Now What...

Courtney's Opinion

Hey Y’all! It’s been so long, but God has pressed our hearts to get back into blogging. Justin and I have had a busy summer from traveling, Justin being ordained into ministry, celebrating 2 years of awesomeness together through Grace by faith (lol), and oh yeah wedding planning.  A couple weeks ago we got the opportunity to attend Lifeway’s Black Church Leadership conference in Black Mountain, NC. The conference was great, but through the Mountains alone, I saw God as the great and majestic creator that God is. 

Not only did this Mountain reveal how mighty God is but it revealed to us how small we are and our biggest circumstance pales in comparison to every complex model God has created. I love how Isaiah puts is in Isaiah 40: Who has scooped up the ocean in his two hands, or measured the sky between his thumb and little finger, Who has put all the earth’s dirt in one of his baskets, weighed each mountain and hill? Who could ever have told GOD what to do or taught him his business?

Its funny, as I am standing there looking at these mountain I remember that this time last year our posts were somewhat different, we were both in different states, unsure about life, depression hitting both us in different ways.  Maybe one of the deepest valleys I have been in. Today, we standing in a good place both literally and figuratively but there will come a time where we will be in the valley again.  On our last day to in North Carolina, we wanted to do some exploring. We saw a mountain in the distance, and set our eyes on it and determined that we were going to drive to the top if that was even possible. So we just started driving with no GPS or map telling us where to go. It was truly an adventure. On our journey we came across this eclectic hometown café, where encountered some awesome people, and through our personalities shared the love Christ. 

As we continued our journey through winding turns and jagged corners, it was pretty scary at times. Then all of sudden we looked up and we were on the top of the mountain. It was absolutely breathtaking, We abandoned the security of gps and maps and just went were the road lead. No turning back! 

Justin's Opinion:

The Month of June and beginning of July was an amazing time of preaching and living life.  In a few words…It…Was…Awesome.  Just to Brag on God for a second: 

I was flown all over the country to preach the Gospel
I was ordained into the Christian Ministry
I preached about 15 times
My Mom preached at 15th Avenue here in Nashville
Our College Small Groups launched in Nashville at OBC
Wedding Planning really hit full swing
Courtney and I were honored at Lifeway’s conference for our writing

Mountain Top Living.  It was absolutely amazing.  Each week to share Jesus, to be celebrated by both God and people.  It was a speechless month.  

Then this week happens.  Really, life happened. No more celebrations, no more preaching. Just back to the day-to-day normalcy of life.  And then it hit me, as much as we worship God to get to the mountaintops, most of life is lived in valleys.  Valleys of the mediocre day-to-day, ruthlessness of people, attitudes, and hate.  

Then I began to shout.  

Courtney mentioned that we were in the mountains in North Carolina.  The mountains did not change what was happening in the valley, but the mountains showed me that the mountains change your mindset.  Fresh mountain water becomes Muddy valley waters.  You can have a mountain top mindset in the valleys of life.  

Luke 9, we see this story.  Jesus speaks to his disciples asking them whom they say he is, that they must take up the cross and all of the Christian-y stuff that we hear.  8 days later they go on the mountain and fall asleep while Jesus is praying.  (Must have been a great Sunday prayer huh?) They see and hear that Jesus will suffer and die for them.  The next day the come off the mountain and immediately the are confronted with someone sick with a demon.  

Demons did not go away because of the mountain, but the way you respond to demons change.  Peter, James and John were better equipped to understand and see that Jesus was here for a bigger purpose than demons after the mountain.  

So what have the mountains taught me? 

1.     You have a story to tell – It’s amazing to me that Peter, James, and John (and Paul) was the non-narrative New Testament writer who was so convicted about the story of Jesus.  Every one of us has had a mountain top experience with Jesus, and now it becomes your responsibility to share the story of your encounter with something bigger that you off the mountain. 

2.    Demons don’t disappear – if there is one thing I learned this week, it’s that demons love popping up after mountain top experiences.  Rejoice! Demons are wrought to be delivered and what you saw about Jesus is bigger than the demon.  If you are not facing demons head on, they are riding with you.  Rejoice! Take the accident and know that your insurance covers you. 

3.    You have another Mountain to face – My ordination made me excited in spite of what I see now because it affirmed through 7 pastors, 300 people, and most importantly God that this valley experience after the mountain is only strengthening me for the next mountain to climb.  

So if you’re in a valley, get excited, the water you see down there came from the mountain.  Cultivate strength; learn to see every thing down in the valley as a re-igniter to help you climb the mountain again.  After the mountain, never forget the mountain.  After the mountain, don’t worship the mountain.  After the mountain, rejoice because you had strength to climb it, wisdom to descend it, and grace to get to the next one.  

Our Opinion:

Being on the Mountaintop made me think, what if we were brave enough to be true Christians. What if we abandon our wills and selfish ambition in Life as Christ has called us to do in Luke 9:23. So what happens when we leave the mountain and go back home to the everyday life? How do we respond spiritually? 

Lessons from the Mountaintop: 

1. Although our point of view may change our size does not. 

God is forever BIG and we are forever small. Although, our point of view changes, the sovereignty of God never changes. He is still in control !

2. Remember the Mountaintop

It was easy to get back home and back to work and forget all the great times and beauty of the mountain. Justin and I have never laughed as much and we have never been closer. Nothing will every take the peace and security I found there, so why will you let a irritating day take that away.