12 months:

  1. 12 months ago, Ezra church was averaging 71 people each Sunday in the month of March and only had one worship service at one location. This past month, Ezra Church averaged 242 people each Sunday and now has FOUR worship services at TWO locations each Sunday! As the pastor who oversees all our worship and tech, my job has become a lot more complicated in the last year! Now I have to schedule and oversee two different tech teams and two different worship teams each week. However, its been great watching more people get involved in our worship and tech area.
  2. 12 months ago, I was overseeing 40 people in 4 Growth Groups (small groups). Now we have 85 people in 8 groups! Again- as the pastor who oversees our Growth Groups, things have gotten a lot more complicated but I love seeing more and more people get IN COMMUNITY!
  3. 12 months ago, I was still in grad school, trying to finish up my Masters in Theology. I graduated last May and it feels so good to have school done!
  4. 12 months ago we had one kid- and now we have two kids! It was a crazy journey with Becca spending 10 days in the NICU, but God was faithful and he was with us through it all and I believe he healed our little girl.

I’m excited to see what God does in and through our family and our church the next 12 months!

Its Been A Wild Ride

This past Sunday our church went multi-site and we had over 200 people connecting or reconnecting with God!

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Lindeen Family- June, 2011

Less than two years ago, we felt God call our family to move from Denver, CO to Madison, WI to help change the spiritual climate of this city by planting churches.  It has been a wild ride!

We moved here September 1, 2011 and joined our friends Pastor Dave and his wife Becky and a core group of about 20 adults to help launch Ezra Church.  After we moved we heard that Madison was known as the Church Planters Graveyard.  Fun stuff. Our first Sunday we had about 50 people show up to worship with us.  We thought- “all right, here we go!” Read More