If you've been around me for more than a couple of hours you're familiar with my deep love for my city, my community in particular. Uptown. It's the northernmost community on the island of Manhattan in New York City.
I've spent 26 years of my almost 31 year old life here. And in this new year I've reflected a ton on the people, the places, the lessons and the stories that swarm my memory. All these have shaped me to where I am today. I'm grateful.
Just a couple of days before the new year I was flooded with memories and emotions as I sat in my old church where I met Jesus. I thought of my mom, my pops, my siblings, my wife, my brother-in-law all meeting Jesus there. I thought of CCF, the church we started and now lead as fruit of how I was inspired to faith there. I thought of my son, who was sitting beside me, and my longest friend, who was dedicating his son to Jesus before the church. I was grateful. We often say this, "God is good" or "He (God) is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow." But in that moment I was affirmed of it. I was overwhelmed by faith in it. God never changes. That's a good thing. I realized that if you stay somewhere long enough you'll have no choice but to see the grace of God.
In a transparent sermon back in March I shared with my congregation that I sensed God share with me that I should commit myself to 6 simple things for the rest of my life: Plant roots, make homes, build families, love neighbor, trust Jesus, die well. Certainly there are so many other things that I commit myself to, but in some way they flow out from these major headings. These are massive statements, but they're also rich. Within each of these statements are stories that help them make sense and come alive.
I know everyone has a story. I want to share mine. I want to share it with the hope to inspire faith in Jesus. I want to share it with the hope to inspire my generation to stay "home" and invest in their city in order to see God's Kingdom come "on earth as it is in heaven." I want to share in hopes to help my generation be captured by the beauty of God's city colliding with ours.
So...I'm telling the story and I want to invite you to join me. Over the last few months I've been working through my first book, "Mi Casa Uptown: Learning to Love Our Cities Better" (title not final). After learning that going the traditional book publishing route isn't an easy task, my family and I decided to go the self-publishing route. We've connected with Westbow Publishers, the self-publishing division of Thomas Nelson. These guys are excellent! Self-publishing is not an inexpensive option so we want to invite to you help us make this happen.
Would you consider partnering with our family?
Check our GoFundMe page to donate!