My final summer camp as a youth pastor. Nineteen years ago, Silver Lake Camp was where I crossed that line of faith in commitment to Christ and have had the pleasure of directing over the last four years. What an incredible finale.
I had the opportunity this morning to share my heart for the Tri-Cities while with Sean Boyd and Fountain Church in Tumwater, WA. Talk about a church planter with a heart for his community.
We know where to go for a broken arm, but where do we turn for a broken heart? Listen in at http://www.fountainchurch.com/FCA%202012/FC%202012-06-24%20Blue%20Bridge%20Church%20(Justin%20Farley).mp3.
I am so grateful for all of the partners (the number continues to grow each and every day) to Blue Bridge Church. But Sean has to be one of my favorites. He first approached me at Annual Conference and asked if I would be willing to speak on a Sunday morning. I told him that he did not understand how much it meant to me to receive my first weekend speaking engagement on behalf of Blue Bridge. He said that he did. He had not very long ago been in my shoes and he did not believe it was right for church planters to have to beg for support.
Sean has encouraged and challenged me in so many ways – all with such grace, humility, and joy.
My prayer now is that somehow and someway Blue Bridge becomes a blessing to the Fountain. As is the case for all of our partners, especially with the church first willing to send us – Maltby Christian Assembly, I pray that our story becomes a part of their story.
By the way, our Fall calendar continues to fill up. Several pastors from around our Network have since invited us in on a Sunday morning (or at least have been willing to give to our startup costs). All of September and all but one Sunday in October is accounted for. There are still a few dates left in November and December.
Pray for us. We will be a generous church right out of the gate – but we need your generosity in order to launch. Go to Bluebridgechurch.org for more information.
I don’t know of another athlete who has had more pressure on him to win at such a young age (even if some of that criticism was due to his own decisions). I was impressed with what I saw this postseason. There was a different drive, a different focus, and different ability that seemed to be lacking since he left Cleveland two years ago. Even though I am no longer the fan that I once was – he was truly fun to watch this year.
And for the record, I do not apologize for writing last year’s open letter to Michael Jordan (http://justinfarley.blogspot.com/2011/06/airness.html?z). James’ 2011 postseason performance was inexcusable. But 2012 reminds us that it was not unforgivable nor irreversible. He is clearly a new player. He is clearly the best player right now. My hope is that he keeps that hunger and humility necessary to win many more and be added to the best of all time.
King James has seemed to learn some valuable life lessons along this nine year journey. And in so doing he has taught me two of my own:
1) Stop propping up players too early in their careers
Gone are the days where players had to accomplish something before they received endorsements and acculades. Those days should return. James was far too famous for doing far too little. He now deserves all that he has – but he did not for a very long time (which is why I left him last year as a fan). So stop all the craziness for players like Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant. You can like them (which I do). But please stop short of putting them in the same sentence with players like Kobe Bryant (I can’t believe I just wrote that), Tim Duncan, and Lebron James (until they win they like them). Honestly, those players need to stop putting themselves in that same league until they can play like it.
Stop rooting against players and instead focus on teams
Another purpose behind my Jordan letter a year ago was to lament the fact that I missed so much of the greatness behind his career because I was so upset that he continued to take my Knicks to task. Never again. I want to appreciate the talent of players regardless of their uniform (this does not mean that I will be a fan – it just means I will give credit where credit is due). I can dislike the Lakers (detest, actually) without discrediting what Kobe has done as a player.
Don’t get me wrong, this does not mean that I will ever pull for the Yankees (I know, I am mixing sports now) – it just means that I can recognize great players, teams, and dynasties along the way.
But I will not call greatness before it is great.
David R. Dow suggests, “People might disagree about whether [a murderer] should have been executed. But I think everybody would agree that the best possible version … would be a story where no murder ever occurs.”
Jesus proposed, “I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me” (Matthew 25:36, ESV).
1) The earlier you intervene into a case, the greater the odds you will save a client’s life.
2) A death row inmate is not the exception to the rule. They are the rule.
One more reason Blue Bridge Church will be dedicated to mentoring boys and girls – whether in the context of a community center or a local school (not to mention in partnership with parents as the primary disciplers of their children). One more reason Blue Bridge Church will be dedicated to recovery groups and prison ministry.
We will be preventative and proactive. We will help a murderer before he is a murderer.
Jesus invested his life in the lepers, the paralytics, and the demoniacs. These individuals became signs that pointed to the Kingdom. I am convinced that if Christ walked the streets of the Tri-Cities he would be in the hospitals, the public schools, the pregnancy resource centers, the prisons, the recovery centers, the community centers, the assisted living homes, etc.
Dangerously dysfunctional homes. We need somewhere to put them? All these things cost money. So who will be willing to be generous in a world that has forgotten how to be generous?
So that is where we will be. We will not just prevent consequences. We will see transformation in a community.
Have you ever thought it would be funny to hide from your parents? What happened? Hear some of my experiences at http://resources.razorplanet.com/510796-5165/510796_1102_261644.mp3 or by subscribing to the “Maltby Christian Assembly” podcast on iTunes.com and listening to the June 17, 2012 message. Comment below.
Here is what I will most remember from each of them:
* Michael Crepps: A very good friend. A very good leader. We have just scratched the surface of what Jesus is going to do in and through his life. His honor and humility are outstanding – and he loves to make disciples.
* Jordan Faulds: Pause. What great joy. It has been an honor to see her grow in her faith. She always claims to not know a lot about her faith – but I know few others who want to know Christ more!
* Blair Hopkins: An encourager. She always reminds you of what you could and should do. Loyalty. She does not give herself the credit that she deserves – I hope she will one day.
* Curran Parker: His story is incredible. Cured from cancer. But make no mistake, that is just a part of his story. His growing obedience will be his greatest testimony to God’s Kingdom. I love what I am seeing!
* Kenny Priest: Not many leaders thrive behind the scenes and on the platform (let alone are content to be found in either environment). He is. There is a definite call on his life and Mary’s to be in Alaska. I commend them both for being patient during this preparatory process.
* Mary Priest: She has a heart for the hurting. She wants to offer help and hope to those who have seen little of either. Mary has gone out of her way to invite and involve those hiding in the fringe.
* Jazmin Ridley: One of my original students at Maltby. Truly a gem. I could not be more proud. She just gets what it means to be a leader – one of integrity of influence. It has not always been easy for her and yet she never lost hope in Christ or his church or his youth ministry. She did not complain – she did something about it. There is a call on her life…
Jamie Westerfield: Meekness. Quiet strength. Controlled. Confident. Intentional. She makes every team better.
* Austin Zornes: I will never forget his name again! I don’t know many leaders who come into your office with the inent of wanting to step up. Always up for a challenge. Wise beyond his years. This is just the beginning.
Jana and I truly love you guys. We look forward to finishing strong this summer and the lifelong relationships we have forged with all of our leaders.