Dear FECDB Youth,

This first post comes right after our 2015 “Post-Christmas” party celebration and the Second Nature “Chase” Conference (The conference will get its own post a little later) … I was originally going to make the longest facebook status ever but I kept typing and decided to turn it into a blogpost. Anyway, here it is fam:

Dear FECDB Youth,

You have my heart. Thanks for letting me serve you, for putting up with my semi-awkwardness, for bearing through my corniness, for being patient when I trip up, for trusting me to be your shepherd even through my inconsistencies and despite my fatigue and terrible sleeping habits. You have my heart.

One of several things I’ve aspired to do with you all is “share with you not only the gospel of God but also [my own self], because you have become very dear to [me]” (1 Thessalonians 2:8), and I thank you for receiving me despite such a quick transition for the both of us. You truly have been a visible, tangible evidence of God’s grace and love on my life.

I still can’t believe it’s only been a little over a year to have been with you all (“yawl”). I remember being a stranger and being awkward, and truth be told, some of you definitely intimidated me at first haha. Lol, it’s been a great first year and I know that God has done great things through us and for us, but I believe with my whole heart that God has a lot more for us to journey in together as one family. That’s the cool thing about following Christ; there’s always more of Christ to be had, like an everlasting buffet … that never runs out of food and where you never get quite full. Remember, there’s always more. If you stop believing that, you’re not following the true (biblical) God. He’s really that good.

As we approach 2015, my hope and prayer for us is that we might so much fixate our eyes on Christ that we begin to continually stop fixing on ourselves and our needs and our sin, and instead gaze on how to serve and spur one another on … that we might really be brothers and sisters to each other. Indeed, there’s more joy in Him than anything else we “chase.” There’s more joy in finding our satisfaction in Him than looking to counterfeits that will prove and have proven to never fulfill you. There’s more joy in Christ in fighting for community and service than throwing pity parties of unmet expectations.Please fight to get this when the busy-ness of our schedules come, when the days get dark, and when the lies of Satan come to convince you that you really are alone and that no one “gets” you or cares. Fight for your own joy, fight for each other’s. Fight for mine. It’s hard, this following Jesus thing, but it’s worth it.

I can’t promise much to you. It seems like God continues to reveal more and more sin that needs to die in me so as much as I appreciate you guys calling me awesome, I know the truth haha. But there are a couple things I can promise you. I promise that I’ll fight with you, alongside you, and maybe even yell at you at times to help you fix your eyes on where true life is found. I can promise more mistakes will be made and that as we continue to get to know each other deeply, you’ll see more and more of my flaws, insecurities, and my sins. But I also promise that if you’ll fight with me, for each other, for the renown of Christ and your own joy, we’ll be able to come to the end of 2015 with our minds more blown away, our hands strengthened, and our hearts more full. I love you all. I love getting the privilege to be your pastor (still weird for me to get my head around). And I long for those of you who aren’t currently with us, those of you who are currently far off and don’t know the greatest news in the universe quite yet. FECDB Youth, let’s let them know the freedom and joy found in our God. Glorify Your name Father through our little church. Thank You for gifting them to me.
Because of Christ,
-Jon

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