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We find ourselves saying this often lately, but following God is never
boring. The past month has been quite an unexpected adventure. About a month
ago Awakens lead pastor, Jay Hardwick, sat down with us to share what he
believes are the next steps for Awaken Church. What he shared with us looked
very different than what was communicated to us when we were asked to come
on board. The more we ask questions about how this change was going to be
implemented the more unsettled we felt. Jay was certain that he wanted to
move forward in this direction the Sunday after Easter.

We spent the next three weeks seeking God’s peace and guidance through
prayer, fasting, seeking wise counsel and discussing our concerns with Jay.
We committed to hearing from God and not relying on ourselves. We did not
take this lightly as we believe God has called us to plant a missional
church and we believed He brought us here to Columbia, SC because of the
call and vision that we had in common with the Hardwicks. Had we not
believed so, we would have never left everything to come here, especially in
the midst of a pregnancy. We also take seriously the responsibility that
comes with shepherding the people God has put among us. Our hearts are for
them and what God is doing in their lives. God has put us in the midst of an
amazing community of believers, many of which are new to an authentic
growing relationship with our heavenly Father. God is doing great things in
and among this body, ourselves included. Which made it all the more
perplexing and sad when God made it abundantly clear and repeatedly
confirmed that we are not to follow Jay in these new next steps for Awaken
Church. Jay is just as convinced that this is the vision and now is the
time. For either of us to go against what God has shown us would be
disobedient. Because we do not want to hinder anything God may be doing and
we seek to bless the Hardwicks and Awaken Church, it was mutually agreed
upon that as of the first vision re-casting service on April 19, 2009 we are
no longer with Awaken Church.

We are still called to plant a church that is missional; our calling has not
changed. If anything, the call on Jamie’s life to be a pastor has been
confirmed. We are filled with hope as God is giving us stepping stones day
by day to what that looks like. God has taught us so much in our time here
about leadership; the importance of integrity, wise counsel, systems,
discipleship, accountability, stewardship, vision, communication and prayer.
We are better equipped for the future plans God has for us because of our
experiences here at Awaken Church.

As far as what is next for us goes, we are most likely headed into a time of
transition as God prepares all things for the next steps in ministry. We are
actively waiting on God to guide us. We are due to have our son by c-section
June 10 in Atlanta, GA. God has graciously provided a place for us to live
during that time and has also granted us favor with our landlords to let us
out of our lease here in Columbia. We are planning on moving the first
weekend in May.

About a month ago, it became necessary for Jamie to get a second job to
supplement the income that Awaken Church was able to provide. He had looked
for a part-time job, but God in His sovereignty only provided a full-time
job. Although it is not financially sufficient, it is what we have for now.
We are fervently praying that God would give Jamie a job in Atlanta so he
can join Jennifer and the kids as soon as possible. We are also in need of a
SUV or van that will hold three car seats. So let us know if you have leads
on either!

We appreciate your prayer and support and would ask that you continue to
pray as God brings us to your mind. With seven weeks left before the baby
and all that is involved with packing and moving, we will need lots of peace
and grace! We would love a chance to talk with you if you have any
questions.

Finally, during this season God has spoken to us through His word constantly
both through our individual time with Him and through words given to other
brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. Below are some of the places God
has shown us as we have sought His presence and direction that we would like
to encourage you with.

Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by
the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Psalm 25:21
May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.

Isaiah 26:3-4
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he
trusts in you.
Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.

4: 5-7 Philippians
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious
about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with
thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your
hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 25:3 None who wait for you shall be put to shame.

Psalm 27:11-14
Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my
enemies.
Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen
against me, and they breathe out violence.
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the
living!
Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the
LORD!

Proverbs 11:14
Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of
counselors there is safety.

1 Peter 5: 1-11
So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the
sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be
revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising
oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not
for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge,
but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you
will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be
subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward
one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the
proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he
cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls
around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in
your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced
by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a
little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory
in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To
him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

God has also spoken to us through the biblical accounts of Abraham and Isaac
in Genesis 22 and the account of Gideon in Judges 6-8.

A pastor friend of ours in Atlanta said, “If we are not willing to trust
someone who loves us enough to die for us AND knows the future, where do we
go from there?”

All our love and thanks,
Jamie, Jennifer, Bella, Emery and little man Brewer

Prayer Requests 3/27

We are spending some time in prayer this weekend and would appreciate your prayer support for us. We are asking God for clarity, wisdom, discernment, and guidance. Our heart is to follow Jesus. We do not take lightly what and who He has placed us in influence of and we want to be good stewards, shepherd His people well and follow His will and direction for Awaken Church. We are in the midst of transitions and changes and we are seeking God’s leading in many areas.

Would you please pray for us and the leadership of Awaken Church as God brings us to your mind this weekend?

Gestational What?

Diabetes.  Yep,  that is the news we got last week.  Jen is 27 weeks along as you may know with our 3rd child and she got the call back from the doc last week informing us that she tested positive for gestational diabetes.  We really didn’t expect this considering she had no problems with the Bella and Emery so it was a bit of a shock.  Its been an adjustment and, in a moment of compassion, I committed to go through it with her. So we have had out our charts, calculators, reference guides and meal plans.  Apparently you have to be good in math to be diabetic.  We were both nervous that we were going to be hungry and uncomfortable on our new strict diet, but we have been pleasantly surprised at both our portions and options.  The glucose testing has not been bad either, at least that’s what Jen has told me. I’m not drawing my blood, my commitment only goes to the diet and exercise, no needles.  So far her levels have been under control with dieting and I’ve lost 6 pounds, so its really a win win.  In all seriousness, if you could please pray for our unborn son and Jennifer’s health through the remainder of the pregnancy we would really appreciate it.  We are also trying to make decisions on doctors and other such logistics so prayers for wisdom would also be gratefully received.

8 weeks into meeting

It’s been quite the roller coaster ride in so many aspects. Thrilling, scary, exciting and suspenseful just to start things out. We haven’t done any advertising so to speak; however, we have organically grown to nearly double our size relationally. The first 6 weeks were spent sharing the vision of Awaken Church. Some of the highlights included what it means to be the church versus going to church. We believe that ‘the church’ is a blessed people working together to bless people. We challenged people to bless 3 people within one week, making sure 1 of them didn’t deserve it! Amazing stories kept coming back. For example, one person, who had just prayed to receive Christ that day at church, shared how God used her to speak hope and be an answered prayer to one of her customers at work the next day. That same Sunday we had a total of three people accept Christ as their Savior which is pretty amazing especial when you only have 35 adults in the room!
Being a portable church keeps things interesting too. Especially when you are using your cars for storage. We have an amazing team of volunteers. These guys are so giving and committed to serving in whatever way they are needed. They make getting in and out of the school happen every Sunday so easy and fast. They are all such a joy to work with.

At this stage we are focusing our energy on doing Sundays well, developing leaders, building community and serving our city.

Sorry, its been a while.

Wow,  I’m sitting here in our soon to be baby’s room and reflecting on all God is doing and has done in such a short time.  We are moved in and about 90% unpacked.  We love our place and our neighborhood.  We have some wonderful friends right down the street and are meeting new neighbors constantly.  Yesterday we had our second public culture building meeting which is pretty much like a preview service with emphasis on our distinct cultural DNA.  I am absolutely blown away at how this is coming together.  Its not about how many people show up but about how many people are changed, that being said we are about to out grow the room we are meeting ing and its only our second week.  We are meeting in the most diverse school in the district.  70% of the students are minorities.  The economic diversity is staggering there is the wealthiest of the wealth and the poorest of the poor all mixed up in one little elementary school.  I’m so excited about partnering with Polo Rd Elementary to make a difference in NE Columbia.  We have already started and I can’t wait to tell you about our first blessing to the school but its not until next week so I can’t say anything yet.  I’ll let you know in a week.  Jay is doing an excellent job communicating our vision and challenging us to be a blessed people that blesses people.  We challenged everyone to bless three people this week and make sure one doesn’t deserve it.  Can you imagine the effect that could have on a city?  I’m so humbled that God has allowed me and my family to be a part of Awaken Church.  -Jamie

My, Jen, step-dad has a huge car hauler trailer he let us pack our stuff in when we moved out of our rental house early December. The idea was to just leave it there and then tow it to Columbia when we move. The only catch was we had to move it by January 3rd because my parents were leaving for Florida that day and couldn’t haul the trailer for us after that date.

Once we found a place to live, the landlords told us we could move our stuff in before the 3rd,but we could not live there until after the 5th because they still had to get the C.O. on the house. So we planned to move our stuff in one weekend and then a week and a half later move the fam. All was well till the morning we went to take the trailer and the truck couldn’t pull it. So we (as in the Jamie part of we) called around, found a uhaul truck, unloaded the trailer, loaded the truck and headed off to Columbia. Tough morning. On the way to the uhaul place Jamie and I were discussing how God doesn’t promise our lives will be easy, He just promises to guide us through it.

When we arrived in Columbia, it was amazing. There were tons of people literally waiting at our house to help us unload. I was in shock and so excited about having this community of people who are loving our family even before we live there. Some of the people there we had not even met. In no time at all everything was unloaded and we got to chill out a little and relax. Thanks guys you are all amazing and I can not wait to get to know you all better!

Now we are preparing to move in!

Praying for: -the C.O. to happen  – Washer and Dryer (we thought the landlords had a washer and dryer for us but turns out they do not) – wisdom for decisions in the next week

Thanks for your prayers and we hope you all have a Happy New Year!

Jennifer

Yeah God

We wanted to update you on the house search. God provided just in the nick of time. We’ll post more details soon but thank you for your prayers.