Hello from Maryland

photo1.jpgGood evening, TSS readers! I’m so thankful for your continued patience as this blog has slowed down of late and all your email questions have continued to pile up in my inbox. Today (Wednesday) my wife and I closed on our home in Maryland, capping a 1,600-mile journey over the past couple of weeks. The Lord was kind to give us a wonderful Christmas week with family in Omaha and excellent traveling weather from Omaha to Maryland. Along the way my family and I were blessed with some stunning sunrise views of West Virginia and the Appalachian Mountains (note the moving truck pic my wife took).

But the journey ended this morning here in Gaithersburg. My wife and I emptied our pockets and drained the ink from two pens to close on our home in Maryland. This afternoon we moved in. It’s quickly feeling like our home, thanks to the very kind and gracious servants from Sovereign Grace Ministries and Covenant Life Church. The moving truck was unloaded in a little over an hour and our joyful friends were even so kind to order pizza for lunch, help assemble beds, watch our kids, shop for groceries to fill our refrigerator, and plan out meals for the next few nights.

I’m constantly astonished by the willingness and loving kindness of my friends within Sovereign Grace Ministries. They are busy folks and their willingness to serve is humbling. Take for example Nora Earles. Nora serves as C.J. Mahaney’s personal secretary, and keeping his schedule organized and efficient must be a major task. Yet today she pre-ordered our pizza lunch before arriving at our home to orchestrate her coordinated team of unloaders (and I think she carried more boxes than anyone else!). Nora is never too busy to serve. It is a joy to have such kind friends in a brand new town. Thinking they probably just provided labor to move boxes, these friends probably don’t know the extent their willing and joyful service transformed our new house into a warm home.

And tonight as we transitioned from lugging boxes to opening boxes, we stumbled over a curious small box that found its way into our new kitchen. We opened the box to find it stuffed with letters and gifts from our small group in Bloomington, MN. Apparently when the small group was helping load the moving truck, they snuck this little gift in when we weren’t looking (I’m certain a fingerprinting would point to Ruth Whipple or Dianne Holland-Tuve as the co-conspirators of this operation). We were surprised, encouraged, and yet a bit saddened to be reminded of those great friends. But that’s the kind of care you receive in a Sovereign Grace Ministries church, whether you are in Minnesota or Maryland or (from what I hear) anywhere. So being cared for by two Sovereign Grace churches from two regions at the same time is an especially unique experience that humbles Karalee and I.

But now as I look around, I see that my books tower into a small mountain of boxes in the basement (disclosure: movers are always pre-warned of the number of books I travel with, so if they show up to help they are especially generous and loving). Tomorrow I look forward to getting my library out and shelved. It’s been 2 years since all my books have been out and it gives me great joy to anticipate seeing all the volumes out of moving boxes.

As I type this evening, silence pervades as the kiddos are asleep in their new bedrooms upstairs. Karalee and I are celebrating the silence with our first pot of decaffeinated Starbucks brew from our overworked coffee maker. We’re surrounded by blank walls and a colorful assortment of boxes, multicolored tubs, overworked suitcases, and half-assembled furniture. Pretty much everything in our home is a project-in-process except for our four beds. The beds have been carefully assembled (thanks Larry!), the covers are made up, and the pillows all arranged perfectly. And so now after a long day that’s where I’m headed.

Thanks for your prayers and your patience. And to my new friends, thank you for your joyful and humble sacrifice. The home is cozier because of it!

Well, good night.

12 thoughts on “Hello from Maryland

  1. What’s up Tony! Good to hear all is well with you and your family! God is good! Blessings to you and may God give you plenty of wisdom, discernment and strength to serve where He has placed you!

  2. Welcome to the East Coast! I live in Fairfax, VA (not far from where you are now) and have enjoyed reading your blog the last few months. I’ve purchased many books based on your recommendation and have really benefited from them.

    CLC is a great church. Is that where you are going to start going? I may have missed a post about that. I attend a sister church of CLC, Sovereign Grace Church of Fairfax. I love Sovereign Grace Ministries and their dedication to biblical preaching and the Gospel. I thank God for leading me to one of their churches.

    Once again, welcome! :-)

  3. Thank you Alexander. It is a blessing to be in MD! I’m praying for you and your family as you guys consider a move into Sovereign Grace. You will be blessed beyond expectation!

    And J.J. thank you for the kind words. I echo your thoughts about Sovereign Grace Ministries. The churches are wonderful places to be stretched in growth and to be served and enjoy the path of sanctification with other saints. Yes, CLC is now our church home and now I can officially say that Josh Harris is my pastor and Bob Kauflin is my church worship leader (how gracious is our Lord). I look forward to Sunday worship!

    Thanks for stopping in my friends!

    Tony

  4. Tony, what will you be doing in MD? Are you working for Covenant Life or Sovereign Grace Ministries?

    Did you ever get a chance to read Smeaton’s “The Apostles’ Doctrine of the Atonement”?

  5. Thanks to Tony I too now know who Smeaton is! Woohoo!

    I echo the welcome to the East Coast, although I’m from far south (and many miles away) in Georgia.

  6. Hey, welcome to the East Coast :) I attend a Sov. Grace church in Ashburn, Virginia (Grace Community). You guys should visit sometime.

    You are going to change your side bar to say “Welcome to The Shepherd’s Scrapbook (Gaithersburg, MD), a blog serving sinners who seek their daily food in the Cross of Christ.” :)

  7. Hey Tony,

    I am glad to hear your family made the trip well. Myself and my family will be making a similar trip from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky to Charlotte, NC to become apart of a SGM church CrossWay Community Church in North Charlotte with the hopes and God’s calling and grace of going to the PC in Gaithersburg in the future. I also was wondering what called you to Gaithersburg and what you would be doing there?

  8. Great to hear from all you guys. Thanks for the encouragements, too.

    Today I have the incredible opportunity to begin working full time for Sovereign Grace Ministries. For the past several years this ministry has pointed me to the Cross in many ways online, in books, in conferences, in sermons, and through the excellent music lyrics and recordings. To now work for them is like a boy growing up watching the hometown major league baseball team and then one day humbly being called to become an employee of the club. Well that’s what I feel like today. Truly and deeply honored to be working with my friends to help support them in the global Cross-centered ministry God has ordained for them.

    Blessings my friends!

    Tony

  9. I am so jealous! My husband and I have long wanted to be a part of a SGM church. We live in Reno Nv. and have written them several times to start a church here, but God has not allowed that at this time. Maybe we will move somewhere where we can attend a SG church. Hope you and your family are blessed in this endeavor.

  10. Candyinsierras,

    I was in school in Louisville, and longed to be apart of an SGM church but couldn’t due to one not being in Louisvile! ;) So after much prayer and thought we DID decide to make that big jump of moving to be apart of one of SGM’s churches and let me just encourage you that if it is the Lord’s will, it will happen, I can’t begin to tell you how many doors the Lord opened and guided us that was just amazing. I can honestly say I have been floored by how God has just worked in so many ways to call us to CrossWay. I will pray for you and your family in wanting to be apart of the SGM community.

  11. Hey there, another one here making a move to join the SGM ministry. We are praying about a move to MN to join Sovereign Grace Fellowship. This is how Tony and I established contact…even better, the Lord used this blog to point me to that specific church!

    Anyhow, since we started praying about it and taking our aim at Minnesota we’ve had the most insane opposition from (we believe) the enemy…in the bigger picture I see it as a good stretching from the Lord! Our house is packed, I left me job, we are what feels like in limbo, but praying our way through. God has been faithful and I expect He will continue to be.

    So now I may have a job opportunity there – who knows this may be it, I asked the Lord for open doors and as they open I will step through them with my family…We’re praying this is it.

    I thought we were weird for doing this, then after talking to Rick and then Tony, Steve, Bob, Eric and a few more I found out that I wasn’t so strange for moving to join a church after all…what was I thinking???? I’ve moved over 4 times for jobs – why would moving for the church be weird? ;)

    Anyhow, I thought I’d share just for those of you prayerfully considering doing the same. You’re not alone! I praise God for SGM, how can you not, I mean reformed charismatics???? Ha ha ha :D YES! No more need to subdue your convictions, compromise etc, we feel like we’ve finally found a ministry we can really be a part of, like entirely, even though were not there yet.

    On another note, I have a friend that moved for another ministry and it took him a year! God called him, he went through all kinds of obstacles and finally got there.

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