Holy Day

Monday wasn’t just a holiday- Labor Day- it was a holy day. Rhett and I spent it with our Movement family serving some of our neighbors at the Rescue Mission in downtown Nashua as our September LOVE603 event. We boiled potatoes, peeled eggs for “angeled eggs,” set up tables, grilled chicken, burgers and hotdogs and eventually gave away popsicles to about 200 people who showed up for the cookout. We had the chance to sit and talk and laugh and play corn hole and eat with our sweet neighbors. It was special; it was holy.

To be holy means to be set apart. God is perfectly holy. He’s completely set apart from anything evil. As Christians, we’re called to be holy just like Him. It can be a churchy word used to accuse people of not following the right rules, but the reality is that holiness is a gift we’re given when we say yes to following Jesus. We shouldn’t have to work to be holy, we just need our lives to agree with what God says about them.

In 2 Timothy, a book of the Bible written by Paul to a younger friend he was mentoring, it says He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time. Our calling to holiness is a gift and a grace.

Sometimes, it can feel like living a holy life is a whole lot of saying no. In some ways, it is. It’s saying no to selfishness so we can say yes to serving others. It’s saying no to judgment so we can say yes to love. It’s saying no to filling our time with things that bring emptiness so we can say yes to creating space for Jesus, who brings peace and healing. It’s saying no to things that aren’t very good for us so we can mightily say yes to things that are best for us. I want to say a whole lot of yes to Jesus.

When we say yes, we get to experience moments like yesterday. Moments where heaven meets earth for a little while, and we get a glimpse of the glory and the Love found in Christ. We each have these opportunities all the time. Every single day we come across people who could use a little hope. Let’s be holy and say yes to generously giving this life all we’ve got.

Click here and enter love603 as the password to get a glimpse of what this holy day looked like!

We’re praying for you and we are with you! Thanks for being with us.

A lil’ Update

Hi friends!

This summer has absolutely flown by for us. We’ve tried to make the most of every single warm second imaginable, and I think we’ve been pretty successful. Between beach baptisms (there’s another one planned for Sunday!), three weeks of camp and visits from friends and family, our summer has been full and so good.

We wanted to take some time to update you on our lives. Ministry in New England is both very familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. As I write this in one of our Next Gen rooms at Movement, the sounds of music blaring and people preparing for Messy Night tonight are floating through the window. Messy Nights are something lots of churches do- but for many of the people attending tonight’s event, it’ll probably be the first time they’ve experienced anything like it. So many of our people are just now discovering what it’s like to follow Jesus. It’s humbling and completely thrilling that He somehow has chosen Rhett & I to be part of that.

With the fall quickly approaching, both soccer season and support raising have begun again. As many of you know, we’ve committed to another year here in New Hampshire. We love living here: I work two days a week at my favorite local coffee shop, and spend the rest of my time leading LOVE603: coordinating monthly organized events where we serve alongside our community, empowering others to execute their own organic events, leading a LOVE603 Coalition, overseeing our truck deployments and organizing school supplies/ diaper/ clothes/ toy drives, depending on the time of year! I also love teaching about Jesus. I get to disciple many incredible women who are so hungry to learn more about Him and the Bible.

Rhett does it all. From leading our StudentMovers ministry, to singing or playing various instruments during worship, to preaching and coaching soccer, I am blown away every day by his uncanny ability to joyfully show others what it looks like when your life is utterly devoted to the Lord. He’s amazing. Together we have led a week of camp and a week of CIY Move and we look forward to leading our small group again in the fall.

While we were at Move, one of the preachers encouraged us to have an “only God” story at least once a week. We should be living so expectantly and aware of His presence that every single week we see Him do something that only He can do. Being at Movement has given us regular “only God” stories. Only God could grow our church from 70 to 350. Only God could make an additional service on a Monday night effectively reach a new population of people. Only God could move so powerfully in the lives of our friends- friends like Rebecca and Jordan, Ben, Vicki, and so many more. Only God can work in such a way that our students are making decisions to be baptized. Only God could have provided for us financially time and time again, both as a couple and as a church.

We know it’s only God who makes movement happen, but somehow He lets us be part of His Kingdom work. Would you consider joining us as we gear up for another year here in New England? If you’d like to commit to being part of the family here, through prayer or a financial gift, please click the link below. We can’t do this without God, and we can’t do this without you. Thank you!

https://docs.google.com/a/my.occ.edu/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfQYAdjlHadfSK4AIIwkfzEN_54f2AqoWeC5ReFlPcJtAN_bQ/viewform?c=0&w=1

WISDOM.

“Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” 1 Kings 3:7-9

Ooh, Solomon, I sure feel ya on this one. Young and inexperienced? Yep. Always a little overwhelmed? Definitely. Reliant on the goodness and faithfulness of our God? ALWAYS.

To drop this passage into context, here’s what’s happening: King David, one of Israel’s first ever kings, has just died. After some familial drama, his son Solomon inherits the throne and God decides to give our homeboy whatever he wants. He shows up to Solomon in a dream and literally says “Ask for whatever you want.” So Solomon asks for wisdom because he has some mighty shoes to fill and he knows he’s gonna need it. There are a ton of people out there who are looking to him to lead them well, and he recognizes that he needs God’s help to carry out his responsibilities.

We probably aren’t ruling kingdoms, but we are certainly helping lead the Kingdom. Every day each of us has the chance to create and contribute to the glorious Kingdom that Jesus is establishing here on earth. We get to be Kingdom people, princes and princesses in our own right, adding to the goodness, glory, love and joy that Jesus desires for every single one of us and everyone we know.

And guess what? The same gift available to Solomon is available to us too. God gave Solomon wisdom in abundance. The books that Solomon helped write (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes) are called wisdom literature. This guy got a whole section of the Bible named after the gift God have him! And we have the chance to say yes to this very same gift!

James 1:5 tells us that “if any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Did you catch that? It will be given to you. I think sometimes we read Bible stories and completely forget that the God written about ages ago is alive and actively working in our lives today. It’s not like the Biblical writers had access to God 1.0 and we ended up with the sequel. The same goodness, grace, power and majesty displayed so evidently in the pages of the Bible is present with us right this very second!

So let’s not say no! Let’s say a resounding YES to wisdom, to the power to know between right and wrong and choose better, today. All we’ve gotta do is ask. There’s a Kingdom to lead, there’s people who need to be loved and there’s goodness waiting for all of us.

Amen?

 

A B O U N D I N G

This year, I asked the Lord to give me a word or theme for 2018. I’ve heard of people doing this before, and while I’ve felt that certain words have truly captured seasons of my life, I’ve never done this at the start of a brand new year. I was expecting something pretty, like “hope” or “abide” or “rest.” Instead, I got “abounding.”

Dictionary.com defines this word by stating:

to occur or exist in great quantities or numbers

to be rich or well supplied
to be filled

“Really, Lord? What does that even mean? How can my word for 2018 be abounding? That would make a terrible tattoo!” 

While I didn’t understand where this word came from, the confirmation I felt in my heart made me certain it was something I needed to explore. It feels a bit ironic, however, because when I think back on 2017, so much of what I take away is this idea of abundance. Abundance in God’s faithfulness and power in bringing us here to New England. Abundance in His provision and all the incredible, generous gifts of people, money and memories that have marked this year for us. Didn’t He already teach me about His abounding love and provision?

Then, however, I turned to the Bible to see where this strange word might be found.

The New American Standard Bible translates 1 Corinthians 15:28 to say:

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”

Oh, okay. Well, that one seems to make sense. I can see how this is relevant to where I am now.

Psalm 103:8 says that “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.”

Yep. I’m learning that one too.

While this word isn’t always utilized in every translation of the Bible, as I seek it I see how God knows what I need for 2018. Besides, I can always, always use more of Him to fill my heart, soul and life. I’m not sure what this year will bring yet, but I know that God is good, that He abounds in love and that He has called us to this holy work.

Do you have a word for 2018? How would you describe 2017?

As always, we love you and we are praying for you. Thank you all for your support and care in 2017. We are so excited to see what this next year will hold!

Life is Too Short for Cold Feet

The weather has been all over the place lately. Sometimes it’s in the 80s, then it’ll drop down to the 50s without so much as a warning! Today, it is both rainy and warm, but a few days ago, the chilly wind had me looking for my socks, because, honestly, life is just too short to have cold feet.

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Cozy toes on a chilly New England day!

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately: not just in relation to my freezing toes, but also to the choices we make every day. Too often, I find myself with “cold feet” when it comes to jumping out of my comfort zone. Anyone else? When you see someone in need of a ride, do you offer your car or do you have cold feet? When it comes to the coworker, family member or friend who is struggling, do you reach out with kindness or develop cold feet? What about inviting someone to church or telling them about the immense love and grace found in Christ? Do you jump into a scary conversation or do you let your cold feet hold you back?

Maybe cold feet isn’t just fear; maybe it’s busyness or apathy or shame that holds us back from being the people we are called to be. I know I’ve let all of those things stop me in various ways. Think of what we lose out on when we do that, though! Think of the opportunities, conversations and relationships we say “no” to before they’re even given a chance! I truly believe that God doesn’t withhold good things from His children (that’s us!) but sometimes I think the coldness in our hearts, prayers and actions stop us from receiving them.

Today, I am grateful for all those who don’t let cold feet hold them back from being the people they are called to be. Esther, in the Bible, showed fearlessness when she stuck up for justice at the risk of her life. David didn’t let cold feet stop him from defeating Goliath, and his prophet, Nathan, didn’t let cold feet stop him from calling out his friend on his sin. Ultimately, Jesus didn’t let cold feet stop Him from dying on the cross to give us an abundant, glorious and full life in Him.

Friends, life is too short for cold feet. Life is too precious for us to let fear, shame, or any distraction stop us from following Jesus’ example boldly and passionately. We are told time and time again to not fear. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6 not to worry about what we will eat, drink or wear because we can trust in God and His provision. Rather than worrying or letting fear hold us back, we are to “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

We are learning this every day here in the 603. We continue to be given opportunities to jump first into intimidating situations, and not let cold feet hold us back. Whether it is speaking at youth group, preaching, heading to Texas to do disaster relief, inviting new friends to church (or even just making new friends!) or helping lead a food pantry, both of us are being stretched outside of our comfort zone. When I’m tempted to say no because of fear or apathy, God is gently reminding me that life is too short for cold feet.

Today, I want to encourage you to say no to cold feet with me! Put on a pair of warm socks if you need to, surround yourself with the Word of God and let’s head out of our comfort zones, together.

As always, you are welcome to leave a comment or shoot as an email with a story or prayer request of your own. We love you so much!

 

We’re home!

We’ve been here one week and three days, and I already feel as though we have more stories to tell than this little website could hold. We are learning so much about church planting, ministry and life here in New England. It’s difficult to explain just how full these last few days have been, and just how grateful we are for each of you and our Almighty God, but I’ll try to do my best!!

First of all, it’s important to clarify that I got the “all clear” from the doctor. After my medical testing came back negative, Rhett and I knew we could move to the Northeast in confidence, without a major stressor hanging over our heads. That was such a relief, and we are so grateful for the way your prayers made a difference in how we felt as we waited for test results. Thank you.

Secondly, our trip out here was pretty much as good as it could get! We had no major issues, and besides a detour 30 minutes off the highway to a semi-sketchy motel for the night, nothing was too inconvenient or surprising… I take that back. A twenty-six dollar toll fare was surprising. New England is full of toll roads.

When we pulled into our new apartment, we had a crowd of about fifteen people from the church waiting to help us unload our Penske! In quite the flurry, the truck was completely unloaded after only fourteen minutes! Josh, the lead minister at Movement, timed it for us. We were then able to talk with our new church family for a while and spend some time getting to know them. We felt so incredibly loved by the way they showered us with everything from home grown herbs to delicious local pizza to fresh flowers, gluten free brownies and numerous gift cards over the next few days. Movement, thank you. Thank you for welcoming us with open arms, trusting hearts and so much incredible generosity. You already mean the world to us.

Since then, we’ve been able to set up our little home, figure our way around (through lots of turning around), attend meetings and jump head first into the community. Our first day in the office, we were able to sit in on a meeting with a wonderful lady who recently decided to give her entire life to Jesus and get baptized. She and her family started coming to Movement after a literal sign got stuck in the bushes of her front yard! It was an honor to hear her share her heart.

Between several other meetings, soccer practice and games for Rhett, trying and failing to set up a local bank account (apparently proof of residence is necessary? I should have known), and unpacking lots of random boxes, we have also been able to share meals with so many gracious people from Movement. This has been a blessing for lots of reasons. It’s allowed us to explore our new home, to meet and get to know so many wonderful new friends and to not have to worry as much about cooking as we get settled in. To those of you that have opened your home, brought food over or shared a meal with us: Thank you so much. Thank you for your kindness and hospitality. We have so enjoyed spending our evenings with you, and we’re looking forward to many more!

Finally, we’ve also been able to start experiencing life in a small town between two larger cities here in New England. Merrimack basically runs into Nashua and Manchester, both of which are pretty big. On Saturday, we went to a community yard sale before crossing the street and attending a book sale at the library. Sunday, we drove into Nashua and had the most amazing time at an Egyptian Festival held at the Coptic church. We ate shish kabobs, rice pilaf, tabouleh and stuffed grape leaves as we talked with some new friends of ours who immigrated to the United States about two years ago from Egypt. They shared their experiences with us, growing up and living as Christians in a country where Islam is the dominant religion. We also shared a photo and swapped Facebook friend requests so we can stay in touch!

There are so many incredible things happening here. We have learned and experienced so much in these past few days! There is a significant need here for people who know, love and trust Jesus Christ to spread His Light and speak His name. Thank you for allowing us to do so. We couldn’t have made it this far without many of you, who have prayed for us, followed us and supported us in so many encouraging ways. Thank you. Jesus is moving powerfully to change lives in the Northeast, and He is using people like you and me to do so. Thanks!

A Change of Plans

According to the plan, we were to have spent yesterday packing up a truck and today on the road. Our plan was to pull into Merrimack tomorrow afternoon and begin a new season of our lives together. If I’ve learned anything, though, it’s that plans change- often.

Instead of packing up a truck, we spent part of yesterday in a doctor’s office. A surprise medical issue came up in the past few days, and thankfully I was able to get in to see doctors and have tests run quickly. It probably isn’t anything serious, but we would much rather be safe than sorry! Because of this issue and the subsequent testing, we decided to postpone our cross country move for another week.

We should know for sure whether follow up treatment will be required or not by Monday or Tuesday. Because of the uncertainty of this time, we felt it was best to wait a few days before jumping into this huge transition! Having relatively invasive tests done is stressful enough without experiencing everything that goes along with a major move, as well. The team at Movement has been incredibly supportive and loving as they’ve prayed for and encouraged us. We are so grateful to be joining their family!

Making this decision was difficult; we are anxious and excited to move to Merrimack, start our ministry at Movement, settle into our new home and our new roles and meet our new friends. We really didn’t want to have to push it back. However, we feel confident that we made the right choice to stay in Indiana for a few more days. Six months from now, these few days (hopefully!) won’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but right now they feel pretty important.

God has been so faithful over the course of this season of raising support and trying to figure out what we’re supposed to do and where we’re supposed to go. Over these past few days, He has continued to prove His faithfulness by comforting us and providing us with exactly what we need. Romans 8 has been my anthem, as “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Sometimes, His love is even more evident in times that seem threatening. Perhaps, as I am being convicted of, we are better at paying attention to Him when the future seems scary.

Please join us in prayer as we await test results and navigate the next couple of days. As of now, the plan is to leave Indiana next Friday and arrive in New Hampshire on Saturday. Please pray for our travels and our time settling into a new home. Please pray for our hearts, too, as we rest in God’s peace and trust in Him.

We are so grateful for each of you. Thank you for reading our posts, for reaching out to us, for encouraging, praying and supporting us. Your love means the world, and this wouldn’t be possible without you! Thank you for letting Jesus use you to show his great love to us.

“The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation.” Psalm 118:14

Dreamin’

When we first got married, Rhett and I opened up two savings accounts. One was for emergencies, and one was for travel. We put most of our money away into our main savings account, but we made sure to set aside some money for travel whenever we got paid. 

At the time, we didn’t have any specific plans for traveling. We just knew it was something important to us and something we wanted to start saving for. Honestly, it has been one of the best decisions we’ve made. It’s allowed us to spend a few weeks traipsing across national parks this summer. We’ve definitely been traveling cheap; tent camping and eating lots of sandwiches and bowls of cereal, but the memories we’ve made and sights we’ve seen are absolutely priceless. 

Already, we’re beginning to dream about what our next trip might be. Sure, it’ll take a few years of saving, but what about Europe? We have friends we could stay with! Or maybe Alaska? Neither of us have been there yet.. there’s something so beautiful about taking time to dream and letting our hearts become captivated by thoughts of what might be. 

I think God created us to be dreamers. We’re created in His image, and if He didn’t dream up Glacier National Park while forming it into being, I’m not sure how it got to be here. I see us as dreamers when we share our visions for what our churches and communities could become. I see us as dreamers when we pray, humbly asking God to make our dreams come to life, whether it’s for peace in relationships or renewed health or a renewed heart. Prayer is lots of things, and sometimes it’s bringing our dreams to Jesus and asking Him to speak into them. 

Sometimes, though, when we do this, Jesus changes our dreams. Sometimes He dismantles them. Sometimes this hurts, a lot. Sometimes, like Abraham and Sarah in the Bible, He has us wait years and years before saying “yes” to our dreams. Sarah was an old woman before He finally granted her wish for a child! Even then, there were moments where that dream was threatened. Sometimes, dreaming can be scary, because it might be easier to imagine nothing at all then to get our hopes up without promise. 

Over the past year and lots of my life (yours too, probably), dreams have been dreamed only to be torn down and rebuilt. When I first left home for Ozark Christian College, my dream was to graduate single and move across the world to rescue men, women and children from human trafficking. Obviously, that’s not exactly how my life is panning out, and that’s probably a really good thing! Over my time as a student, God changed my heart toward community development, urban ministry and marriage. My dreams began to build around Soren Rhett Johnson and ministry with low-income neighbors right in my community. Still, though, I never saw myself working directly in a church. 

When I was offered a job working with a community development organization, I thought my dreams were coming true. But God, in His grace and love, is steering us in a different direction. Rather than returning to my family and hometown, a dream I had built, He’s leading us to a church plant in New Hampshire. Honestly, things with Movement started coming together before they became a hope in my own heart. This is and always has been His dream, as far as I can tell. 

He has also been the one building it back up in my mind and heart. Over these past few weeks of travel, He’s been answering my prayers by affirming this decision and giving me an immense amount of peace and joy concerning it. I’m dreaming about putting together our little apartment and lighting the sweet cinnamon candle my mother-in-law bought us from the Bishops Castle gift store in the San Isabel forest a few weeks ago. I’m dreaming about decorating a guest room so friends, family, travelers and who ever else might need it will have a cozy and restful place to stay. I’m dreaming about sharing coffee with new friends, worshiping with a new church body, finding creative ways to get involved with our community and having conversations about our great, dream-giving God with people who may or may not know His love yet. I’m dreaming about working alongside an incredible staff of dreamers who are pursuing God’s vision with passion and courage.

God is in the business of giving and building dreams. Sometimes it seems as though He is forsaking our hopes and wishes, but more often than not, the cliche phrase “when God closes a door, He opens a window” holds true. 

However, we can’t put Him in a box. I think I know where He’s leading; it seems He’s affirming it, but if something falls through, does that make Him unfaithful? No. When He doesn’t clear a path for our dreams to come true, we can still trust Him, knowing that there is something He is calling each and every one of us to be and to do. Our call to love Him and love others is unchanging and applicable in every context. 

Friends, what are the dreams and wishes you’re holding on to? Have you laid them before our God? Is He building a new dream in you, or gently (or not so gently) taking apart an old one? Please feel free to leave a comment below or email us! 

As always, we love you and we are praying for you.

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Same Old News

Over the many travels I have had the privilege of taking theses past few years, I have seen and experienced lots of wonderful things. Each city, region, or national park I’ve been to has been its own unique concoction of God’s imagining, but there are some things that every place has in common. One thing I have noticed in particular is that everyone and everywhere has news.

The Bible says that on the sixth day, God created Adam, and I’m sure that soon after, Adam was asking about the making of this world and God was telling the news. Ever since, all of humanity has been obsessed with news, from the battle of marathon, to Paul Revere’s midnight ride, to the local gossip of every village since Adam and Eve. News has always played an intricate role in the story of humanity. (Frankly, news IS the story of humanity). And this is not a bad thing! As humans created in God’s image, we are hard wired to aspire to reflect God’s all-knowing quality, His “omniscience”, by striving to know about the world around us. It’s no coincidence that our charge as Christians is to spread the “Good news”.

But I have noticed over the last two weeks of being largely out of touch with the news, just how quickly news happens in today’s world, and just how easy it is to drown in news that sows fear instead of the hope of the Gospel.

My mom has been my messenger, texting me about the days events for me to receive every time I happen upon service. Every few days I get her updates and it’s made me realize just how fast our news cycle is in 2017. Between updates, stories are born, dominate TV and social media, and die within 24 to 48 hours. The term “15 minutes of fame” has never been more literal!

I’ve been receiving  these updates all while spending time seeing the glory of God’s creation in places like the snowy peaks of the Grand Tetons, the awesomely weird mud pots of Yellowstone, and the stunning “Going to the Sun Road” in Glacier National Park. I’ve learned that information hasn’t always spread as quickly as it does now. On our last night in Glacier, we were able to sit atop the mountains and view the wonders of the night sky with several local astronomers. While taking in the stars, one astronomer noted that this was the same view that virtually every human being had each night up until about 150 years ago.

Isn’t that incredible? I was reminded of the unchanging nature of God. Every night He puts the stars on display to show us how BIG He is and how small we are. How much He must love us to go to the trouble of giving us such a view! Even though our God is unchanging, we tend to so often get caught up in the world’s ever changing and always incredulous news. Whether it’s on the tv, or in the work place or family, we spend so much time and energy worrying about news that we forget what’s important: God’s news.

Since the dawn of creation, God has been writing the same piece of news over, and over, and over again. “I Am God, and I love you.” This is news worth hearing! This is the Gospel, the good news! In fact, when Mark sat down to compile Peter’s sermons telling the story of Jesus’ life, he announces the story by saying in Mark 1:1 “This is the Good News of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.”

Jesus came to Earth to spread the good news about the kingdom of God, and after His resurrection, He charged us to go tell the same good news, and for the last 2,000 years, that news story hasn’t changed, it hasn’t gotten tired or become old hat, and it hasn’t lost one iota of it’s power! The one who broke this story also died for it, and it still did not change. He then conquered sin and death for it, and still it has not changed. The story has been passed to us over two millennia and it has come to me without changing. No, just like the stars in the sky, I did not just discover it; rather, it has been making it’s way to me since the dawn of creation.

For that reason I will do just as so many others who heard before me. I will tell others, I will live my life in light of it, and, one day, I will die for it.
Praise be to our unchanging God, who has not left us out of the loop, but has brought us in, by His grace, to an understanding of the truth through the good news of His son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

If you would like to join us in spreading His news through prayer or financial gifts, please click here to join our team!

RE(venturing)flections

A few months ago, I got a text from Rhett, with a link to the website that you are on now, explaining to me that he and Elisa were starting a blog, and that they wanted me to look it over before they officially launched it. So, I opened it up and looked around, and for the most part really liked what I saw. There was just one problem: I thought the title was really weird. After looking at the word for a long time, I realized that the reason why I thought it was such a strange word was because it was not a real word. This lead to a series of voice memos with Rhett and Elisa, where I tried to subtly hint at the fact that I didn’t like the title and that I thought that they should change it, either through adding a hyphen or something to make it look more like a real word. I can’t recall the exact timeline, but somewhere along the way in this conversation I realized that the whole point was that the R and the E stood for Rhett and Elisa (This is the part where my mom shakes her head in disappointment). So, I still wasn’t crazy about the title, but I let it go (It’s a good thing Rhett didn’t try to use his first name, Søren, because SEventuring just doesn’t have the same ring to it).

Then, a couple weeks ago, I sat down to read all of their blog posts (I may or may not have neglected to read the blog posts about the life and ministry of two of my best friends for a prolonged period of time, but I’m not here to dwell on past mistakes). I have to admit, reading their posts from the past few months was a little weird for me. So many of the things that I was reading about were things that they had already told me about either through text, FaceTime, or in person, but reading their reflections instead of their reactions gave me the chance to slow down and process instead of simply reacting to a text message. For some reason, this reflection brought me back to that title, that I still wasn’t sure about, but this time, that RE (which I had tried to get Rhett and Elisa to change), suddenly jumped out at me. I realized that the prefix “re-” is a part of some pretty big theological words. Restoration (Acts 3.21, etc.). Reconciliation (Romans 5.11; 2 Corinthians 5.18-19). Redemption/redeem (Romans 3.24, Ephesians 1.7, etc.). Regeneration (Titus 3.5). Resurrection (Romans 1.4, all over the place). Probably some more words that I left out or forgot that you’re adding to this list. These words aren’t all tied to one root word in the original Greek or anything like that, but the amount of times that “re-” showed up in our English translations piqued my interests enough to look to see what was going on with these words. So, I opened my handy dandy Merriam-Webster app on my phone and searched “re-”. The first definition was simply “again,” but the second one, which jumped out me was “back to an original place, condition, etc.”. That’s when I realized that the reason so many of these words have this prefix is because that is what our God is in the business of doing. He takes brokenness, hopelessness, sin, evil, all the ways that we have messed up this world and he brings it back to an original place or condition. Even since sin entered the world in Genesis 3, and humanity rebelled against God and was no longer able to dwell in his presence because of the reality of sin, God has been at work bringing the entire world back to an original place or condition. That’s the message of the Gospel. That’s why the description of the New Heavens and the New Earth in Revelation 21-22 looks like the Garden of Eden, having no Temple but being filled with the presence of God, having rivers and waters of life, because the goal is for everything to be brought back to its original place, as God created it to be.

Now, the pragmatist in me thinks that all of that is nice, but at the end of the day it’s just a happy coincidence, and it basically is. To my knowledge, Rhett and Elisa didn’t set out to make a theological point with the title of their blog. But while it’s unintentional, that doesn’t mean that it should be overlooked, because God is not looking to bring things back to its original place on his own; he’s doing it through the Church (Ephesians 3.7-13). God does not bring us back to our original place to leave us there, but so that we can join in with the advancement of his Kingdom. This is the work that God has called each and every Christian to, and for Rhett and Elisa this calling is taking them to New Hampshire. Through the various roles where they will be serving, they will be showing people how God wants to bring them back to their original place: in relationship with Him. But they’re not able to do it alone; none of us are. That’s why we need one another. That’s why we need to pray for one another, to encourage one another, to support one another in whatever way is possible. If you’re reading this, I assume that you’re at least interested in supporting Rhett and Elisa in some way. If that is what God is calling you to, I pray that you will jump in to support them in the incredible work that they are doing. But while this blog is about supporting Rhett and Elisa, they are only a part of something that is much bigger, and I pray that Rhett and Elisa, and the entire Church, would seek to join in with what God is doing to bring the entire world back its original place.

AUTHOR BIO: Monte J. French has functioned in a variety of roles in relation to Rhett and Elisa, including, but not limited to, friend, roommate, podcast co-host, groomsman in their wedding, consumer of leftovers, text conversation partner, co-player of a variety of sports-themed video games, co-watcher of a variety of sports-themed television programs, metaphorical child, metaphorical father, metaphorical brother, and guest writer on their blog. He is the author of Only the Impassible God Can Redeem, a thesis that has literally been read by five people. In his spare time, he reads, peruses Twitter (@monteJfrench), and is told by Rhett and Elisa who he would be allowed to date in their eyes. He is very proud of Rhett and Elisa, and is honored to call them his friends.