Yesterday afternoon my family was sitting in a Pirate themed Georgian Bay-side fish and chips joint as I listened to my kids talk about their summer. It was a very expository and heartwarming lunch in Tobermory.
Over the last two months I've seen dreams I've worked at building for a decade come to pass. Dreams are sometimes bothersome little nagging things that can tease us. But I think they are actually DESIGNED to likely tug more than tease if we have the courage to follow their vapors.
This summer I've seen the church I was BLESSED to be able to help plant and lead... grow in numbers and physical size. By the fall when our students return we should break a barrier we've been at for a number of years. And my family has been a part of it. Shoot... Jared was the FIRST kid to ever use the 1st Freedom House nursery so he's grown up WITH the church!
This summer we held a mass public baptism. Our team baptized about 75 in our public outdoor square (newspaper story here) and while this astounding day deserves it's own blog... I'm not entirely I've fully processed the full significance of the day. But needless to say, this day was something many would have written off as not possible in our Canadian culture. But it happened... and my family was a part of it. It's THEIR foundational experience too.
This weekend I got preach in church that has caught the vision that our church has been living out. Then I led a team of our young adults and University Students who have come to Brantford (some to stay) from around the province in serving Lions Head's first Kindness Carnival. 500 in a town of 500 came to play on our inflatables, eat free hot dogs & candy floss... causing the mayor of the city to be shocked that the church cared that much about their community. As we've seen happen again and again, I believe people went home that night to reconsider what they thought of the church... and the God we are called to show in our time.
I also rode in a backhoe driven by a drunken Lions Club guy who tried to dump me to see if superheros can fly. Turns out they can't. That wasn't necessarily part of the dream. But that's the thing about dreams. When you follow God... there are LOTS of "extras" you weren't prepared for but happen when you walk in faith IN ORDER for God to execute HIS plans. And HIS plans are...
“... plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you"
This weekend is the kind of weekend I dreamed that one day my church would be able to do. And it's now happening.
But before this weekend... I had been realizing that my time had been being stretched very thin. My kids were beginning to get that, "please stay home Dad" look in their eyes. And with more work on the horizon, God gave my family a gift of a ministry weekend away where we all had roles. But it was more than that.
We, again, were welcomed into a WARM family home where the spirit of generosity was tangible. The Myles family of Lions Head doted on our kids, enabled the fulfillment of dreams, and blessed us with memories that we now share with our kids in areas we CARE about. But God is funny... because they were even "tickle their heart" Carrol-specific things. I used to vacation with my family in Tobermory and is a place I have very fond memories of. But lack of money, lack of time and often my own strong-headed (or maybe wrong-headed) no-breaks mentality has meant family vacations are few and far between.
But God did what He does. I think he knew my family needed this weekend and we were getting weak... so Romans 8 came alive:
"... the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
What a marvelous God we serve.