That title pretty much sums up my first week at The Austin Stone. Well, not exactly, but it has been such a rich and wild experience already. I’m looking forward to sharing all that I’m learning with you guys.
The picture below was taken right before staff meeting (about 150 people are on staff). We have a time of worship and teaching with all staff together every other week. The weeks in between are staff development together and by department.
In just my first week, I heard two different teachings this week about Samaritans, one about the good Samaritan and the other about the Samaritan woman. Both are familiar stories and both have tons of implications some of which are more commonly taught and some not. The teaching on the good Samaritan was from one of Pastor Matt Carter’s sermons in The Art of Neighboring series. It is definitely worth the watch. He explains who our neighbor is and how we should love them. The second part of the greatest commandment either gets neglected or reduced down to simply being nice to people—it is so much more than that. Just watch the sermon…
The teaching about the Samaritan woman was from Larry Cotton. He is the director of Internships & Residencies at The Austin Stone. He shared with us at his house on the night of my first official day of work.
I started my work week on Monday with a day of Sabbath rest (I’ll blog about Sabbath soon). What a way to start a week, right?!?
That night, the incoming residents met up at Mount Bonnell for a time of vision and prayer. It was an amazing time of reflecting both mentally and physically on the city that God had called us to for this season.
When we left Mt. Bonnell, we went to the Cotton House (Larry’s place) for a dinner of chicken & waffles then a desert of Blue Bell ice cream on waffles! The food was so good and so was the time together mingling with the other residents.
After all of that, Larry shared with us from John chapter 4 about Jesus telling the Samaritan woman to worship in spirit and truth, saying that we will grow stronger in both areas while here at The Austin Stone and while through the Men and Women’s Development Program. Larry also emphasized our need share the stories of how God has saved us and woven us all together, just like the Samaritan woman, by saying come and see what Jesus has done!
A fact that can’t be neglected is that I’ve eaten a ton of tacos since moving to Austin. It’s kind of a thing here. I’m convinced that no one here really cares about any other breakfast food. I guess the question is, why would you?
All of the tacos we ate this week were from either Tyson’s or Torchy’s, which are both great places. We had them Tuesday morning at Austin Stone Institute Orientation, Wednesday morning at Worship Huddle, and Thursday morning at Austin Stone Worship Orientation.
Chris Collins, the director of worship, had some powerful things to say about the worship and team culture during ASW Orientation. It was so encouraging to hear someone share with conviction the reason why worship culture is so important in a church. He also reminded us of our role as servants to the flock with which we are entrusted by God.
- Slow to speak, quick to listen
- Tough skin, soft heart
- Be confident, own your actions
- Work hard, play hard
- Be faithful, available, teachable
- Proximity means influence
I did a ton of paperwork this week, mainly at ASI Orientation. We learned a bit about the doctrine and the culture of the church, as well as completed all of the HR stuff for taxes, paychecks, etc. We were assured this was a one time thing and that paperwork is not a friend of The Stone.
I’m stoked to be a part of this family, team, and church. I can’t wait to see what God does in my life and in Austin over the next two years and even beyond my time here. To those of you who have partnered with my family and I on this journey, we thank you for your Kingdom vision and faithfulness. For those of you who would like to learn more about our new journey, check out our residency page. To become a partner with us click the button below for more info!