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If/Then

IfThen_BlogGraphic_RectangleI love the Bible. I especially love the promises God makes to us in it.

They give me a glimpse of God’s heart for us and help me through tough times. Recently, I was reading through the second chapter of Proverbs and was reminded of what God promises us through His Word. Listen closely as God is communicating a truth, while inviting us to press into Him.

“My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding: yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.”       Proverbs 2:1-5

Receiving His words, treasuring His commandments…what do these things involve?

Sometimes we try to go after His words, commandments, statutes and wisdom without going after HIM.

We see this in the difference between reading a text message from someone and sitting down and talking face-t0-face over coffee. We see it in the gap between commenting on social media and eating dinner with someone. There are feelings and emotions that aren’t processed until we are in front of them trying to

How can we perceive His words if we don’t chase after HIM!

Don’t miss the beauty of this promise.
You WILL understand the fear of the LORD & find the knowledge of God.
You WILL understand righteousness and justice and equity.
Wisdom WILL come into your heart.
Discretion WILL watch over you.
Understanding WILL guard you.

But don’t do it apart from staring Jesus dead in the face! May we not seek Jesus because of what He can give us, but simply because He is good and He is enough!

His promises are trustworthy because HE is trustworthy.

Successful Big Give Event!

I just wanted to take a moment to brag on my neighborhood for coming through BIG on the Big Give Event we ran last week!

StoweEventReport_IGWe invited all of our neighbors and 4o of them showed up with donations in hand (not including our family)! We were able to bless Stowe Mission with 191 pounds of food (and then some diapers and toys)! It makes me excited to know that several people will have a meal because of the generosity of our friends! Not to mention, we got a chance to hang out with our neighbors and meet some new friends.

So I’d like to thank everyone who got involved in donating to make this happen!

It’s not much of a secret that our family moved to Columbus to plant a church. And while we didn’t pull out a Bible or a guitar or anything, one of our core convictions is that we will always reach out to help those around us!

We know that Jesus said,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”     – Luke 4:18-19

There were a lot of people from a lot of different backgrounds in our home last week and everyone was willing to help those who are less fortunate in our city! I was thrilled with the outcome! If I haven’t made it abundantly clear, we love our neighborhood!

We’ve got some difference-makers in Coppertree Estates!

Because We’re Not A “Church” Yet

notachurchyet_2The big question that everyone has been asking me for the last six months is this: “Do you have a building yet?”

The second most frequent question has been: “So when are you going to be a REAL church?”

For the record, I’m not mad or anything. But I am concerned about our picture of what “church” is. Let’s start with a re-orientation.

What is the church? Maybe a better question is WHO is the church? The church is a group of people who are called out by God to live on mission for His glory!

If the church is a who, then what is that building that we go to on Sunday mornings? I don’t mean to get into a semantics battle, but I think our understanding of God’s mission is at stake! So what is it that happens on Sunday mornings? And are we living out God’s call for our lives throughout the week?

Maybe the scarier question is this: Are we BEING the church throughout the week? If not, what exactly is happening on Sunday mornings?

Is it possible that we can attend a service on Sunday morning, but never really do church?

I think so.

Are we living out the gospel? Are we taking Jesus’ words seriously? Does the church need a building to thrive? Whether you’re a church planter that just moved to a new city, a student who follows Jesus, or a mom who’s trying to figure out how to teach her kids about God, the answer is the same for all of us!

If you are a Christian, are you on mission with God? Not “is your CHURCH” on mission with God. You ARE the church. Are you on mission?

Today is the day to:
– Love that neighbor.
– Pray with your kids.
– Invite that student to sit with you at lunch.
– Take the conversation deeper with your co-worker.
– Be generous to those around you.
– Start the bible study.
– Embrace a local ministry and commit to serve in it this year.

How is God calling you to step up and step out to embrace His mission today? Don’t wait for the next initiative that your church starts up. Because if you’re like me, “it’s not a church yet.”

WE ARE THE CHURCH.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

1 Peter 2:9-10

Cox Family Update // October 2014

Cox Fam-3040

It has been a wild ride ever since we left Arkansas! We lived out of suitcases for a little while as our life was packed up in a truck. We had some great help getting unloaded though! I’m super thankful for the people who came by to help us get settled!

As soon as we got a sense of normal in the house, though, we had to pull out the suitcases again to be part of a church planting assessment in Northern Ohio. The grandparents watched the two older boys while Cohen got to experience the adventure with us.

The assessment was intense. We were tested, grilled, and had a meeting with a psychologist (to my surprise, he didn’t tell me I was a nut job). We spent 4 days in Northern Ohio with a brilliant group of church planters, with whom we hope to re-connect down the road!

Now we’re starting to get a sense of routine and we have had such a fun time getting to know the people in our community! We’ve really enjoyed the neighbors! Everyone has kids and everyone loves to hang out outside in the afternoons/evenings. I don’t know who’s having more fun: Christi and me or the Kipton and Caden!

We’ve also been honored to spend time with several other people from different parts of our lives: former students, high school and college friends who live in the area, and a bunch of very welcoming pastors! We’ve really been able to make some good connections. I didn’t realize we would be this busy this early in, but it has been the good kind of busy.

As we move forward, we’ve got a lot of exciting ideas for this last quarter to BE the church while Access is in it’s incubation stage! I’d love to be able to share updates and stories with you! From here on out, almost all of our updates are going to be happening through our email newsletter system. It’s easy to get signed up. Just fill out the form below and you’ll get our emails as soon as we send them off and I promise not to send more than one email per week! This will be the primary place for us to share stories, prayer requests, updates and opportunities to get involved!

Thanks so much for keeping up with us! Please continue to pray for us as we hit the ground running! We appreciate your support greatly!

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Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike.

Ephesians 6:18-19

To Our Friends In Arkansas

It’s October 10 (10/10).

So I thought it was appropriate to write this post today.

We miss you. For real. We talk about you every day, multiple times. We look at your pictures and remember the times that we had together. And I haven’t experienced a single Wednesday night where it felt normal not to be teaching.

You had such an amazing impact on us.

Those of you who were around in 2007 know what it was like to see a couple of newlyweds show up from far away. And you welcomed us in like we were family. You had us over to eat and swim. You invited us over on holidays when we weren’t able to make it home. You supported our youth ministry and supported us. We will never, ever forget that.

All the way through, we had amazing youth workers that served our students selflessly. I didn’t tell you enough, but I bragged on you to other youth pastors often! I can’t tell you how many of their jaws dropped when they heard that you guys stuck with a small group for six or seven years through middle school and high school! You guys are all stars and our students were greatly impacted because of you! You have left and are leaving a strong legacy! Thank you so much for that!

I’m so thankful to have been able to work with Tom and the rest of the staff at Indian Springs. You guys took a chance on me and were always patient with me as I learned the system and grew up in that church. I’ll never forget following Daren’s footsteps and feeling very inadequate. And he never once told me how to do things or that I needed to change my style; not a single time. He only encouraged me and that stuck with me.

And we were spoiled with the absolute best students in the world! Whether it was serving our community or just hanging out together, you guys were always on-board, respectful and fun. It was always a highlight of my week to spend time with you. Obviously, Beach Camp was the high point because we got to spend so much time together. I’m not saying we didn’t need a nap when it was over, but those were some beautiful moments that have been sealed in our hearts forever. You loved us and our boys. We can never thank you enough for that.

Indian Springs is full of gracious people who want nothing more than to love God and love their neighbor. You are a testimony to your community and to us! As we left to plant Access Church, you blessed us with gifts and financial support. You will never know how much that meant to us! We are so very thankful for you and your generosity! We love you and look forward to the day we can see you again!

Grace and peace, Indian Springs. We love and miss you very much!

Kipton & Caden // 2013

At the end of every year, I like to compile all the videos from the past twelve months into a project that outlines what the last year looked like. It’s always crazy looking back to see what the kids looked like! They’re always so much younger than I would have thought (further demonstration that time does, in fact, fly)!

We’ve had a crazy year, so I literally just finished the 2013 video of our boys (which means Cohen isn’t a part of this one). At any rate, here are some of our memories from 2013!

Song: “Atlantic” by Sleeping At Last

Kipton & Caden // 2012

Here are a few of our favorite memories from 2012!

Song: “Beach Song” by Seryn

Kipton in 2011

Here are some of our favorite family memories from 2011! It’s crazy to think that we only had one kid!

Song: “Daydream” by Tycho

“God Is Able” (Stand-Alone Sermon)

For the fall kick-off, this was a timely lesson for everyone. The story of Joshua is an inspiring one. Whether you’re starting school or starting a church, God is able to make His plans come to fruition in your life!

Say Cheese!

What happens when you ask people if you can take their picture, but just leave the camera rolling?