On Tuesday, December 5, Matt was ordained. After serving first as an intern, then volunteer, and a pastor for nearly the past fifteen year, Christian Assembly’s staff, friends, and family gathered around Matt to affirm the work of God in his life and the calling that he lives out, and wow! What an amazing time of worship, prayer and commissioning. I don’t know why, but I am always so amazed by the presence of the Holy Spirit. That in the middle of Los Angeles on a Tuesday morning, he is there, where he said he would be because we were gathered in his name. But that is exactly who he is … Emanuel; God with us. God for us. God over any storm we face and season we are in. The God who takes care of the big things. What an honor and privilege it is to serve him with the staff at CA and alongside my husband. As we approached Matt’s ordination, I was able to reflect on him and his calling and shared a few words with him following his ordination. For our friends and family who were unable to join us (and so I don’t lose these words), I am posting here.
Matt – 18 years ago when we met, I never would have guessed we’d be here today. Back then you were a dreamer, headed toward a life of entertainment or politics … you rarely saw things as they were. You were always thinking up some screenplay or living life based on how you wanted your memoirs to someday read. A masterful storyteller, lover of history, with a quick wit, you drew me in with your charisma and charm.
Today you are still a dreamer, though your dreams center around God’s desire that all would know him. You still rarely see things as they are, but always find the best in people, and see things as they should be. Your love of history and storytelling most often revolves around His story and whether you are enjoying a good laugh, sharing little known historical facts, preaching, talking to your kids, or calming me down, you are always pointing others toward Jesus.
After growing up as a pastor’s kid and moving around a lot, I was scared when you told me you were feeling called to ministry. Though I had a heart for the church and missions, I did not want my life to continue to be one of constant change, and you asked me to trust you, and promised that we would not move every few years.
Matt, thank you for being trustworthy and a man of your word. Thank you for being steady and predictable (though never boring). What you have given me and our children by remaining faithful in hard times and enjoying good times, is a husband and father who can always be counted on. Thank you for being faithful to your promises and faithful to CA. After years of being hurt by the church, what a gift it has been to serve the last fifteen years in a church with transparent and trustworthy leadership.
Thank you that when you graduated from seminary, you didn’t just go looking for the first church that would hire you. Thank you for being so committed to serving Jesus at CA, that you trusted God and stayed put … not despising the day of small beginnings, but serving wherever there was a need — even holding babies during women’s bible study. Thank you that when an opportunity opened at CA that wasn’t quite what you were suited for, you trusted God to equip you and you pastored our students.
You once told me how much you love the story of Les Miserables and I told you how I love The Count of Monte Cristo. You loved the story of grace and forgiveness and reconciliation and redemption and I loved the story of revenge and justice. At twenty years old, you told me that I had never done anything wrong enough to understand grace. Well, after sixteen years of marriage and thirteen years of parenting, I’ve come to know and rely upon grace. How grateful I am that your love of grace does not just stop at literature, but that you consistently live out the gospel more than anyone I’ve ever known. So much like Jesus, you are gracious and forgiving because of the grace you’ve received. You are transparent — who you are at home is who you are EVERYWHERE. You are kind and compassionate, always welcoming those you meet exactly how they are, but loving people too much to leave them that way. You lead and shepherd, gently through relationship.
It is and always will be, my life’s greatest honor to stand and serve beside you. And because it wouldn’t be like me to not do this, in the words of 4HIM and Psalm 112:
I guess that we all gamble on some truth to guide our days
And we trust that it will bring us joy and meaning on the way
I’ve got friends who feel betrayed by all the things they once believed
Still with everything I’ve seen I’ve gotta say it seems to me …
Blessed is he who fears the Lord, who finds delight in his commands
Light shines in the darkness for the upright
He is gracious, compassionate, and righteous
Good will come to a man who lends generously and conducts his business fairly
He will never be shaken …
He will not fear bad news; his heart is confident
Trusting in the Lord