The Hatred of the World

Today was such a special day at North Side after 2 weeks away.  I was overwhelmed at our church on mission.  The whole day was intertwined with God’s activity with our people as they reach others for Christ.

We started with celebrating Suzanna Edwards, a rising freshman at North Greenville, who displays a heart for missions.  We then got to hear and see our collegiate missionaries speak to us in 2 different languages – so proud of them!  Ben and I then led worship from the floor with nothing but what we had last week as we led worship in West Africa for a bunch of missionaries.  The acoustic, djembe, and congregation were so wonderful as we celebrated Jesus and connected with His Church around the world.  As we commissioned our Shake-n-Shine missionaries, we had Aubin Payne, a former Shake-n-Shine camper pray over our counselors and the impact they will have on children this week.

And we were just getting started!

After an incredible missional sermon on how the world will hate us if we go forward in the name of Jesus (so timely for me, personally), we got to ordain Taylor Wolfe into the gospel ministry.  As one of my companions to Africa last week, he has accepted a position as an associate pastor of students at First Baptist Church Crothersville, IN.  He will also be continuing his seminary education at Southern Seminary.  As a member of my C-Group, dear friend, and fellow laborer for the Kingdom, it has been an honor to live life with him and watch him grow over the years.  I will miss my dear friend as he moves, but I couldn’t be more joyful as I see him and his wife follow God.  Not knowing when, but they believe God is leading them to the international mission field in the years to come.

His wife, Jessica, and their baby, Piper, will be missed greatly at North Side.  Jessica has worked on the North Side staff for 5 years, and many of those years she has worked with me on the worship team.  Almost everything you have seen, heard, or experienced over the last hundreds of worship services, Jessica has been a part of and it has been better because of.  Jessica has a unique gifting combination – joyful attitude coupled with administrative skills.  She is for real a detailed ninja.  She knows how to get stuff done, but she does it in such a way that everyone loves her!  To say we will miss her will be an understatement.  She has been a key part of what God has done in our church over the last few years.  We are a better church due to her.

And Piper.  We just love you like crazy little girl.  Take care of your parents for us!

At North Side, we have lost members like crazy over the last few years, and it’s been wonderful.  Some of our most wonderful people have left to serve on church staffs, mission fields, and ministry positions all over the world.  If we’re going to lose members, that’s the way to lose them.

Today, we worshiped to: