Saturday, April 24, 2010

An Open Letter to My Friends At Grace Community Church

Most of you know that my family and I have been north of Pittsburgh for the last 18 months serving at Grace Community Church in Cranberry Twp. Pennsylvania. Our last Sunday at Grace was March 27th and our leaving might have seemed a little hasty to some. Please read the entire post because it will answer some questions that you might have. What some of you know is that before we lived in PA, my family and I lived in Ohio for 7 years. During that time in Ohio, Beka and I fell in love with "Small Town America" while living in Galion (population 11,000) and serving at Gospel Baptist Church with Pastor Monty Trammel. Tears and mid-western pride fill me up everytime I hear "Small Town" by John Mellencamp.

I count it as a blessing that I come from a long line of preachers. I am humbled that God has used my family for so long serving the church. I don't hold that in a spirit of arrogance or entitlement but with great respect. My family is by no means perfect but for some reason or another God continues to call my family into the ministry.

I remember growing up in a pastor's home. Happy times much like any other - filled with bumps and bruises but also love and sacrifice. I received Christ on November 21, 1991 and was baptized (again!! 3rd times a charm!! ;) shortly thereafter. My mom and dad would tell you that my coming to faith was for real. Jesus dramatically changed me! *I love you mom and dad*

A few years later I knelt down again at the alter at West Chester Baptist Church (Cincinnati Ohio) and surrendered my life to full time ministry in November of 1993. *I love you Mickey and Susan*

Two years later I was home for winter break from college. My dad and I went to a little church in Southern Indiana for a Bible conference. I had been questioning whether or not I was really called into the ministry and was debating coming home from Bible college. It was there that I knelt again at an alter in that little Baptist church where God not only confirmed my calling into the ministry but also confirmed in me a call me to preach (December 1995). I'm sorry if this language is new to some of you but a "call to preach" is different in the fact the God calls someone specifically to pastor a local church.

I've not forgotten about this and have prayed over and over about when God would have me to pastor a church. I'll admit that I have been pushing it off because I've seen all that pastor's go through. It is no small task and not for the faint of heart. Most pastor's are under massive amounts of stress and on the "full stretch" at all times.

A few months ago Beka and I started to talk about pastoring a church and when we felt that time would come. I had no desire to do so right away and living in Pittsburgh has been great! We have awesome friends, a really great church, and some of the best teens we have ever had the privilege of working with! Like always I started to question being a Senior pastor of a church and really debated whether or not there was a need for another church in the United States - already being saturated with "steeples rising high above the malls".

I had been reading the Bible faithfully, seeking clarity, but clarity would allude me again driving me further into a spiritual fog. It wasn't until one day I was driving to the Y, spending some time in prayer and really asking God to show me that He was leading me to pastor. Immediately following my "Amen" I noticed a lighted church sign asking these words in bright red rotating letters.. "Do you love me?" Not wasting a second, I answered it back aloud saying, "Yes Lord, You know that I love you." The next flashing sentence jumped off the screen and answered back, "Feed my sheep."

I knew at that moment that Jesus was directing me to pastor. An awesome opportunity has opened up for me to pastor a church in Ashland Ohio. I had the opportunity to work with this group before but I didn't feel led of the Lord until recently. I'll admit that I did not know this until a few weeks ago nor at the time I left Grace.

Some of you have asked why we left without having secured a job or a place to live. God knew exactly what He was doing even though we didn't. Grace, nor Pastor Matt, forced us to leave. It was our decision and Grace has been very gracious to us in regards to our exit. Our decision to leave was not based on any other reason but for to seek God's will concerning the next step in our lives to which I have clearly stated above.

Some have asked questions about whether or not there was some moral issue on my part that might have been a contributor to our leaving Grace. I can stand before you in all honesty and tell you that there has not been. I have been faithful to my wife and family and I don't ever take them for granted.

Some have asked why we did not come to the platform during our announcement. I'll admit that this was my choice and just chalk it up to me being bad at goodbye's. :)

Some have asked if Grace has been fair to me and my family during this transition time. I can tell you that they have. I have been privileged to work with Pastor Matt and the rest of the staff at Grace for these past 18 months and they have blessed me and my family as we transition and wish nothing but the best for us.

I also wish nothing but the best for all of you at Grace and will sincerely continue praying for you all as you continue to see God bless as He already has! Please also keep us in your prayers as we are raising support to go to our next place of ministry. My phone is always open for you to call and our hearts will always remember our friends and loved ones at Grace..

We love you all sincerely and wish you nothing but God's favor and His richest blessings!

Your friends,

Tim Holman and Family

Monday, April 5, 2010

Are You Free?

I heard a song from Rich Mullins I hadn't heard before today called "Higher education and the book of love". This was quoted at the beginning of the song and thought you might benefit from it as well.

"What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to be human? I cannot help but suspect that at one time in the history of thinking that people believed that it meant that we were spiritual and that we could make choices and were capable of aspiring to higher ideals... like maybe loyalty or maybe faith... or maybe even love. But now we are told by people who think they know, that we vary from amoeba only in the complexity of our makeup and not in what we essentially are. They would have us think as Dysart said that we are forever bound up in certain genetic reigns - that we are merely products of the way things are and not free - not free to be the people who make them that way. They would have us see ourselves as products so that we could believe that we were something to be made - something to be used and then something to be disposed of. Used in their wars - used for their gains and then set aside when we get in their way. Well, who are they? They are the few who sit at the top of the heap - dung heap though it is - and who say it is better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven. Well, I do not know that we can have a Heaven here on earth, but I am sure we need not have a Hell either. What does it mean to be human? I cannot help but believe that it means we are spiritual - that we are responsible and that we are free - that we are responsible to be free."