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I’ve been describing this past Sunday to people with one word. Meaningful. It was bittersweet to stand on the NewSpring stage and talk about the hope that we have in the resurrection. Bitter because of the reason I was given this opportunity. Sweet because of how much Pastor Perry and NewSpring Church have meant to Amanda and me throughout the last 12 years. I will never forget the first time I stepped into a NewSpring service. I was a freshman in college at Southern Wesleyan University, studying to become a pastor, and completely disenfranchised by church. To me church was boring, disengaging, and unwelcoming to my non-christian friends. The RD at our dorms told us about a church that played Switchfoot and U2. I grew up in traditional church so when I heard there was a church playing Switchfoot and U2 I said, “I’ve got to see this."

It was a 45 minute drive to church that morning. I remember looking at my buddy in the passenger seat and telling him I’ll never drive 45 minutes again to go to a church service! At the time I didn’t understand the principle that a church alive is worth the drive. At the time I had never experienced a NewSpring Church service. In the next hour my entire perspective on God’s Church would be transformed. Not only was the music fantastic but the preaching was engaging, challenging, convicting, and hopeful! I watched in awe as quite possibly hundreds stood up around me during the invitation to receive Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. What is this? I thought to myself. People don’t receive Christ in church! Only at a conference or a camp! This is incredible!

It was that moment the Lord began stirring inside of me a passion for His Church and a compassion for people who are far from Him.

Through a series of events, I went on staff at NewSpring in May of 2008. Amanda and I got married in August of that year and we quickly began the dream season of our lives. We loved EVERY BIT of our three and a half years at NewSpring.

One of the things I’ve learned from following Jesus is that we don’t always know why God allows some things to happen. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve asked Why many times in the last 5 months. I don’t believe God’s intimidated by us asking Why but He doesn’t always answer our Why. What He does do is put us in certain settings and situations to give us the reassurance and the gentle reminder that He is in control of everything and that He’s working all things together for our good. Although I may be completely out of control, He’s got it under control. It was Sunday standing on the NewSpring stage that Jesus had me in a setting that reminded me of this as well as a few other things:

You can’t do life alone. There is no way my family and I would have made it through these past 5 months were it not for our NewSpring Church family. Immediately after Amanda’s death they sent crews to Indianapolis to be with us, pray with us, care for us, take care of all the funeral arrangements, and help us navigate the media frenzy we had on our hands. NewSpring sent guest speakers to Resonate Church for a couple months until I could get my bearings straight enough to step back up in front of my congregation. During that time and since then I have received countless and continual messages from Pastor P, NewSpring staff, and volunteers checking in on us, encouraging us and praying for us. There is nothing quite like a church family and the body of Christ. Thank you, NewSpring Church for being way more than a support system to us. Thank you for being a family!

Jesus is faithful. NewSpring Church is where Amanda and I made so many huge decisions for Jesus.

It was during our time at NewSpring we learned life is much more fulfilling when you are serving others rather than living for yourself.

It was during our time at NewSpring Amanda and I fell in love with Ministry.

It was It was during our time at NewSpring we saw the Lord provide for us in more ways than can be recounted.

It was during our time at NewSpring we learned Jesus could be trusted in ALL seasons.

It was during our time at NewSpring The Lord brought us to a place where we chose to lay our lives down for the sake of the Good News of Jesus.

Standing on the NewSpring stage this past Sunday was a reminder to me that the same God who was faithful in that season will be faithful in this one. Pastor Perry always says, the best predictor of God’s future faithfulness is His past provision.

The Best is Yet to Come. If you are a NewSpringer you have heard this phrase once or twice...or a billion times. That is because it is not just a cool catch phrase. It's truth. I know many people have written me since Sunday thanking me for the message of hope I brought, but all I could think about while I was standing on that stage was how much hope I was receiving from the NewSpring family. Resonate Church and my family are privileged to walk side-by-side with a group of South Carolinians who really do believe the empty tomb proves to us The Best is Yet to Come. When I’m around NewSpringers I "catch" that hope because the message and their spirit is contagious. NewSpring, while you think I breathed life into you on Sunday, what you need to know is you breathed just as much life (if not more) into me. Thank you, NewSpring Church!!

I kept thinking Sunday, “Amanda would be having so much fun right now sitting in these services and experiencing what God is doing through her story.” That thought continually set in a sobering reality of the journey Weston and I are walking into as we move forward. But as quickly as that thought led me down the path of sadness and frustration that she was missing it, the Lord whispered to my soul, “She’s not missing it, Davey. She has the best seat in the house for this one."

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