So, I just recently realized that I left without saying goodbye. I’m no longer blogging on this blog anymore. I’ve moved over to Just Call Me Joe. So, if you’d like to follow my inconsistent blogging, head over there.

The Super Bowl

The other day I heard Mike Tomlin (Steelers’ head coach) on the radio talking about how his team is preparing for the Super Bowl and he said that they weren’t preparing any differently than any other game.
What?! Give me a break. I know that he’s supposed to make people (especially the team execs) think that they always prepare for a game to the fullest extent. But come on…this is the Super Bowl! This is a game, a setting, and a prize like none other. Any coach that says they aren’t preparing for that game any differently is either lying or just trying to make some sound bite for ESPN radio.

By the way…Go Packers!!

Downward Mobility

Beth, Brennen, and I have been attending Area10 Faith Community. Recently their lead pastor, Chris Barras, has been doing a series called Downward Mobility. It’s a really great series about living counter-cultural by seeking a life that uses our authority, time, stuff, and influence for God and not for our own advancement. Each of the messages have been very timely for me as I seek out another career/ministry location.

Today’s message on influence was great mostly because it focused on one of my favorite events of Jesus’ life…when he washed his disciples’ feet. 2 things in the John 13 account of it really jump out at me…

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal…and began to wash his disciples’ feet

I love the fact that Jesus knew exactly who he was (is) and why God sent him there and what he was capable of, etc…and with that in mind, he just gets up and does the job of a servant. He didn’t stop and think, “I wonder what kind of act I could do to show my humility and love for these guys.” He just did it because that’s who he was and that’s who I want to be. I don’t want to have to think about it. I just want it to happen. Not that I am anything near what Jesus was (is) but I still want to serve like he served.

(He) began to wash his disciples’ feet

This isn’t as much of a life lesson for me but when I read this I started to wonder what today’s version of “washing feet” is.  I’ve been to events where there has been foot-washing and to be totally honest it was more awkward than effective for me. I was more focused on “ok, what’s everyone thinking”…”how does this make everyone feel” than I was about how awesome and humbling it is. So, I wonder what is today’s version of foot-washing? Maybe it’s not even one particular thing. Maybe it’s different for each person. Maybe it’s different each day or different in each situation. Whatever it is, I want to find it and that’s how I want to spend my time. But with the first part of this entry in mind, I don’t want to stop and think about doing it, I just want that to be who I am and how I live.

What are your thoughts about this passage in John 13. Read it and leave a comment below.

A Long Overdue Update

Well, it has been waaaaay too long since I did my last update. I haven’t been the most faithful with blogging lately. Since I’ve started using Twitter I haven’t don’t it as much. But since I haven’t blogged in a while, I figured I’d catch my friends up on what’s going on lately.

Ministry Search
This is always the first thing I get asked about whenever friends or family see me. The short answer is we are in the waiting phase. I’ve sent resumes to a few places and had a few talks with a few places. The usual next question is, “Where are those places.” We aren’t telling too many people where those possibilities are. We aren’t trying to be jerks about it. We just don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up about us leaving or staying or about any particular opportunities. We’ve got some strong prayer warriors that we’ve been sharing specifics with and for the rest, we just ask that you guys keep praying that God will be very clear with His direction.

Substitute Teaching
Since I’m not working right now, I wanted to find some kind of part-time work to help bring in some income and also help me keep busy. (I get cranky when I sit around too much!) So, I’ve applied to substitute teach in Hanover County. I’ll hear back in a couple weeks. The crazy thing is that I had to get a TB test and it revealed that I had been exposed to TB. That means I don’t have the disease but I came across someone who did. So, I have to take some meds for 9 months! I also had to have some blood work done to make sure it doesn’t effect my liver but that revealed that I have some irregular liver activity! So, I go for an ultrasound tomorrow to find out what the deal is with that. More than likely, I’ll have to clean up my diet and do some more running.

Working Out/Running
I typically slack off from running after a big race like the half-marathon back in November. But this time I’ve put on a little bit of weight. I also started a gym membership back in the Fall that I haven’t been keeping up with. So, I decided to get back into it. Unfortunately, I typically don’t do a good job of doing both. It seems like when I’m doing good with working out, I don’t run much and vice-versa. So, with the free time I have right now, I’m trying to do both!

Lastly, with all the free time I have now, I’ve had the blessing of spending a lot more time with my family. Ministry is not always a family-friendly job so this is a blessing. Just about everyday I spend the mornings with just Brennen. Watching cartoons and feeding him. (gotta love oatmeal!) It’s also been good for Beth to have me around. This time of year brings an increased amount of work and so I typically take care of the B Man while she’s working. The Wiggles and The Mighty Jungle have become my favorite shows to watch with him. 🙂

Selling Our House
Lastly, we’re selling our house. If you know anyone looking for a small house, perfect for a couple or small family, tell them to let me know!! Even though we don’t know where we’ll end up next, there’s a really good chance we won’t be staying in Mechanicsville. So, with the housing market the way it is, we decided to get our house out there as soon as possible. That means I’ve been working hard on touching up paint, cleaning, and replacing things to put my house in its best shape to sell.

So, that’s what’s going on with me lately. I’ll try to do better with updating. Most of our news and quick updates will be on Twitter/Facebook. Leave me a comment or shoot me a message on FB and let me know how things are going with all of you!!

NY Phone Pics (so far)













Here’s some of the stuff we’ve seen so far. Tomorrow we’re heading Ground Zero and The Statue of Liberty. I’ll upload more pics from the camera when we get back.

Today, the following letter was published in Fairmount’s weekly newsletter, The Forecaster.

Fairmount Family,
When we shared my letter of resignation with you all back in early October, the end of December seemed so far off and yet here it is. These 3 short months have flown by just like the last 8+ years. As I type this letter I truly struggle to come up with the words of love, and gratitude that are in my heart for Fairmount. I’ve had the privilege to walk alongside all of you through some amazing experiences; things like the addition of the Family Life Center, the start of the contemporary service, the transition of one senior minister to the next, even the beginning phases of yet another expansion project, and much more. I’ve also learned more than any Bible College degree could ever teach me through working with some talented and Spirit-filled people (and I’m not just talking about ministerial staff).
I think the thing that my family and I will miss the most about Fairmount is the people. The families that we’ve been able to connect with on such a deep personal level and the staff that have become, in many ways, like family to us, will be the things that will fill our memories for a long time. You all loved me as a young guy right out of college, you embraced Beth like she had always been a part of this family, and you love Brennen like he’s your own child.
The question that we’ve been asked the most is, “What’s next?” The simple answer is we haven’t decided yet. Beth and I have committed ourselves to slowly and intentionally follow God’s leading step by step through this transition. As we have told many of you, God has been faithful to us in the past and we are confident that He will continue to be faithful each and every day.
We would love to stay connected with you all. Many of you are friends with us on Facebook and this will be a great communication tool for us in the coming years. You can also feel free to email me at bethshusband@gmail.com and you can also follow updates on our lives through my blog, http://www.bethshusband.wordpress.com.
We look forward to watching the awesome things that God is going to do through Fairmount and we pray that He will continue to bless all of you.

With all of our love,

Joe, Beth, & Brennen Thompson

Christmas Funnies

My mom sent me a few funny Christmas pics and greeting cards this morning. Thought I’d share some of my favorites…

My Last Week

Well, today began my last week here at Fairmount. While I’ll still technically be on staff through the end of the month, this coming Sunday will be my family’s final day with the Fairmount Family. I can’t believe it is here. It seems like forever ago that we made the announcement of our leaving. This week we will be publishing a letter to our congregation in our church’s weekly newsletter. Once it’s been published, I’ll post it on here for others to read.

Leave Fairmount is definitely not going to be an easy thing to do. I love the people, the staff, the vision…Fairmount is home. This week will probably be full of difficult moments but it will also be full of great opportunities to make to lasting memories.

As I sat and prayed through this week this morning, my prayer was that it wouldn’t be about my family and me but that it would be just another opportunity to glorify God. Our final program with Fairmount will be our Christmas Breakaway worship service. I’m really pumped about it. I hope the morning isn’t full of tears but full of worship of God’s awesome gift of His Son.

In the upcoming days I’ll probably have some more posts about my departure and about memories. Thanks to all of you who have called, emailed, Facebook-ed, and shared kind and supportive words. We love you all.

Found on Marko’s blog a really cool retelling of the Christmas event that was made by Derek Tang.
You probably need to click the image so you can zoom in. Remember to start at the bottom and work up.

Holiday Pictures

Ever since Brennen was born, Beth has been on the hunt for deals on pictures. She’s found deals on photos on canvas, she’s found deals on printed photos, and her latest find is Shutterfly’s Christmas promotion. This is a great promotion where Shutterfly asks folks to post a short blog post about their promotion and how they plan to use their FREE 50 HOLIDAY CARDS!!

I don’t even think I know 50 people but we’ll try to find people to send them to. 🙂 I know we’ll send one to my brother all the way out in LA. We’ll send one to my friends Ryan and Jenna, out in the middle of the desert of the Imperial Valley (it sounds a lot cooler than it is). We’ll also send one to family members in MI, FL, IN, and all over VA! This will be a great way to reconnect and share a little Christmas love with family and friends.

So, if you’re looking for a great deal (it is Black Friday!) then hop over to Shutterfly!

Christmas photo card (http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/christmas-photo-cards)
Poster calendars (http://www.shutterfly.com/calendars/wall-calendars)
Birthday invitations (http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/birthday-invitations)