Monday, August 27, 2007

Monday, August 27, 2008

Yesterday Charlotte and I celebrated 29 years of marriage. We had a quiet celebration that included lunch with friends from church and a late afternoon dessert with Kristina, José, Sophia, and Eric. The day before we had brunch at a restaurant we had wanted to try—Good Enough To Eat—and it was!
The five plus years we have lived in Manhattan are the longest continuous stretch we have lived in any one place. Our years in Lima were interrupted by three home ministry stints. So we now begin our 30th year of marriage and our sixth year in the Big Apple.
Charlotte and I are enjoying reading together. We have always done it while traveling, and our recent trip to Michigan/Indiana was no exception. On the way out she drove and I read A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah who was a boy soldier in Sierra Leone in the 1990s. We highly recommend it to you to get a better picture of what happens to so many children in countries torn by war, especially in Africa. On the way home we read The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. That too is quite a story. So now we have decided to set some time aside even while we are home and share some books together.
We are excited about the coming weeks and the fall season. We will be attending a leadership community retreat in Greenwich, CT, with Origins Church on September 7-8. We look forward to renewing our small group on September 9. We are thrilled that one of the members of our group, Jeremy, is leading a team to India to minister in an orphanage during the month of September.
I have been challenged recently by a book by Tony Campolo and Mary Albert Darling, The God of Intimacy and Action. The book attempts to reconnect ancient spiritual practices, evangelism and justice. To be honest I have been struggling to put it into practice, yet I see how powerful is the connection between intimacy with God and being a true follower of Christ. I have never really participated in contemplative spiritual practices but I can see where this will lead to greater intimacy with God and the outflow will be greater passion for reaching out to others through spreading the Good News and being involved in justice issues. I remember years ago sitting through Keith Drury’s Stratogetics and being impressed with the “ministry wedge”—if we concern ourselves with the depth of our lives, God will take care of the breadth. That’s what I want to see happen.
I appreciated hearing back from some of you. It was an encouragement to have been an encouragement. This is truly an exciting time to live and make a difference in this world.

Seeking His face,

Gary

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The temperatures are in the mid 90s today, so hot and humid! Charlotte and I are both off this week on vacation, although Charlotte had to work Monday and Tuesday. Michelle is home. She flew in from Central Asia a week ago and it has been so nice to have her back. This Friday we are driving her out to Michigan and then Indiana. She will be in the Midwest for the next three months. Eric is busy working at Barnes & Noble and taking a summer school class.

Yesterday I closed out our storage space that we have had since moving to Manhattan. We are in the process of downsizing. We have things that we have not seen in five years and figure the money we were spending on storage can go to a better cause. In between trips to Yonkers to bring our "stuff" home I met with Jon Tyson who is our pastor--pastor of Origins Church of NYC. We have been attending Origins since April 22 of this year and it has been an amazing experience for us. Origins is just over a year old and meets in two locations in Manhattan. We attend the service on the Upper West Side that meets at the Triad Theater. The vision statement for Origins is "Living in the way of Jesus, in the context of the city, with a heart for the world." Jon is a native of Australia who studied for the ministry at Toccoa Falls (GA), was on staff at a church in Orlando, FL, but has had a passion for New York City and a heart for church planting. The story of how we got to Origins is long, but definitely of God, and we look forward to following our call to "live in the way of Jesus, in the context of the city, with a heart for the world."

What motivated me to write this diary, and hopefully and intentionally be in more regular contact was reading through some of the things that were in our storage--copies of our "Wileys' Weekly Wrap-up" and "Every Nation Updates." The call that God placed on our lives to come to Manhattan has not changed in the five years that we have been here. While it is true that the church we hoped to plant did not come about, God did not remove the burden for this city from our heart. This past Sunday as Jon began a new series on "Christ and Culture," he mentioned that only .05% of the population of Manhattan are believers--that's less than the percentage in Japan! Our plans have changed considerably, but our call hasn't changed, nor has the God who called us!

Charlotte is still working on the Upper East Side for a dermatologist. The work is challenging and opportunities to share Christ are more in actions and attitudes than in words. Most recently she is ministering to the office manager who just lost her mother and has been bitter toward God for over 20 years. Gary is a department manager at Barnes & Noble on the Upper West Side. Recently one of the booksellers experienced an irregular heartbeat and while waiting for EMS asked Gary to pray for him. It seemed somewhat surreal praying for him right beside the information desk.

God is giving opportunities to connect and minister through the church family at Origins. We have been intentional in meeting with people after worship--seeking to create a culture in which Christ is exalted and people find their truest expression in Him. That calls for us to be fully present--to be shapers of culture. People in our circle of influence are in all walks of life and are learning to take seriously the call to represent Christ to Manhattan and beyond.

Just recently Charlotte and I were talking about why we are still living in Manhattan. I mentioned that there are few places as challenging to be a follower of Christ as Manhattan--a lot of raw life--up close and personal (especially in the subway)--people constantly in your face, but at the same time, nothing more rewarding than living for Christ here. We believe we have found the place where God wants us to live, grow and minister--touching lives and creating a God-honoring culture that will make a difference in our world and for eternity.

We would love to interact with you about the challenge and privilege of creating a culture where Christ is exalted and people find their truest expression in Him.

Until next time,

Gary and Charlotte

Blogs I enjoy reading

  • At Last, He has Come - I read it every year. It’s my prelude to Easter. It gets me every single time. Tears well up when I read the story of the Troubadour who sings his Star-Son...
    8 months ago

Manhattan Diary

There are so many opportunities unfolding to partner with God in bringing in the Kingdom. I'm learning more about justice and being stretched on a regular basis. I love partnering with Charlotte to strengthen marriages and prepare couples for married life.

What I'm reading in October 2009

  • Love Is an Orientation
  • Movements that Changed the World
  • ReJesus
  • When Heaven Invades Earth

About Me

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New York, New York, United States
Seeking to live intentionally; bringing the Kingdom of God to contested space!