Jan 18 2012

little bit of everywhere

Hey friends.

I thought I’d just give a quick check in in regards to the Byers family travels on behalf of Celebration! Church.

Having been away from Ottawa a total of 4 weeks now, here’s a bit of what we’ve been up to.  We’ve been thoroughly blessed to tell the stories of how God as moved and is moving among us, and in so doing, we’ve been constantly reminded of you all.  We love you dearly!

Dec. 24/25 … Christmas with our families — a special time that we cherished being able to have.

Dec. 27 … Meeting in Cumming, GA with the Groover family, who we went to university with and who just finished a job at a church in South Carolina as family pastor.  We also met a family in that city who we had been in contact with in Ottawa; their son plays for a Junior hockey team in Ottawa, and hopes to connect with C!C.

Dec. 28 … Meeting with the Tyndall family in Suwanee, GA, who joined our support team after Carrie was the 2nd grade teacher of their daughter (who is now in high school!)

Dec. 29 … Meeting with the Thaxtons in Ackworth, GA.  This family is one of dearest and closest friends.  Sharing together and having our kids play together was wonderfully refueling, especially as we shared about C!C.

Dec. 31 – Jan. 6 … Week of Passion 2012 with Emily, David, Ryan and Andrew (and the ELFBC crew).  What a great time was had by all as we learned more about each other while exploring our callings and being fed by high caliber Christian teachers and leaders!

Jan. 8 … Preaching at Sweetwater Church, Lawrenceville, GA.  If you attended the C!C service on the 8th, you saw firsthand the sermon and the connection between these two likeminded churches.

Jan. 10 … Riggins family in Lawrenceville, GA.  This family has known us since before we were married, and Mike introduced us to the missions program that helped us get to Canada.  As well, he was our initial contact point to Eagle’s Landing First Baptist.  This family has been a wonderful supporter of C!C in lots of ways.

Jan. 11 … Anderson family in Marietta, GA.  This couple has been dear friends of ours since university, has faithfully supported us and has been right beside us whether on the frisbee field or prepping for the mission field.  They have huge hearts for the Lord, and after trying for a long time, are now expecting their first child!

Jan. 13 … Lunch with the Harrisons in Lawrenceville, GA.  This lovely couple owns their own business and faithfully support a number of missionaries all over the globe.  They currently attend a church of mostly college students and young adults and offered some interesting, encouraging perspectives on being the “older folks” in the church.  Then, we had dinner with the Pascuals in Stone Mountain, GA.  I served on a ministry team with Jonathan while in university, and shared a deep appreciation for missions and church planting.  Jonathan, his wife Sarah, and their daughter Roary just received news that they’re approved to adopt a set of 3yr old twins from Uganda!  In addition, in Atlanta, they’re working with a core group of believers to start a specialty coffee shop in conjunction with planting a new church . . . cool, huh!?!

Jan. 14 … Byers Open House.  My parents opened up there home for a drop in visitation time for friends and family.  Among the guests were a number of family members who had never met Lillie or Hannah!  It was such a blessing, not only to share our ministry and some of your stories, but also to see our children warm up to our extended relatives and enjoy the gift of family.

Jan. 15 … Lead the music worship at Sweetwater Church.  It is always a joy to serve with fellow believers and jointly commit our lives in obedience.  I am excited about the future plans of this modest group of Christians as they strive to move effectively reach others with the Gospel.

Jan. 15 – 17 … Camping in North Georgia Mountains.  Below zero temperatures didn’t stop my brother and I from braving the outdoors for a much needed break.  Camping, hiking, and fishing (including a yummy 18 inch trout) rounded out this special quality time with my brother whom I don’t get to spend much time with.  I was thankful for the time with him and especially for the time outdoors to pray and experience God is a fresh way.

And the adventures continue!

I’m signing off for now, but as I do, know that I’m praying for C!C and all my friends north AND south of the border.

Aug 19 2011

Silence Speaks

In reading through Hebrews chapter 11 earlier this week, I was struck by something peculiar.  I was surprised by what the text didn’t say.

Most of the first 29 verses of the chapter detail significant faith-related events from Israel’s early history.  Verse 29 itself gives us the faith-full declaration that when stuck in an impossible scenario between the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s army, faith led the people to walk through the sea to safety.

Now here’s the surprise.

The next verse, 30, jumps more than 40 years of Biblical history and states, “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after being encircled for seven days.”  Consider what was skipped over:

  • Giving of the Law
  • Instituting the priesthood
  • Moses talking “face to face” with God
  • Manna from heaven
  • Spying on the Promised Land
  • Moses passing leadership to Joshua
  • Crossing the Jordan
  • and more!

And yet there is no mention of any of this in the Hebrew’s “Hall of Faith.”  Now while we should be VERY careful when drawing interpretation from what the Bible doesn’t say, a fair question to entertain is “Why is all of this skipped over?”

To be honest, I don’t feel qualified to speculate too far.  But what I have reflected on is that much of the time in those 40+ years of history was spent with the people NOT exhibiting proper faith.  They complained about almost everything.  They doubted Moses’ leadership.  They questioned God’s ability and desire to provide for their needs.  They usurped God’s authority in worship.  When they finally reached the Promised Land, they fearfully set aside His power to deliver the Land.  There was no consistent faith in “the reality of things hoped for, the evidence of what is not seen” (Heb. 11:1).

This makes me pause and take a “birds-eye” look at my season in life, my general attitude, the general attitude of my family . . . and also that of my faith-family (C!C).  Are my life and relationships characterized by facing impossible scenarios by putting a foot in the Red Sea or marching around the fortified city with a ridiculous military strategy . . . because God said so?!?  Or are my life and relationships characterized by complaining, second guessing, and waiting for my options to open up while ignoring God’s call to trust and obey?

History is being written, friends.  Consider the attitudes you have and the decisions you make.  Do your life and relationships reflect the kind of faith that we see God rewarding time after time after time?

Maybe it’s time for us to consider the history and the “great cloud of witnesses” and get serious about running “with endurance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (see Heb. 12:1-2).