Trick or Treat

Some Christians get pretty bent out of shape about Halloween, but the Smith family from Findlay doesn't have a big problem with using this night for a little bit o fun.

We started inviting our friends over for dinner, dessert and to hand out candy with us 3 years ago, and it is a blast. I think it is a little intimidating for some of the kids when there are 8-10 adults outside the house laughing, singing, playing guitar (last year) and offering them candy, but when they are walking away I am pretty sure they are glad they stopped by. We bring a lot of energy to Trick or Treat Night. We tell every single kid how cute they are, joke around with them, talk to the parents and try to spread a little joy throughout the evening.

Last Thursday night (our Trick or Treat night) I realized something.... Trick or Treat is the only time of the year in our culture/country where the majority of Americans open their doors and give away their possessions for free. Sure, it is just a couple hundred pieces of candy, but it is still something. For many people it is the only time of the year that they even see, let alone talk to, their neighbors. We handed candy out for an hour and 15 minutes last night to over 160 kids. Then we hit our street with our cute kids (see my updated pictures). Kelly and I know quite a few of our neighbors, but we met three new ones last night (4 & 5 houses down)!

We always focus on the bad attributes of Halloween, but we have chosen to just celebrate the positives of Trick or Treat. There is so much good about that night if you don't get all caught up in the fright and fear, but focus on the spreading of joy and giving away of some enjoyable item. If you were here with us last night I think you would agree!

One last thing... my daughter spread some joy last night for sure with this outfit below, (made by her mother dearest ). For more pictures you can visit Halle's own site. Oh yes, I just posted a picture. I am stepping it up on this blogging thing finally.
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Wow! Who could resist giving this girl all the candy they had. I couldn't!
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Abandoning The Church?

I have been reading blogs today... for much of the morning, and it has been so good to catch up, read the conversations about faith and peek in on many of your journeys.

Brandon's blog and Chris' response got me to thinking, so I am reposting my response on Chris' blog. As I read their blogs referring to conflict of abandoning vs. remaining in/redeeming the church (not exactly, but it is what I have read into it or seen in the comments) I felt the urge to join in the conversation, due to my recent life transition. There have been many question thrown our way concerning this issue in our lives. Are we leaving Findlay First? Yes. Are we leaving the denomination? Nope. Why not? Long story, but I hear many others who share many aspects of it (Brian Hull, Brandon Sipes, John Ballenger, Brian Postlewait, among others). Anyways, if you want the context for this post read Brandon's post and Chris' response above, but here are my thoughts...
I have appreciated being a part of a "group of people with whom I often disagree" for the past 5+ years, but it has also been draining. What I have found is that the draining element was not the people, but the other staff, pressures on the staff as a whole, the expectations of what questions could or could not be asked, and what issues could or could not be raised. I loved the people of my church family, and felt that we could not choose to leave them (and perhaps would not have for quite some time, even a few years), but the freedom we now feel is a constant confirmation that we were faithful until our time there was complete.

The finances of our church encouraged Kelly and I to take this leap now rather than later, but even if they weren't an influence the leap was needed. We do not see it as abandoning them because they are still our friends, our family, our extended body of Christ. We realize our presence has brought that community of believers to very new places. Our questions have become their questions. Our crises of ecclesiology their crises of ecclesiology. Our refreshed understanding of being a disciple, theirs as well. We have received from them and given to them and we are both the better for it.

We remain Nazarenes, although we don't have a "home church". We remain a part of this tribe because we believe there is hope. We believe there is an acknowledged need to discover new wineskins. We believe there is a hesitant desire to birth new communities that do not replicate the old, but are a fresh discovery of a new way of "doing church". We believe there is value in our spiritual heritage and theology, much of which we have lost through poor practice and the desire to be all things to all people. So, we have chosen to leave our place of worship, but not abandon our tribe.

We plan to travel, to spread the Word, to encourage deeper community, to rediscover the life of a disciple, to re-examine loving our neighbor. We aim not to replace the old wineskins, but to help our people discover new ones and to help repair those that are broken if needed. To help our people connect with other tribes in more meaningful and central ways. Most of all to be disciples ourselves, following our rabbi, seeking His path for our lives, to live life with an intentional community of fellow travelers, to bring light to dark places, to love the loveless and to further discover the Kingdom of God in the process.
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Last Sunday

Tomorrow is my last Sunday/last day at FFCN.
5 years. 3 months. 22 days. Done.


Life changes quickly, but this change is so clearly led by our Lord.
We are more excited about the Kingdom of God and living life within the body of Christ than we have been in a really long time. The Lord has been moving in our lives at such a rapid rate we are just hanging on for the ride, surrender to his direction and ready to see to where and what kinds of things He leads us.

In 25 hours I am officially no longer paid staff at a church, for the first time since I graduate college.
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I can start blogging again. I had a major block because I felt like I couldn't mention the company on here until after I was hired. So, I just couldn't blog because I was withholding such a major item that was domination my conciousness.

It is official.

My last day in the office was today. My last day at church is Sunday, buy my last day in Findlay may be a long, long time from now. Time has flown by!

For now Kelly and I feel like the Lord wants us to stay put. I accepted a position today at the fastest growing company in town. I am blown away that the Lord has opened this door for me so quickly. The name of the company is The Right Thing Inc and we do employment process outsourcing, which is a fancy way of saying that we streamline human resources for other companies. The company is a little over 3 years old and was voted the 3rd best small company to work for in America this past year. I absolutely fell in love with the way they do things during the interview process and can't wait to start.

The really cool thing is that they have a unique part-time employee system which allows you to choose your hours. You can work 1 hour a week or 40 hours a week, or more if you receive the ok. The real benefit of this is that if you have something important going on, you can just take that day off, and hopefully make up for it on the other days that week. The reason this is so appealing to me is that is allows me to travel on the weekends if I have the opportunity.

I really feel the Lord leading me to travel and speak/teach/preach at churches, youth events, seminars and any other opportunity that comes my way. In fact, this is going to me my primary ministry. This job will provide me with the flexibility to make this happen. I have been feeling the pull to do this for quite some time, and can't wait to put it into action. I have already recevied three invitations in the past two weeks, which once again blows me away!

The Lord is doing great things and we are excited to see where He leads us. Keep us in your prayers through this transition. I am going to attempt to complete 75% of my thesis for my M.A., during the month of November, before I begin working full-time at the end of the month... just to relieve some of the pressures while starting a new job. I trust the Lord is doing great things in your lives as well. Keep us updated! I would love to hear from you. I will share more about what life is starting to look like for us in this new era in the days ahead.

My new e-mail is:

Peace to you friends.
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