The following is a letter we gave to our neighbors. We sign the papers in a few hours. God is good. He provided childcare from friends and neighbors along the way, allowed us to get the house clean and empty just in time. He allowed me to witness to someone at the Goodwill we were dumping our crap at. He’s considering re-dedicating His life to Christ. Weights are falling off and the future’s ahead. It’s invigorating to be able to realistically dream again. Anyway, here’s the letter:
Thanks for being the greatest neighbors on the planet!
We’ll miss you all so much. We are so grateful for the time we had with you. Your kindness and generosity are astounding.
We LOVE YOU!!! Tim, Miah, Joshua [not pictured], Hannah, Guinevere, Samuel
Here’s a quick recap of our story and how to stay in touch. We really do want to stay in touch with you all, so please call or email us as often as you can.
Our story starts at the beginning. At the VERY beginning.
In the beginning God created heaven and earth. Water, fish, birds, air, trees, roosters, every thing that was made was made by Him and for Him. He created mankind in His own image and breathed His life into our nostrils. We were alive because He made us alive. He crafted us different than everything else, and made us special. He made us to have fellowship with Him and to walk in His Presence. We were not made by chance or by accident, but were God’s great workmanship. He was pleased with us.
We decided that we didn’t have to do things His way, but could do things our own way. Even though He made us in His image and set His Spirit inside of us for life, we rejected Him and chose our own path. This is sin and we’re all guilty of it. Living for ourselves instead of for Him is sin. As a result, He had to remove His Presence from us. God is Holy and will not share His Presence with sin. We became dead on the inside. It’s continued through all generations down to us.
I was born dead [Tim].
Even though I was raised in a Christian home, I did not sense God’s Presence or His love. I had an understanding that God was Holy and that I was not. I knew that Jesus lived and died and rose again for my sins. But this had absolutely no effect on my choices or how I lived my life. God was removed, distant, and certainly not smiling.
I lived my teenage years in rebellion. Into my 20’s; drugs, alcohol, and a lifestyle of partying were my identity. My friends, my music, and the way I lived did not reflect any knowledge of God. Knowing that there was a God did not change my behavior.
Church seemed weighty, boring, and like a waste of time. It was full of hypocrites and liars and I wanted no part of it. I was becoming increasingly jaded, angry, bitter. I wouldn’t walk around spitting on people or anything, but my heart was angry. I hated my dad for not being around. If I was honest, I hated God too. I knew I wasn’t supposed to. I knew I didn’t want to go to hell, but I also didn’t want a relationship with a God I saw as an ego-maniac. Or hang out with cooky, stuffy, hypocritical church going folk.
I used to keep my weed in my Bible. I figured no one would look in there. One day I opened it up to get my weed and landed on Romans 8:7 “The sinful mind is hostile towards God.”
It was then I realized that my anger was not because of anything God had done to me, or my father had done or anyone else. My anger was from my sin. Sin was my problem. I didn’t know God and didn’t want to know Him. I wanted to do my own thing, and this is sin. The same thing that separated Adam and Eve was separating me.
Shortly there after, a friend invited me to church. I went, and for the first time in my life, I actually felt the Presence of God. The same Presence that breathed life into our nostrils thousands of years ago is still breathing life into dead things. I immediately felt His LOVE, JOY, and PEACE wash over me. I wish I could say my life was instantly changed from that moment on, but it wasn’t. It took several years of me figuring out how to live in a relationship with a Living and Loving God.
God is not dead. He is alive. He wants a relationship with all of us.
Why the long story?
I’m getting there! Hang tight!!!
When I became ‘Born Again’, it was very obvious to me that I needed to stop sinning. How did I know? Because I would feel His Peace leave when I was in sin. I distinctly remember going to a club one night with friends, and turning around to go home about ½ way there. My stomach was just grieved with what I was about to go do [get drunk and look for women]. It was grieved not because the Bible says “Hey everyone, don’t get drunk or you’ll go to Hell!”
It was grieved because I was grieving God with my attitude. I was deciding in my heart that what I wanted was more important than what He wanted. It’s called selfishness, and it doesn’t work well in relationship.
Miah and I have been married 10 years now. If I do a lot of great things for her (buy her flowers, wash dished, clean the house, ect), then kiss her on the cheek on my way out of the door to meet my adulteress…her heart would be grieved. She wouldn’t care about the flowers. In fact, those things would be offensive to her. She couldn’t stay in a relationship with me because the pain of my adultery would be too great.
I was treating the Lord Jesus with the same attitude. I wanted to love Him, but have other lovers too. I needed to give all of my heart to Him.
Here’s the Point:
- You are awesome neighbors.
- We love you.
- We’re not ashamed to tell you that being in a relationship with the Creator God is THE most amazing, exciting, fulfilling relationship you will ever have.
- We’re also not ashamed to tell you that it comes with a cost. It’s you’re life for His. Jesus said it this way in Matthew 16 “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save their lifef will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?
- Salvation, being born again, being ‘saved’, are terms people use to describe this process.
- It’s realizing that we are dead to God because of our sin and that there’s no way we can fix it.
- We acknowledge that God made a way through His Son Jesus to pay our penalty.
- We ask for forgiveness.
- We live for Him.
We’ve decided to live for Him and that’s why we’re moving and that’s why you’re getting this letter. We have felt God asking us to put Him first in every area of our lives. We have felt Him ask us to “Go and Make Disciples”.
For the next several months, we’ll be living in a friends basement in Ham Lake. Meanwhile, I’ll begin repairs on a duplex in North Minneapolis. This duplex with become a house of : Worship, Prayer and Discipleship for the neighborhood.
- Worship is declaring who God is.
- Prayer is asking for His Presence to change us. It’s our dialogue with Him.
- Discipleship is training others to live for Christ.
Why sell? Why North Mpls? Why?
Simply because we have determined in our hearts that living for God is the best way to spend our lives. We feel His Spirit leading us in this direction and we love His Presence so much that we must follow it. As much as we love you, we love Him and His Presence more.
Thanks again for being such awesome neighbors the past 4 years. Thanks for reading this long letter [if you made it this far!]
If you’d like to stay in touch, here’s our contact info: