Today we painted a house, played with and loved nearly 40 kids at two playground Bible clubs and served food to about 180 families at the Love in Action Food Pantry.  I’d say it’s been a great Monday.  

God has certainly opened the eyes of these students to see a bigger world than just Florence, SC.  There’s no place like Bourbon Street back in Flo-town.  Though this city is the Big Easy, it’s the same as us.  We’re all just people…who would be lost without Jesus.  

We started our day at morning devotions at 7am and ended with church group devotion in the park along the river in Jackson Square at 10pm.  It’s been a full day of being poured out on the city.  For me, the best description of today was written in a thank you note from the 95yr old man whose house we painted.  He said, “Thank you for being sermons in shoes.”  That’s what this week is about… being the hands and feet that bring the Good News.  Pray for us Ebenezer.  Three more days ahead of us!!  God is doing big things in our hearts and lives.

** the cross was passed tonight from Reed to Melissa Miller.

We’ve made it!  Ten months of prayer, preparation and planning culminate today.  Our youth mission team has arrived on the campus of New Orleans Baptist Seminary to spend the week with Mission Lab sharing the Good News of Jesus.  Our 49 team members from the Crash of Ebenezer will be going in three different directions tomorrow.  Two teams will be leading sports camps at local parks for children while team three paints the exterior of a house for a senior adult gentleman.  In the afternoon the sports camp teams will also be serving at a local food pantry.  

Tonight as we began our week, the camp pastor spoke on the theme for the week, “Simmer.”  Simmer is a familiar term in New Orleans cuisine… especially in how they cook gumbo.  To simmer something means to slowly cook it.  You can’t microwave a good gumbo.  You have to be patient.  Likewise in our walk with Christ we should simmer on the Gospel.  Faith is not about quick answers, short cuts and the fast way.  It’s a process.  My prayer for this week is that the heart of our students and leaders will take time away from the norm and “simmer” a bit on the Good News.  That as we KNOW Him more, we can be better prepared to make Him KNOWN.

** The cross has been passed so far from Chandler to Ross and tonight from Ross to Reed.

Four years ago I sat at lunch with graduates from Morningside in Spartanburg.  It was a tough day because I was about to move my family from serving in the Upstate to Florence.  In fact, just days after I left that graduate luncheon I was living in Florence.  Some of the students in this video are among first students I met.  They were in a transition time too.  They were getting ready to start high school and were a bit uneasy about having a new youth pastor.  But God graciously brought our lives together.  Four years later, we’ve had a ton of great memories together and grown closer to the Lord.  These four years have flown by quickly.  I’m very proud of each of you.  Congratulations! Let everything you do in life be about JESUS.