An Open Letter About Middlepoint

In 2011, my wife and I were following God’s leading as we packed up a U-Haul and left Norfolk, VA, traveling all the way to Grayson, KY.  We weren’t sure what was next, but we knew that God was leading us back to Kentucky.  For that, we are both grateful.

In 2012, we found what we thought was the reason God led us back to the Bluegrass State.  We were going to move to Middlesboro, KY, and plant a new church.  We were excited and grateful.

In 2013, we moved to Middlesboro and met all kinds of wonderful people from different walks of life.  Some of the best friendships I have now have been made in the past year in Middlesboro.  For that, we are grateful.

It’s with a grateful, yet saddened heart, that I have to announce that Middlepoint Christian Church is shutting down.  After much prayer, conversation, and wise counsel, Amy and I feel that this is the best thing for our family.  As you know, I’ve worked closely with the Kentucky Church Planting Partnership.  We have their full support as we move forward from here, and they will be handling the future of any independent Christian church plant that may happen in Middlesboro.  I ask for your prayer for them as they continue to seek God’s direction for this wonderful city.

This was not an easy decision.  I’ve shed tons of tears and heartache, praying and seeking, as we have made this decision.  But, we feel God’s peace about this.  Let me be clear: God is moving in Middlesboro.  I’ve talked to too many pastors, ministers, priests, community leaders, and local politicians to think otherwise.  Within the past two years, this city has seen a huge turn-around, and Amy and I are honored to have been a part of it.  What God is doing in this city is nothing short of a miracle.  Keep looking at the crater in southeastern Kentucky, because you’re going to be hearing about some huge things going on here soon.

A piece of my heart and Amy’s heart will always be in Middlesboro.  We moved here with the intention of raising our kids here.  We had goals, and I even joked about the things I would say at the 10 year and 20 year anniversary of Middlepoint Christian Church, and how our son would play football for Middlesboro High School.  But, as what sometimes happens, God has other plans.  For that, we are grateful.

Amy and I are searching for what’s next.  We have some interviews scheduled, and our future is something God knows.  We take comfort in that, although it isn’t easy sometimes.  We are looking forward to what God has in store, especially since we want to put down roots and make a home somewhere.

I ask for your continued prayers and support as Amy and I move forward.  I also ask for your prayers and support as KCPP leads the charge in loving God and loving people in Middlesboro.  Although some might look at Middlepoint as a “failed church plant,” I am confident that this is a victory for the Kingdom of Heaven.  I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Amy and I, above all, are grateful.

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The Hope of the World Losing Hope for the World

I’m a fireworks junkie, if that’s a phrase that I can use safely.  Basically, I really enjoy fireworks.  It doesn’t matter when or where; if fireworks are being shot off, I want to watch.  This is why I love Independence Day, besides the obvious reason (that whole “freedom” thing is pretty cool).  Not only can I watch fireworks from the parking lot of Kroger, but I can also stand out in my driveway and watch my neighbors set off fireworks for basically the entire month of July.  It gets old when it’s midnight and I’m trying to sleep, but from 9pm to 11pm, I’m all about it.

I love Independence Day.  I also love the U.S.A.  Seriously.  I’m not talking about loving a political party or having an affinity for hamburgers and cook-outs.  I really do enjoy living in the United States, and being with people who share this enjoyment with me.

This is why I have a problem with some Jesus followers hating on America.  Constantly.  Without doing anything about it.

You know who I am talking about, because 3 or 4 people just popped into your head.  Let’s be honest, it’s a drag to be around them.  They’re the “Debbie Downers” of fun holidays like Independence Day.  They’re constantly saying things like:

“I just don’t know what’s wrong with America.”

“Our country is headed in a downward spiral.”

“The country is getting worse and worse everyday!”

They say this because they see things happening in the country that they disagree with.  With each new piece of legislation being passed (or vetoed), and with each new politician elected, they lose all hope for the country.  To carry it even further, they usually seem like they’re losing hope for the world.

But…isn’t the church the hope of the world?

What happens when the hope of the world loses hope for the world?

There’s a huge problem in this line of “hopeless America” thinking.  If anyone had a right to complain about their country and society and throw up their hands to pronounce condemnation upon it, it was Jesus.  But he didn’t.  He actually loved the country, and encouraged his followers to do the same.

Why?  Because the country (and the world) is made up of people.  And Jesus loves people.

This is the point where the “hopeless America” Jesus followers start to point out the judgment Jesus dished out in the gospels.  I hate to break it to you, but Jesus reserved the harsh judgment for the religious.  Remember the white washed tombs that Jesus referred to (in Matthew 23)?  He wasn’t addressing the nation.  He was talking to religious people.

Let’s not be “religious people” when it comes to our country and the people that live in it.  Jesus loved them, and so do we.

Sure, there’s reason to pray hard for America.  Believe me, I do not agree with everything that happens.  But I don’t have to.  Why?

God is still God, no matter what.  And Jesus loved people, so as a follower of Jesus, I do too.

As a Jesus follower, you are part of the church.  The church is the hope of the world, for the church is the hands and feet of Jesus.  Don’t give up hope.

After all, Jesus didn’t give up hope.

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