A year ago on Thursday, I gathered with about 100 staff members from Calvary Albuquerque, one of the biggest churches in the United States, for my goodbye luncheon. I had been on staff as the middle school youth pastor for 5 1/2 years. We had Italian food. It was fantastic.

A year ago yesterday, we spent the evening at some friends’ house for our goodbye party. Tons of people we knew came to wish us well, eat cake, pray for us, and say goodbye. There were lots of tears that night.

A year ago today, I prepared to teach a message entitled “Along For the Ride” from Luke 5. I talked about how when Jesus stepped into the boat and told the fishermen to cast their nets (which they had done all night to no avail), it didn’t make a lot of sense, but they obeyed anyway…and their world got rocked! I talked about the step of faith we were taking in planting a church and how it didn’t all make sense but we trusted God was behind it and we were simply along for the ride.

That was a bit of an understatement!

A year ago tomorrow, I preached my last message as middle school youth pastor at Calvary Albuquerque. My office was cleaned out, and as I walked off the campus, I said goodbye.

A year ago Monday, I began a 2 1/2-month period of being unemployed…or as the guys and I called it “FUNemployment.” After a life of non-stop action, teaching 4 times a week, counseling, studying, and more, life slowed waaaaay down. I slept in every day, took a nap most days, got pretty good at fishing, read books, and just hung out. It was great, but I sure was happy to get a job – even if it was working the graveyard shift as a janitor on Ft. Campbell. It paid the bills and gave me hours to listen to podcasts. It was a start.

Of course my story is still being written as I type. I’ve now gone through a period of working 3 jobs at once while teaching twice a week, we’ve had a baby, and our church got destroyed in a flood. I could have never dreamed that a year from my last weekend at Calvary Albuquerque, our church would be meeting on the second floor of a bank building while our previous building was drying out from a flood.

Never. Crossed. My. Mind. Ever.

My message entitled “Along For The Ride” makes more sense now than it did a year ago when I preached it. It’s pretty unbelievable what we’ve been through and I can’t imagine what’s ahead. When I write a blog in May of 2011 entitled “A year ago…,” I wonder where we’ll be then!

To God be the glory. He has done – and is doing – great things in Clarksville, TN!