Director’s Review on 2017

Screen Shot 2017-07-22 at 2.09.15 PMHere I stand, well-restored a week after Holy Cross held their first Awestruck Festival. There is a moment during the last band in each of the last 11 Indiana Awestruckswhere I get to step back and see what God did to make that moment occur. This year, during Hawk Nelson, I looked around from the elevated sound booth at not only a room full of concert goers, but a room full of committed first-time volunteers. Because of the move, Awestruck 2017 was a 365-day event. It HAD to be owned by the community in which it aimed to serve, Indianapolis.

These people had to have the heart to desire to reach out locally in many and various ways. These people had to possess special gifts and talents, or at least, held the belief that if they felt called to a particular spot, their LORD would see them through. They had to get permits, visits sites, prepare food, make phone calls, texts, emails and answer them all, made pillows with children, made pillows with adults, hung signs, made chili, planted, restored, work with various personalities with love and respect, design, construct, deconstruct, plan, study. They had to build bridges, make quiche, read long exhausting riders and be the only concert that checks off each minuscule detail. And THEN, University came, and THEN, the Project happened, and THEN, we got to celebrate together about how God makes DIAMONDS out of dust.

He stood when a high schooler student when a high school student went to a nursing home and simply held the hand of a dementia patient because that’s all the elderly person could possibly do to communicate. He stood when an elementary student decided to make dozens of muffins for a bunch of high school students when cereal and milk were all that was required. He stood when a freshman decided that instead of complaining about being bit by fire ants decided to work even harder. He stood when college students took ten days off to serve high school students and be their friend, no matter their situation.

And He did and does stand. But we come to find out, through the strife, we experience joy and awe through it all, and it becomes a get to. We get to serve, we get to love, we get to feed, we get to shelter, we get to forgive, we get to stand. Over 200 Holy Cross congregation members were involved in an experience in which high school students from 4 states served 1,632 hours, packed 30,000 meals, worked at 16 different non-profits that now list Holy Cross Lutheran Church as a place that will support them throughout the year serving the poor, the elderly, the disabled.

And to think this even was just the casting of the vision, a catapult, the pilot episode of things to come. We are just getting started. As participants and University and adult leaders and Core labored and planned for the week, Be The Church, Holy Cross’ service ministry, visited various sites and did the research on how we can best serve as a congregational community continually through the year these same sites we supported. Students of the Ignite Senior High will be serving as representatives of our congregation in keeping up with the needs of these charitable organization as we hope to become an attractive source of aid all over Indianapolis as the Church, together.

Though hundreds serve through the ministries of Holy Cross, and millions serve outside of Holy Cross, the family in which Rachel, Jackson, and I are called to serve with is this great family at Holy Cross, and the scattered yet unified family of Awestruck. I would start naming names but the list would be too numerous to include in a message. I will say, that unpictured, IS my wife. If this collage was turned over, my family would be on the back. They were behind the scenes, my wife, more importantly, taking on tasks and living out their calling, supporting me. There were 80-hour work weeks, multiple late nights, and even a time when she took the kids on a trip for me to be able to concentrate on what was about to happen. Thanks for the support, babe.

The picture was painted and many are to be thanked for trusting, hoping, loving, and modeling. They walked by faith, and when they weren’t walking, they leaped. And when we grew tired and lost our desire, he forgave and stood us back up. Because of all of this, He keeps on keeping on, with momentum. More people are involved, fewer needs explained, and now that we have an incredible template, we can continue maximizing our potential all while keeping our day-to-day responsibilities more efficiently.

This year, many associated with Awestruck witnessed that it’s not WHAT we plan, but a constant willingness to trust that regardless of our plans falling through, He still stands. He taught me to never give up hope and he’s the builder and not me. And most of all, He can build with anything and everything, with anyone and everyone, and the building will still STAND firm. I also learned, that in order to build the second floor you need to have built the first. Our God’s a God of intricate and sustainable progress, and He loves company.

And now we stand in St. Louis and Chicago and Indianapolis, and Defiance and Northwest Indiana and Muncie, and now we continue to STAND for those who need our help, we STAND for those who can’t do it themselves, and we do it, by STANDING on the rock that never fails, the truth that speaks in love, and the God who gives us power. The God who has SPLACNA on our situations, an extreme care for us that the moment something bad happens, he is so much compassionate that it literally makes him sick. May we have this splacna for others, including ourselves, so much that obedience to ourselves will diminish and create the opportunity that has always been present and will forever be, love for our neighbors until He returns or calls us home. Here in the power of Christ, we STAND.