Home > The Slow Grow > Into The Wild, Blue Yonder

Into The Wild, Blue Yonder

I’ve been sitting on this entry for weeks and weeks.  I thought that if I didn’t post it, it wouldn’t come true, but…I have to share it with you because I need your prayers – all you cybercapable friends:

Since day one, I have had a partner in the gospel here at Embody: Lee Heerspink.  He and I have worked from the beginning on starting Embody.  We’ve prayed a lot, and used our machetes to cut through the question marks that are church planting to give birth to a place that is authentic to who God has made us to be.

We’ve been honest with each other and vulnerable with each other.  He’s one of the few I can call a part of my band of brothers…a true friend who would do anything to help me walk in faith and maintain the long obedience in the same direction.  He is the type of guy who’s willing to ask me the hard questions and let me ask them of him.

He told me months ago that he may be leaving…pursuing a dream of his to play music in the Air Force.  That was painful to hear for multiple reasons: he’s a good friend, he’s been with me from the very beginning and we share that history.  We share, also, a united vision for worship.  Then there’s the obvious: he’s awesome at what he does, and there’s no way to replace him.

Since the moment he first told me about the possibility of him leaving, I made a conscious decision: pray for him and don’t try to sway him.  I have my desires, but they are selfish.  I don’t know what God wants, but I can hear in my friend’s voice that he is hopeful.  I would never want to take that away from him.  He’s a loyal friend, too, so I knew that if I were to try to lay on guilt it would sadly work.  I don’t want to be that guy.

He has one more month with us, then…he’ll be playing with the Air Force.  His last Sunday is September 19, which is our one year anniversary as a church.  It will be bittersweet.

When I tell people this they always ask the question: “What are you going to do?”  My answer is always, “Not quite sure, but I’m not worried about it.”  I know that God has a plan, and it will be good.  There is someone either inside or presently outside the body of believers we worship with who will become for us exactly what God intended.  Ephesians says, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

There really are two stories here that connect in Christ.  The first is the loss of a musician in our midst…one who has a vision for worship and leads by quiet, humble service.  He has helped to create an atmosphere where people are comfortable.  He’s an authentic person who hates being noticed and is a little shy.  It’s not just part of his charm…it’s God’s gift to Embody.

The other story is also one of loss, and one that is much more accessible to people: losing a friend to distance.  I’ve had friends move away before, and more commonly been the one moving away, but this is a strongly felt loss by me.  I think it is because, besides Dana (my bride), Lee is the one who has been at every step and lifted every stone and painted every wall and sweated and bled and cried with me.  He’s my friend born by challenge. I’ll miss him, but we are connected through Christ and the body of Christ, though separated by distance meets at the heart of God…often in worship and always at the Lord’s Table.

I am planning on this being a great opportunity for God to show up and make something truly awe-inspiring happen.  Here’s the plan: You pray and I’ll keep my eyes open.  That way when God lands something great in our path I’ll see it and you’ll hear about prayers answered.

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  1. Julie Heerspink
    August 26, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Jim, what a truly wonderful tribute to a great man. We all wish Lee the best in this new step of his life.

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