Dear Friends and Family,
“[YAHWEH] established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.” (Psalm 78:5-7)
Happy birthday Caleb Duncan Thomas! We thank the LORD that on May 16 at 1:06 AM our “little” 9lb 12oz 22¼-inches long blessing from GOD made his grand arrival into the world. And oh boy, was his arrival grand! In the words of Tracy’s doctor, “I’ve never had a patient fully dilated for over three hours with such intense labor.” And again, “That is the most matured newborn I’ve ever seen.” Umm, he’s big!
Our hearts desire and prayer to God for Caleb is that he will be saved (Romans 10:1), and that his very intense delivery into this world would serve as a parable of the immense impact he will have on his generation for Christ’s kingdom (Psalm 78:5-7)! Please join us in praying to this end. Thank you also for your prayers for Tracy, Caleb, and our entire family as we adjust to life as six.
In addition to adjusting to a larger family, there are many other significant adjustments on the horizon for the Thomas family. Lord willing we will be moving to downtown Memphis in late June and beginning the planting efforts of Grace Church in September. Having the joy of participating in the Church Planter’s Residency at Bethlehem, the wonder of our fourth child, the stress of making two moves, and the intimidation of starting a new church are just a few of the reasons that 2005-2006 has been one of the most adventurous seasons to date for our family. Not insignificantly, the LORD has been preparing us for these significant adjustments.
Nearly seven years ago (July 24, 1999), Tracy and I were married. From the first day of our marriage the LORD put strong desires in our hearts for a large family. Taylor, Kaitlyn, Andrew, and Caleb are living gifts to us from the hand of GOD and we marvel that He has entrusted us with the awesome responsibility of modeling Christlikeness in front of them and teaching them that “apart from Christ nothing should dazzle us* .”
Again, nearly seven years ago, Tracy and I started praying about church planting. GOD, in His kind providence, though many times unbeknownst to us, was pleased to use each of the subsequent years as preparation to begin Grace Church. Our opportunity for training in Minnesota has proven to be a better equipping season than we could have imagined. Please know how thankful we are for your love and support through this season of our life – although it is impossible to express in words. We are humbled and encouraged by the waves of intercessory prayer being made on our behalf! By all means, keep it up.
Almost three years ago, the LORD led Nathan Sawyer, Bryan Smith, myself, and a few others to begin praying about planting a new church in the Memphis area. Knowing that we are scheduled to begin this new work in a few months is almost surreal. The ways that GOD has cultivated our hearts, matured our spiritual growth, convicted us of sin patterns, provided grace to repent, and united our hearts to plant this new church has been an amazing journey to live within. We tremble at the responsibility the LORD has bestowed upon us, and at the same time we walk in the confidence that the He has already prepared the way (Ephesians 2:10)! Christ Jesus is the builder of His church, and we are simply the tools (Matthew 16:18). Pray that we will be useful in His mighty hands!
In Christ, John 3:30
* This statement was regularly quoted to me by Clyde Cranford in discipleship, and was orignated by St. Ignatius.
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