Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Next step of the journey

My journeys have taken me from the place of my birth, Oklahoma, to Arkansas for college at Harding University to the school's study abroad program in Florence, Italy then to Houston and on to Uganda with a group of dear friends and teammates to Nashville to work with Wineskins and now full circle back to Oklahoma. I haven't lived there since I left home when I was too young to leave home at seventeen years old.

Here's the scoop on what's happening with my family and ministry. For the last four years, I have been managing editor for Wineskins magazine. With the ZOE/Wineskins board blessing, I plan to continue on as managing editor, but my family and I are moving to Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The Garnett Church of Christ has asked me to come and work with them as their associate minister. As associate minister, I will be focusing in the areas of spiritual formation, outreach, and small groups.

I'll be working with a great staff of ministers, body of shepherds, ministry leaders, and congregation. One of the staff, the lead/preaching minister, Wade Hodges, is a redemptively challenging preacher who also blogs to beat the band. I'm looking forward to working with him and the rest of the staff and congregation at Garnett.

What a blessing for my family and me to be able to work with this church that I have known from my childhood. I've long appreciated the Garnett Church of Christ. Like a beacon to ships at sea, the church in Tulsa has helped other churches sail. The Garnett Church has always struck me as a church that is willing to stick out its neck and answer the question, "Where is Garnett going?" with the resounding response, "Wherever God takes us."

In particular, their role in the Tulsa Soul-Winning Worship every March for the last quarter century has been monumental in my life. I attended the event since I was a young boy roaming the aisles in search of the best "JOY BUS" sticker till college days when I helped bring dozens of my fellow Harding students to the workshop to hear inspirational speeches from the likes of Rousing Ruel Lemmons, Marvelous Marvin Phillips and "listen to me now" Terry Rush and Jim Mcguiggan. My experience with helping plan and execute the ZOE Look to the Hills Leadership and Worship Conferences, I believe, has prepared me for some of what's to come as I help to plan the Tulsa Workshop.

We are sad to leave Nashville, Tennessee, where we have in this short four years received the blessing of abiding friendships that we intend to keep for eternity. Our children's friends in the Nashville public school, Jill's math teaching in public schools here, our journey with Woodmont Church and small group, and our neighbors and soccer teams we've coached will all be missed and remembered fondly.

Now our journey is turning full circle, at least for me--Jill is from Texas, so now she'll get the experience of living in the long-time state rival. I learned to appreciate Texas, so perhaps Jill can do likewise with Oklahoma. Oklahoma is still on top of Texas . . . that is, if you subscribe to the old ethnocentric cartographer's rendering of the world of Europe and America as on top. (More on that in another post.)

One thing is sure as I come back home. My world has been turned upside down, and if you keep reading this blog you'll start to see just how. My prayer and hope is that the small part of the world I'm moving to with Jill and my three children will also be turned upside down by the One and Only who shapes us, rocks our worlds, and forms us into new persons. I bless and appreciate my heritage in Oklahoma that sent me out into the world, but in returning, I'm not the same person who left Oklahoma twenty years ago.

24 Comments:

At 6:24 AM, Blogger Jim said...

Good Luck Greg, may God continue to Bless you and keep you.

 
At 6:48 AM, Blogger David U said...

Greg, thanks for the update! Selfishly all of us here in Searcy that love you, Jill, and the kids are THRILLED you are moving closer to us. I am SO excited that you will be in the territory that I travel for Harding, and that I will be able to see you so much more often now. What a blessing that will be for me!

I know God will use you for HIS glory at Garnett. It will be exciting to watch what the Lord will do with you and Wade working as a team. The sky is the limit!

God bless you and your family!
DU

 
At 8:14 AM, Anonymous Dusty said...

Greg,

I lost your email address. Mine is dustin@conwaycorp.net. Drop me a note. I've got some questions about the Zoe Conference.

 
At 9:18 AM, Blogger Fajita said...

Groovy. May God be the Rock that rocks you all the more.

 
At 1:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed talking and laughing with you at Pepperdine. I look forward to more co-learner conversations in the future.
I hope the move goes well for you and family.

-David Cady

 
At 3:09 PM, Blogger Rick J said...

Even though I was briefly an Okie for the first 6 years of my life, my formative years played out in Southern California. Sooo... when God nudged us West a couple of years back, I remember experiencing similar full-circle feelings. I'm confident that you, Jill and the kids will once again "bloom where you are planted." God bless!

 
At 7:29 PM, Blogger JP Manzi said...

Greg, congratulations are in order for you and your family. May God continue to bless you as move into another direction to reach others.

 
At 7:36 PM, Blogger Clarissa said...

Wow. I thought I detected sentimentality in your smile as I walked away at school this morning. Thought it was just over Jacob finishing up kindergarten. But I suppose you're walking through many "lasts" just now.

I'd no idea. This saddens me a little -- I was imagining our sons would grow up in schools together and get to be friends. But I trust that you are following the leading of the Lord. Maybe Jacob Taylor and Joseph Cox will meet again down the road -- only God knows.

Blessings ...

 
At 10:19 AM, Blogger Beth said...

It's a little weird isn't it? I never thought I'd choose to live in Oklahoma when I grew up. God brought me back here 10 years ago, and I'm still thinking,"OK, God, now I get it. THIS was the reason...oh, maybe not."

I'm keeping you and Jill and the kids in my prayers, since transitions can be so challenging. I know Garnett will be blessed by your family. Call when you need help moving in. I have a strong, strapping 16-year-old son and a generous and servant-hearted husband I'm willing to loan out.

 
At 10:46 AM, Anonymous David Hall said...

WOW!! How exciting...we can't wait to have you all closer by, here in Sooner Land!

David Hall

 
At 3:31 PM, Anonymous Rudy said...

Best wishes to you, Greg, Jill and family. It will be wonderful to have you back in this neck of the woods. Let the good times roll!

Rudy Taylor

 
At 9:27 PM, Blogger Jason Retherford said...

Greg,

Congratulations and welcome back to Oklahoma. As they say in Oklahoma, we're OK!

Glad to hear that Garnett has asked you to step aboard.

a fellow okie,

 
At 12:48 PM, Blogger Milton Stanley said...

Hope it goes well for you, Greg. My family is moving, too, and the circle is only beginning--the first time for us to move from Tennessee. May God's blessings be with you powerfully in your new work.

 
At 7:02 PM, Blogger Jeff Slater said...

May God richly bless you in this exciting new opportunity. Garnett will be blessed to have you and your family.

Jeff

 
At 6:34 PM, Anonymous Sandi Haustein said...

Greg, I am excited for you guys as you move into a new season of ministry. May God bless you as you seek to be used at Garnett -- I know that He has big plans for you there.

 
At 12:35 PM, Anonymous Tyson Kirksey said...

God bless you and your family, Greg.

 
At 1:04 PM, Blogger julie said...

Greg, I am so glad that you are staying with Wineskins. You have so tenderly touched so many lives. The Lord has blessed you with such a gentle spirit and you have used that for good. Oklahoma will be a better place with you and your family there. God has big plans...can't wait to see them played out. grace, Julie

 
At 1:15 PM, Anonymous John O. said...

Greg - This is an exciting move. Please let us know if you ever need a place to stay on your way through Dallas. Maybe we'll see you in Tulsa sometime. Peace, John Ogren

 
At 3:33 PM, Blogger Frank Bellizzi said...

Best wishes, Greg.

I'm sure you'll be a blessing in Tulsa.

 
At 8:39 PM, Blogger Beverly Choate Dowdy said...

Greg
Sounds like a great journey indeed.

My husband Ken and I are also starting on a new leg our journey. Lord willing, we will be in Memphis this fall as Ken assumes the role of associate minister at White Station Church of Christ. We will be working with Rodney Plunkett, someone we love and admire greatly.

I will likely continue teaching government and politics somewhere although I have yet to sign the dotted line.I plan to be in graduate school before long.

Blessings on you and your family.

 
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