Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wherever You Call Me


Change is inevitable. Change is great. Change is hard. 

As an Ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church I am appointed to my ministry positions. Following the Acts 13 model, we believe in a "sent" ministry. Pastors are not hired or fired. We have a leadership base that sends pastors to different churches. The goal is to send pastors where their gifts and graces meet the ministry and missional needs of a local church. With that said, I found out recently I am being sent to First UMC Pace, Florida as their Senior Pastor. My family and I are very excited about this opportunity, but we will certainly miss our time here in Crestview.

I was sent to First UMC Crestview 5 years ago and it was a great fit. I have loved being at this church. They have spoiled my family in numerous ways. It's been an amazing journey with the youth ministry here. We started with ten kids on two pews in an old youth house. God brought together a special group of volunteers and teenagers and things began to grow. Soon the youth house was overflowing. Crowded room of teenagers + a sometimes working A/C unit = smelly youth house. It didn't matter. Kids kept inviting kids and we kept growing.



Eventually the church allowed us to use their main sanctuary for worship. You know you have an awesome church when they allow the teenagers to use their main sanctuary. I wasn't sure how the students would react to being in such a different atmosphere. Again, God's spirit moved and we didn't miss a beat. 





We spent over a year in the sanctuary, but plans were drawn to build a new facility. One third of this new building was dedicated to our youth. We moved into our new facilities in 2012.







I love our new building and I love that our youth group has grown. More importantly, however, I've loved seeing students fall in love with Jesus. I've loved seeing students grow in their faith. I've loved seeing them serve and help other people. I've loved seeing them pray together.

 


I've even loved the messy games. Never mind, I didn't love that. But I did love all the fun times and laughing until it hurts.


Like I said before, we are very excited about our new appointment. I cannot wait to get started at FIrst UMC Pace. Change is great. But change is hard because it also means saying goodbye to something else. Saying goodbye to these students and this church will be very difficult. They have been a second family for us. During this time of transition, the song "Oceans" by Hillsong United has been very encouraging. I especially love these lyrics:

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. 
Let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me.
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander 
and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.

Change is inevitable. Change is great. Change is hard. Spirit lead us...



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Caleb's Big Weekend -Adoption Update

Last weekend was a big one for our son Caleb. On Friday, March 14th, his adoption was finalized by the state of Florida. Caleb is "officially" our son. Then on Sunday I baptized Caleb. Below is a letter we wrote for him and read at church. As always, thank you for your continued prayers and support. This adoption was made possible by so many people besides ourselves. We are overwhelmed with joy and gratitude.
Our family with the Judge

Dear Caleb Kyrie Dasinger,

We are so excited that today is your baptism. Getting to this point has been an adventure to say the least. Often times adoption is seen as something embarrassing or strange. We pray and hope your adoption story is one that you take pride in. We fully realize that a child being raised by their loving birth parents is plan A. We understand that we are plan B and yet what an amazing privlege that is. Our God is good. He can take all things and redeem them for good.

Your birth mom was not able to take care of you and she made a very courageous decision in giving you to us. We will be forever grateful for her decision. We want you to know that we have been praying for you and thinking about you even before you were born. We want you to know that we fought hard to have you in our family. You are worth every penny spent, every sleepless night, every mile travelled, every piece of paper filled out, every phone call, every obstacle, every hard day. Being your mommy and daddy is one of the greatest things God has ever called us to. Having you as our son is a blessing beyond words.

As your parents, we promise to love you and take care of you each and every day. We hope to be great examples of compassion and grace. Your sister Kenzie was just as excited to meet you as we were. She couldn’t wait to have a little brother. No family is perfect, but we pray that our family will show God’s incredible power and faithfulness. 

You will also have an amazing church family who will support you and pray for you as well. In fact, it is your church family that helped make this adoption possible. The church is not perfect, and being a pastor’s son will not always be easy. But hopefully you will see and meet people who really love Jesus and really love you. Today you become a part of God’s church family.

You will always be surrounded by people who love you, but unfortunately you will also grow up in a fallen world. We’re sorry that you may face mistreatment due solely to the color of your skin. We’re sorry people may think your family is odd or weird. We believe our family is amazing. We believe our family reflects God’s kingdom…a kingdom that includes every nation, race, and tribe. We’re sorry that you will grow up in a culture that teaches men to be chauvinistic, prideful, and angry. Our culture defines real men as cocky, arrogant, and egotistical. We hope and pray you will become a Godly man. We hope you are selfless, compassionate, and kind. We hope you are strong in the way you honor women and in the way you care for the least of these. We hope you’re strong in your beliefs and that you will live by faith. This is real strength.

We hope you find your identity in God’s love for you. And this brings us back to this special day. The baptismal covenant is God’s word to us, proclaiming our adoption into God’s family by God’s grace. Baptism is a symbol of God’s love for you. It’s a reminder that you are fearfully and wonderfully made in his image. Life is an up and down journey. It is filled with victories and defeats. Your baptism declares that nothing can change God’s love and commitment to you. You are his and he is yours. Follow him son.  

Love,


Mom, Dad, and Kenzie

The Beards of Ministry

As someone with facial hair, there is no doubt in my mind that beards bring wisdom to your ministry. Right now I'm a mix between the guru and the youth pastor. But one day I hope to graduate to the full orthodox! 



Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ash Wednesday and Lent: Clinging to Christ

Ash Wednesday is a special time in the life of the church because it forces us to confront our brokenness and sin. This can sound depressing…which is why more people celebrate Mardi Gras then Ash Wednesday. The ashes we receive on our forehead are a symbol of own mortality and sin. Ashes represented mourning and repentance in the Old Testament. They reminded people that death and sin are very real. They remind us of the truth found in Romans 3: “For all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glorious standard.” And Romans 6: “The wages of sin is death.” We are people who have messed up. We have gone our own way, pursued our own happiness, and in the process destroyed our own souls. We have separated ourselves from the very One who loves us and gives us life.


Hebrews 4 puts it this way: “For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are. Nothing in all creation can hide from him. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes. This is the God to whom we must explain all that we have done.” This is a scary verse. This verse and Ash Wednesday remind us that we have all been busted. We are all exposed. Nothing we have or haven’t done is known by God. We may hide it from others, but nothing is hidden from God. This is bad news. No wonder most people skip Lent and go straight to Easter. We don’t want to think about our own sin…we don’t want to think about our death. We don’t like ashes.



But here’s the good news. I want to finish with a promise. Here’s the second part of the verse from Hebrews: “This is why we have a great High Priest who has gone to heaven, Jesus the Son of God. Let us cling to him and never stop trusting him. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.”
 In most Ash Wednesday services we have Holy Communion right after receiving the ashes. Communion reminds us that death and sin do not have the last word. Communion reminds us that through Christ, our great High Priest, we have been given the gift of everlasting life. So may this Lenten season be a time of renewal…a time of change…a time of focus…and most of all a time of clinging…a season where we cling and trust our gracious Savior. 


Here is some info on Ash Wednesday and Lent...

Where does the concept of Lent come from?
 At Jesus' baptism the sky split open, the Spirit of God, which looked like a dove, descended and landed on Jesus, and a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, My Beloved, with whom I am pleased." Afterward, as told in Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus hiked into the wilderness where he spent forty days to fast and pray. While he was there, he was tempted by Satan and found the strength to resist sin.


What does Lent have to do with me?
 It's pretty easy to get caught up in the drama of work, school, relationships, and family. Our lives are filled with distractions that take us away from living a life with Christ. We try to fill the emptiness inside us with mindless TV, meaningless chatter, stimulants, alcohol or other things. We run from silence because we're afraid of being alone with God. So, like Jesus, we need to take some serious time to pray and figure out where God is in our lives, and where God is calling us to serve. We need to re-focus our lives to be more in line with God.

How do Christians celebrate Lent?
It's different in different traditions. But generally it's a time to return to Christ by cutting out all that distracts us. For some people that means giving up something like candy, TV, or soft drinks as a way to purify their bodies and lives. Others take something on and collect food for the needy, volunteer once a week to help children, or decide to be kind to someone they don't like. Whatever "stuff" is given up or taken on, the intent must be to draw us closer to Christ. Lent is a resolution to simplify our lives, and to return to the One who loves us -- Jesus.


So the real beginning of Lent is Ash Wednesday? 
Yes. Ash Wednesday, the day after Mardi Gras, usually begins with a service where we recognize our mortality, repent of our sins, and return to our Loving God. We recognize life as a precious gift from God, and re-turn our lives towards Jesus Christ. We may make resolutions and commit to change our lives over the next forty days so that we might be more like Christ. In an Ash Wednesday service, usually a minister or priest marks the sign of the cross on a person's forehead with ashes.


Why ashes? 
In Jewish and Christian history, ashes are a sign of mortality and repentance. Mortality, because when we die, our bodies eventually decompose and we become dust/ dirt/ash/whatever. Repentance:, because long ago, when people felt remorse for something they did, they would put ashes on their head and wear "sackcloth" to remind them that sin is pretty uncomfortable and leads to a sort of death of the spirit. This was their way of confessing their sins and asking for forgiveness.


Cool Things To Do for Lent: 

(1) Fast one day a week. (2) Start a prayer "rhythm." Say a prayer every time you brush your teeth, see a commercial, or check your e-mail. (3) Read a chapter in the Bible a day (Mark is a good book to start with). (4) Give up cokes or sweets. (5) Spend ten minutes a day in silence. (6) Begin every morning with prayer. (7) Journal every day. (8) Give up secular music and/or TV for certain days. (9) Write a thank you letter each week. (10) Say one nice thing to someone each day. (11) Pray for others on your way to work or school. (12) Commit to keeping the Sabbath. Attend church, rest, and pray. (13) Commit to volunteering at the church or with helping out around the house.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Confirmation



A sample of the videos we use

Confirmation is an opportunity for young people to affirm the faith into which they were baptized and, for those who were baptized as infants or small children, to renew the baptismal vows taken for them by their parents or guardians. Confirmation also makes young people aware of how God is and has been at work in their lives, even before they were old enough to realize it. And confirmation affirms a new commitment—a new covenant relationship—between a young person and Christ’s body, the church.

First UMC Crestview
8-Week Journey
Sundays (9:30am-10:30am)
6th-12th Grade

Class 101 Know Your Story
Is the Bible true and what’s it all about?
     - The story of Redemption
How can God be “three-in-one”?
     -  God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

Class 201 Confirm Your Faith
What does it mean to be “born again”?
     -  The Way of Salvation
Why Should I follow Jesus?
     -  The Way of Discipleship
Can I be a Christian without going to church?
     -  The Way of Community

Class 301 Live Your Commitment
What’s a Methodist?
     -  Grace and Holiness
Going Forth: Now What?
     -  Membership and Mission

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Looking Forward

Prayer for the New Year

I am so thankful that you are a God who makes all things new. You give us a new start and a new heart. You give us a new life and a new spirit. Our past is forgotten. Our old life is gone. You have made us into new creations.

You create.
You redeem.
You transform.

Thank you for this New Year. Thank you for new opportunities. Let us never settle for what was, but let us go on to what lies ahead. Let us look forward.

"Great is his faithfulness; his mercies are new each day!" Lamentations 2:23

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Words

Typically, like most people, I make a list of resolutions for the new year. However, for 2014 I wanted to do something a little different. Instead of making resolutions, I decided to pick three words that I hope are a huge part of the upcoming year. I want these three words to give this year direction and guidance.

1. Devoted--I want to be a devoted father to my two children. I want to be a devoted husband to my wife and a devoted pastor to our young people. Devotion does not require perfection, but it goes beyond the ordinary. Devoted means loyal, faithful, constant, and committed.

2. Worship--I want to spend more time in prayer, adoration, and praise. I pray for a greater desire for God and the things of God.

3. Compassion--I want to spend more time in the service of others. In our service to the least of these our brothers and sisters we find Jesus. Sometimes the older we get the more bitter and resentful we become. Life can harden our hearts and make us fearful. I pray that increased age would only make me more kind and caring. I want my heart to be tender and accepting. I pray for the spirit of Christ to increase in my life.

What about you? What three words would you choose for 2014?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Worth the Wait -Adoption Update



Meet Caleb Kyrie Dasinger! For those who don't know, our family has been on the journey of adoption for some time now. This has been a long and sometimes difficult journey. Tedious paper work, unexpected expenses, and a few disappointments have come along the way.

However, as soon as we held Caleb in our arms we knew he was worth the journey. All the disappointments and difficulties faded to the background as we immediately fell in love with our second child. Caleb is healthy and doing well, and our daughter Kenzie loves being a big sister. The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind. Our bodies are tired, but our hearts are full! God is good! 



Our family has chosen to document and write about our journey as a way of raising awareness for adoption and orphan care. We've often been asked the question: "Why adopt? Why go through this messy and expensive process when you can have kids the old fashion way?" Glad you asked! There are several reasons really...

1. God cares for the orphan and therefore we should too! The Bible speaks about this in several places. (see Psalm 68:5-6, Isaiah 1:17, James 1:17)

2. Adoption is at the heart of the gospel! Through Christ, God not only declares us not guilty, but he then adopts us as his sons and daughters! Our adoption cost God a lot, but he believed we were worth it. Adoption is our highest privilege as Christians. 
(see Romans 8, Galatians 4, 1 John 3)



3. We choose adoption because we believe every life matters. And I don't mean this in the pro-life bumper sticker kind of way. I mean we believe every kid deserves a family. Every kid deserves to be loved and cherished. Following Jesus means loving others, especially those who have been marginalized and forgotten. This truth can be lived out in different ways: visiting prisoners, foster care, serving the poor, or assisting widows (just to name a few).

4. However, the best answer I have is sometimes there are moments in our lives where we do not reason things out, we just know in our hearts that God has called us to do something and so we do it. I believe these are the best moments. If we walk by faith, we will get to be a part of some amazing opportunities. Don't be mistaken, following God's call will probably make life more challenging in some ways, but in the end it will be worth it.