Sunday, April 28, 2013

One Boy's Dream to be Darth Vader

It's a blessing to have a kid who rolls with ministry life so well. He "works" at his desk in our office, runs errands, attends prayer meetings, takes naps on the go, eats dinner anywhere from 5-8pm and all with a (mostly) sunny disposition.

As any four-year-old boy, Little Nut is completely obsessed with Superheroes and Darth Vader. All day long we hear, "Does Darth Vader live in a dark house? Darth Vader has big boots! What can Batman do? I want to fight the bad guys! Does Superman shoot lasers from his eyes? Is the Hulk nice? I might be the Hulk!"

So, today we took a little time to enjoy the beautiful day and fulfill a little boy's dream:

Monday, April 22, 2013

Changes Ahead: The Medlen Journey Continued

As I sit here I am thinking of all the things our family has been through this last year. Some of them were amazing and wonderful, like the adoption of our Little Nut! Some of them were heart-breaking, confusing, and difficult. And boy, have we seen our fair share of change this year! Yet, the one constant through all of the shifting seasons of life has been the Lord. He is so faithful--faithful to lead, to love, to redirect, to heal, to strengthen.

And, in light of God's boundless grace and enduring faithfulness, what can our family do but respond with complete openness and surrender to Him?

In the last few months the Lord has increasingly laid on our hearts the call to be part of a church planting movement among the urban poor. This call and burden for the city is what has tethered us to World Impact, even through the darkest of days. Our desire to be open to the Holy Spirit has now opened the door to a new opportunity for our family. One that we are excited and passionate about.

Starting in June we will be transitioning once again, still within World Impact and for now, still in Wichita. Our roles will be shifting to a church planting focus and we will be working with the Wichita staff primarily through their Christ the Victor (CTV) church planting efforts. The prayer of our staff is that CTV will become a movement of churches for the urban poor.

We love Christ the Victor because it proclaims to the broken and oppressed that our Lord is victorious and no earthly limitations can bind the strong arm of Jesus Christ. Our cities yearn for this message. CTV is in a season of strengthening and deepening its mission, vision and strategies and we are privileged to participate in the efforts to more effectively facilitate church planting movements in the cities of American and the world.

Even in our excitement there is a sense of loss as we close another chapter in our story and journey on to the next. God has used so many things in the last year to bring us to this point, not the least of which has been our time and the staff at The Urban Ministry Institute (TUMI). We came to serve with TUMI, not knowing what God had planned, but trusting in His provision and leading. We have been blessed abundantly.

To serve with men and women who take seriously their calling and serve the Lord with love and fervor and sacrifice has been a privilege and an honor. We did not (and still do not) see our time with TUMI as a stepping stone to other ministry, but as an act of unexpected grace from our Father, as He is refining our family for His purposes.

Even in nine short months, the staff at TUMI has become our family. They embraced us with love and acceptance in a difficult season of our lives and spoke the truth of the Lord into us in ways that brought healing, strength and clarity. They challenged us to serve with sacrifice and vision, never forgetting our purpose on this earth or what we ought to be willing to do to fulfill it.

Our family is more certain than ever of the burden God has laid on our hearts to see the cities won for Christ and more determined to do whatever is necessary to follow the Lord in this endeavor,

A verse that the Lord has continued to bring to our attention in the last nine months is Exodus 14:14 "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." We have clung to this promise, knowing that the battle is the Lord's to win. When the Lord is advancing, there is none who can stand in His path. Too often I so badly want to make things happen, or right wrongs on my own, not acknowledging that if it is something that the Lord wants to accomplish I need only wait on His timing and follow His lead.

Our family is determined to follow closely behind the Lord as He advances His Kingdom in the cities. We have done this, and will continue to do this imperfectly, but we know that there is no other place we would rather be and no greater effort for which we would expend all of our energy, than to win souls for Christ.

Please pray for our family through the next few weeks as we make this transition.
  • Pray that God would continue to pave the way for our family and that we would respond to His leading. Pray for peace in the Lord as we make yet another transition.
  • Pray for TUMI, a ministry and staff that is so dear to our hearts. God is doing amazing things to raise up leaders through this ministry, so many amazing things that it is surely the Lord who will be the one to accomplish them because there are few laborers and an abundant harvest. Pray for God to provide for their every need and bless their unwavering commitment to serve the Lord through the urban poor. Pray for laborers!
  • Pray for the Wichita staff and the Christ the Victor Church Planting efforts. We want our efforts to strengthen CTV to be firmly rooted in Christ and completely contextualized for effectiveness in the city. The church is the answer to winning our cities for Christ. Pray that the Spirit would guide our plans and efforts and that the Lord would start a revival in our cities through the urban poor!
 In all we do, may Christ receive the glory!