A New Season of Ministry

Every few years I end up re-inventing myself. I love learning and trying new things. I love to dream up and build new things. I’m blessed that I’m in an organization where I can do just that.

When I joined Rancho about six years ago, I answered a phone call that came out of nowhere. The week before I had resigned my position at a church I helped to build, but a church that was quickly unraveling (that’s a story that I need to tell someday). Jen and I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but we did know that God was opening doors for a new season of ministry with Rancho.

I came on as a pastor to help at Rancho’s school, Rancho Christian. It was during this time that I was introduced to Rancho and I made some deep and lasting relationships with many staff members. I spent a few years there, and by God’s grace, some great people, and a lot of work, the school grew – new leadership was installed and I was able to enter another new season.

This time I worked with the Worship Department at the church. During that time I was able to hire and work with some amazing people. I also said goodbye to some incredible people, thankfully – I’m able to still call them friends and still stay connected to them to this day. One person that I was able to help bring to Rancho was a friend I met named Tim Manigault. He quickly became the obvious choice to take our Worship Department to the next level. And so another chance to reinvent came my way.

I’ve always loved culture and people and the church – so my next journey was overseeing “Connecting” at Rancho, which basically meant anything that connected the church with people: look & feel, design, social media, online ministry, welcome ministries, small groups, etc. Just as I was getting my feet wet in this new role, my friend who was also my boss entered a new phase of life and ministry himself, which left a void at Rancho… so guess what – yes, another new season.

Next I joined a new team of three as the Executive Pastors of our church. As a team, we would oversee and lead our staff. It was a new idea – so I was on board. Together we began dreaming what Rancho could be as we headed into a building phase, doubling our campus size. Then, just a few months after this transition came the opportunity, once again to reinvent. And that brings us to this past weekend.

Last weekend, I officially took on the role of Executive Pastor of our Murrieta Campus. We’ve been going to that campus since it launched and have watched it grow over the years. Now we can really put some serious energy into the campus and work with our great friends, the Beavers, and see what God has planned for Rancho Murrieta.

I’m so thankful to be able to do what I love as a job. I’m thankful for a wife who is supportive and a family ready to take risks with me. And I’m thankful for the hundreds of people who call Rancho Murrieta home and looking forward to serving with them as we live out the love and life of Christ in this community.

Check out Rancho Murrieta on Facebook here. And come join us any Sunday at Murrieta Mesa High School at 10:00am – we’d love to have you and make sure you come by and say “hi” – I’d love to meet you!

P.S. here’s some of the fun stuff we do at Rancho Murrieta:

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Maggie Update: Lost Photos

We’re preparing to share Maggie’s story as part of this Sunday’s message @ranchocommunity (Rancho Community Church, #Temecula Campus). As we do, I’ve been organizing photos and doing some archiving. With each photo, the memories come to life and we remember just how crazy our lives were just a couple months ago. Jen and I look at each other and just say things “I can’t believe how close we were to losing her”, or “Can you believe she looked like this?” It’s pretty wild just how far Maggie has come since being on life-support for almost two weeks.

As I was looking through photos, I found some really good ones that I never posted through Maggie’s journey – so this week, in preparation for Sunday, I will be sharing some over the next few days. I hope it reminds all of you who prayed for us and continue to pray, just what God did in and through Maggie’s life…

This photo is so special because it shows Maggie off the ventilator, breathing on her own, with just the help of some oxygen. We were never sure that that would even happen… Someone brought her a ladybug party toy that she could blow. Nurses told us that this kind of thing was just what she needed to exercise her damaged lungs. We even caught her smiling (and that’s her Papa Bob’s hand in the picture, probably another reason she’s smiling!).

#prayformaggieruth

Maggie Update: Thanksgiving 2014

Jen and I thought we’d both take turns sharing our thoughts on this Thanksgiving 2014.

From Jen…

Today is the one time of year that we “officially” recognize, stop and give thanks. Our nation has marked this as a federal holiday and all over our country families and friends will gather on this day to give thanks. When we reminisce of the year that has passed we often are thankful for family, friends and good health. This year I am extremely thankful for LOVE.

The past few months have not been easy for our family, and we have been faced with life circumstances that have rocked our world. But, as I sit and ponder the things I am thankful for one word keeps coming to mind and that is LOVE. Over the past few months I have witnessed more love, and goodness from others than ever before in my life. I often wish I could see God, or hear His voice. Then I realize I have seen God. Ive seen Him through His people. As the great Billy Graham said “I’ve never seen the wind, but I see the effects of the wind”.

Without this LOVE there is no hope. Jesus showed the ultimate sacrifice of LOVE when he died on the cross. Without this LOVE, “For God so LOVED the world that he gave His only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life,” we would have no hope when faced with life’s unforeseen circumstances. Recently our Pastor, Scott Treadway, wrapped up my thoughts perfectly, he said “In every difficult circumstance, we know there is hope, we know there is victory, and we know there is life because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ”. AMEN!

I am so thankful for all of my friends and family, but most of all I am thankful for Gods love, mercy and grace. I will forever have a heart of thankfulness when I look at my daughter Maggie (and every single one of our other children), and I will continue to praise Him and thank Him for sparing her life.I witnessed first hand, a God miracle. He healed a nearly lifeless, sick body and renewed it with His healing hand. He is the one who saved her both on this earth and forever in eternity, He is the one who loves her more than I ever could, and He is the one to whom all praise is due.

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours…. Amen!

From Alex…

First of all, I can’t believe it’s already Thanksgiving! I’m trying not to completely define our lives by the recent event, but it’s kind of hard not to. For a few weeks in August, time stood still and after that it seems like it’s been going in fast-forward. We are desperately trying to slow down and notice the little things, focus on our family, love on our kids, really appreciate every. single. moment.

I’m not sure I can add much more to what Jen wrote (I don’t think she knows how good her perspective is and how strong her faith is…). I think of the song, “Christ is Enough”:

Christ is my reward
And all of my devotion
Now there’s nothing in this world
That could ever satisfy

Through every trial
My soul will sing
No turning back
I’ve been set free

Christ is enough for me
Christ is enough for me
Everything I need is in You
Everything I need

Christ my all in all
The joy of my salvation
And this hope will never fail
Heaven is our home

Through every storm
My soul will sing
Jesus is here
To God be the glory

As I look at my life, my family, my extended family, my church family, friends, followers (all you online people, that I may have never met), my story, our story, and I am profoundly thankful, humbled, and amazed. God has been at work in my life from the beginning. I’ve been blessed to live in an extraordinary place in the world and time in history. God has given me opportunities to be who He created me to be and serve in capacities that I could have never imagined. He brought me just the right person to be my partner in life and in ministry. He’s seen me through difficult experiences, and used those experiences to humble me, build character, and grow my faith. And the most recent experience with our precious Maggie, while so hard, was just more of God doing what he’s always done: proving once again his faithfulness, reminding me that He is enough. He has given me so much – EVERY day with Jen is a gift. EVERY day working is a gift. EVERY day that each one of our children wake up and spend the day with us is a gift. EVERY day I get to look into Maggie’s eyes is a gift and a reminder of God’s wonder and faithfulness.

I can’t help but think about all the families that will spend Thanksgiving apart this year for various reasons. Maybe a family like the Toy’s who’s daughter will be in the hospital fighting cancer this Thanksgiving. Maybe a family that will experience this Thanksgiving with one less family member. Maybe a family that doesn’t even have a place to call home. Maybe a family that has a member serving our country oversees. Maybe a family who is missing a parent due to mental illness. Maybe a family that is missing one of their kids due to trafficking. Maybe a family who is in the middle of being ripped apart by divorce. It’s hard to see the hope in these situations, but my hope and prayer for all of us, in the midst of maybe some very confusing and frustrating times – even very painful times, is that we would see through the constant, urgent pressure of life and stop to be grateful, even for the smallest glimmers of joy. If there’s one thing I’ve learned so far in life is that God is always present, and always faithful.

For us, Maggie’s story is a story of hope and we hope that gives you hope this Thanksgiving.

#prayformaggieruth #mclean6 #thanksgiving2014

(photo credit: Emily Tingley)