Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April Update

Dear Prayer Team, Thank you so much for continuing to lift us up in your prayers. This journey has been nothing like we had pictured, but we would not change anything as Jesus is powerfully at work within us and around us.  This past month God gave us many things so I will get right to it. 

First, as many of you know, we had a terrible scare with our daughter Elora. She has been sick, but it has been very manigible. Then just over two weeks ago she seemed to be getting better as she woke up chipper and without a fever. Stacy called me in the mid day concerned about her color and thinking she looked a little blue, she called me five minutes later even more concerned and while on the phone she yelled "she is turning blue and she is having a seizure, I'm calling 911." As you can imagine these words sent many thoughts racing through my brain. As I rushed home I made a few calls and it was in this time I thought my little baby girl might be dying. By the time I got home the ambulance had left and said she was stable, but that we needed to get her to a doctor. Of course we left immediately and on our way she had another seizure and then basically went catatonic. It was a few of the scariest hours of my life. In this time Jesus showed us so much love through the Church we are helping to launch, New City Church, as so many were praying as soon as they heard of our need. Many also wrote to ask if they could do anything, to let us know that they were there...the love was so wonderfully overwhelming. By the time the doctor got to Elora she was back to her normal self and we were told that this is all fairly normal when a fever spikes very suddenly to a high degree in a child, but after all the emotions we felt in this short time it was anything but normal for us. We felt we had been given a gift, a realization of how much we love our girls and what a precious gift they are from God. When I went out into the lobby two of my good friends who are also our pastors were there waiting for me, they tracked us down even though no one new what hospital we were at, and suddenly I realized we were not alone. Jesus has provided a family that has stood with us from the second we arrived and we are so greatful for them. They could have seen us as a threat, but instead Jesus has called us to love each other and join together in seeking to transformthe city of Oshkosh. It has shown me so clearly what the church can be when we put ourselves out of the way and put Jesus first.

God has also been stirring us in our priorities and what we need to make margin for in our lives. There are things that Jesus has called us too, and because our time is very full we have to be very intentional to be part of the work that Jesus is having us take part in. Within this vein Jesus has been teaching us more about who he has created us to be and how we are to function best that we might live in his joy. This is stretching us both in different ways, but mainly it is stretching us to both take action and to be patient and wait on God's timing. 

One of the things that God has given me a passion for, and that he has affirmed through many people I greatly respect that he has gifted me in, is counseling people in their brokenness and helping them to find healing in Jesus. Recently God has placed several people in my life who I have been able to counsel in different areas and it is so exciting to see Jesus setting people free from the lies that satan would bind them with. It's crazy because before moving to WI. I was seeking out people to counsel and offering my services freely and could find almost no one. Now I am just seeking Jesus and loving people and he is sending me the broken. We are praying that Jesus would grow this ministry and that many would find freedom in Christ. 

There are other areas where Jesus is at work, but for now, know that your prayers and support are so appreciated. Jesus is doing things in and through us so much greater than we can accomplish on our own. We find ourselves clinging tight to him because we know we can't do it on our own. 

As you pray for us please continue to pray over our home and that we can make it into a Gospel centered home where It can be used for many kingdom purposes. It needs work, and slow but sure we are seeing improvement. Please also pray as we are seeking Jesus will in my work and being more present in the city of Oshkosh and in the work he has called us too. Please pray for Elora's full healing has she is still sick on and off seemingly every few days. Pray for those God has me counseling and mentoring that the truth of the Gospel would take deep root in their lives and that they would live in  the freedom Christ has provided. Please also pray for wisdom in parenting our daughter, pray the Gospel would make deeper inroads into her heart and that she would be set free from a judgemental religious heart she can have at times. We also still have the heart to foster and adopt, but we are not there yet in our house, but we know in Jesus' timing he will grow our family more. We love you all and thank you for your prayers, Jeremiah McDuffie

Monday, March 10, 2014

My Message from New City Church - Colosians 1:21-23

If you would like to listen to the message that I preached at New City Church this past Sunday, March 9 this is where you can find the link...

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Prayer Letter February 2014

Dear Prayer Team, 

I am sorry for the delay in communication. I am consistently amazed at how God is moving and stirring in our midst and so much has happened that it is hard to know where to begin and what all to share. 

Last November I shared that we were looking for a second car because of the rough winters and my work being about 20-30 minutes from home depending on the weather. We did not want to take out an interest loan for this car, but needed to make payments. Days after asking you all to pray we had the car. It has been such a huge blessing to us and we are making payments to a private owner. The same week we got the car it became to cold for Stacy to be walking Aurora to school with the baby. All I can say is God can...

In the course of moving to Oshkosh God spoke clearly that we were to come to this city. God has confirmed this even more so in our hearts with each passing day, we know we belong here and that Jesus has placed us here to minister to this city. As we have been in the city God has bonded us ever closer to the church plant we have connected to, New City Church, and we are truly of one heart and mind. We consider it an honor to plant with them here in Oshkosh and to be a part of all that Jesus is doing in and through them. As the Lord has connected us to New City he has also allowed another relationship to fade away. When we moved to Oshkosh we were developing a relationship with the Christian and Missionary Alliance to plant a church in the city. For whatever reason this relationship has not flourished and the possibility of further partnership was ended this past week. I wish I could give you an explanation for this news, but truthfully, I do not have an answer. In the past, this news might have shaken our faith. However, we are so sure of our calling to this city and in the God who called us here that we can truly say we have peace about the sittuation. 

Of course this leaves the question of planting a church. My answer would be that we are. We are planting New City Church. We are involved involved in many different aspects within the Church including: Missional communities, prayer, greeting, set up and tear down, preaching, children's ministry, etc. Jesus is moving mightily through this plant and we are humbled to be a part of what he is doing. We are seeing those who are far from God begin to join us in both Missional communities and Sunday morning services, addictions are being broken, the broken are finding healing, and the lost are being found, praise be to Jesus our King.

As I come to a close I want to address what this means for us and for those of you who have committed to us. With the parterniship not working out with the CMA we do not have nearly enough funds to plant on our own, but since Jesus has made it clear to us that we are to be part of planting New City Church this is not a problem. For those who have given financially I want to personally assure you that your money is being well stewarded. It is because of so many of you that we have been able to get to Oshkosh and walk this faith journey and for that we are so very grateful. Additionally, any support that is currently raised or that will continue to be given is being set aside for the time when God calls me out of the market place into full-time vocational ministry as we believe God is not nearly done with our church planting journey in Oshkosh. If you do feel led to continue to give at this time, please do not send the gifts to the CMA, but to the address below.

I thank you all for your continued prayers for our family and the city of Oshkosh. 

Prayer Request
As most of you know to support our family I am currently managing an Arby's, it is my tent making if you will. Although it has provided opportunity to be on mission in the work place, Stacy and I both know that it is not Jesus' ultimate call on my life. With that said, Jesus has used it to provide for us and for that we are very grateful. However, we are seeking that I would work within the city of Oshkosh and ask that you join us in that prayer. 
Additionally, please be in prayer as we continue to foster relationship with New City Church for its welfare and that Jesus will continue to unite us.
Pray for us as we have had some situations with our daughter Aurora that have taken their toll on us.
Please be in prayer about supporting us as The Lord prepares the time when we take next steps in moving out of the market place.
When moving we borrowed several trucks. One of these trucks had a custom paint job and someone accidentally swung the trailer it was pulling into its side. Because of the custom paint it is $3,000 in damage, please pray for supernatural provision in this area.
Lastly, pray that we would get the next stage of our house finished, we have dreams of using our homes for the Gospel and it needs some work to make this dreams become a reality.

Our Address: 
Jeremiah McDuffie
1625 Georgia St. 
Oshkosh, WI. 54902

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Letter 2013

Dear Friends, What an incredible year. We have seen King Jesus do so many amazing things in our lives this year it is hard to know what to share and what to leave out. With that said, we will cut out the witty intro and dive right in.

After graduating from college in December, 2012 many transitions happened all at once. After much prayer, and a nine and half year wait we welcomed our second child into the world, Elora Grace. She is completely amazing and beautiful. Recovery was hard for Stacy as she had to have another c-section, but she was up and running around in no time. We had decided she would stay home with the baby so this was a big transition for her. 

January was also when I started working part-time for Home Depot. This job was very short lived as it was a 30 min drive at 3 AM and I almost died, literally, like every day. After this, I took a part-time job with Subway and McDonalds. It was a frustrating time, but we were grateful for Gods gracious provision. I also began serving Hopewell Presybterian Church in January as an interim pastor. Serving Hopewell was one of the highlights of the year and we were so blessed to be part of this church, even if for a short time.

2013 was also the year of the move. We lived at 5 addresses this year, no thats not a typo, I meant to write 5. In fact, if I ever decide to call it quits as a pastor I know I could be a professional mover, maybe even run my own business...LOL. I'm still not sure if God was trying to teach us something through all of those addresses, but we defiantly hit that point where we felt we couldn't go on. We had to move from the college in Toccoa, and then we moved to WI, but that's getting ahead of the story. 

In July of 2012 I started putting out resumes out to churches that were looking for pastors. Although we received some offers the right fit just did not present itself. Rather then jump into the wrong sittuation we decided to wait and see where Jesus would lead us. It was also during this season that we began to read The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. The book rocked our prayer life and we began to pray in new and radical ways. It was during this time when the Spirit led us to forsake everything and embrace him and pack up and move to Oshkosh, WI to start a church. This is an amazing story about Jesus moving in miraculous ways and if you would like to read it let me know and I will send it to you as I already have it in letter form. Jesus spoke so clearly though that we knew we had to go. Seeing people give to help us get to Oshkosh was so humbling as their gifts said, we believe your supposed to go too. 

When we moved to Oshkosh we did not have a job, a house, or anything lined up. We had one connection in WI and a small budding connection in Oshkosh. We just knew we had to go, and that we were supposed to go now. After living in a hotel for two days we were invited to a Missional community, a group of people living intentionally on mission for Jesus, for a local church plant called New City Church. Before the night was over we had a place to live for a few weeks and a place to store all of our stuff for as long as needed, and we did not ask anyone. This church has been an amazing blessing to us and we are so grateful to God for them. We now had a place to live temporarily, but no way to pay rent. Within eight days of moving I was hired as an assistant manager with Arby's and the training went so well that they promoted me to store manager before I was even finished with training. We then found a month to month renting sittuation, which everyone said did not exist in Oshkosh, until we bought a home in November of this year. Even this was a miracle as we were given a grant to make the down payment on our house and pay all of the closing costs that were left to us. 

Stacy and I also celebrated 10 years of marriage this year. It was awesome as we got to go to Laguna Hills, CA for free for training in starting churches for our anniversary. Of course we made sure we had free time to celebrate! We had a wonderful time remenicing about all Jesus has done in our marriage and how he pulled us from the depths of despair just a few short years ago.

On the church planting front we are in bit of a holding pattern until the new year. We have some logistical things to work out, but in the mean time we have been settling into and getting to know Oshkosh. God has truly settled our hearts here in a supernatural way as we all love the city and have a deep sense of belonging here. 

I cannot leave the letter without mentioning our daughter Aurora. She is amazing, but we have struggled with her some this year. She is strong willed and a natural leader and we pray that God uses this to do great things for the Kingdom. 

As I come to a close we do not know what 2014 has in store for us, but we are on this journey with Jesus. So whatever this year brings we know that as my friend Jon says, "God's got this."

Merry Christmas, The McDuffie's

November Prayer Letter

Dear Prayer Team, I am completely blown away that it has been a month since I last wrote. The graciousness of our Heavenly Father that is upon us is overwhelming as we seek to plant a King and kingdom oriented Churches in Oshkosh, WI. Much has happened this month so let's dive right in.

As most of you know, I have been training as an assistant manager at Arby's. The training program involved long hrs coupled with a long drive and it was very wearing. As the program came to a close I was assigned to the Oshkosh store which we were so grateful for. Four days into being at the Oshkosh store I was offered a store manager position within the company at the edge of town. I was blown away. After praying and talking with Stacy we decided that I would take the position if they would come up in pay. Although my district manager said she did not think they could do the number I asked for, I asked her to pursue it anyway, and it was approved. Not only has the ability to provide for our family improved, but I also no longer have to close the store and it does not require any more hrs than the assistant position. Thsi will of course open up evenings for family and laying the ground work for planting a church in Oshkosh. The position has also given me a platform where I have been able to share the faith with the employees. We are very excited to see what Jesus will do in this next season with this position. I do not know how long God will have me at Arby's, but it is clear he is moving while I am there.

When we moved to Oshkosh we both knew God was burdening our hearts to buy a home even though we had no idea how we would go about this in this stage of our lives. We just knew God wanted us to plant ourselves firmly within the city. Although God closed the door on the house we have been praying over, he has given us a home. We our scheduled to close Nov. 22 and it has been a miracle. We knew that God wanted us to open our home for the sake of the Gospel and we were looking for a home with the space to accomplish this. To be honest everything was out of our budget that was of any size. Not only did God give us a home right within our budget, but it has a ton of Gospel opportunity. The last thing we needed was a down payment. In the process of looking for a home we found a charity grant program that we applied for and we are being given our down payment. I am continuously blown away by what Jesus can do when we walk faithfully and get out of the way.

On a different front, God is doing something uniquely wonderful and beautiful in our relationship with New City Church, the church plant we have been asking prayer for. They have shown us so much kindness and favor. In the book of John, just before Jesus goes to the cross, Jesus prays for his people to be one so that the world may know that we are his. This is what God is stirring with New City. We have gone out inviting people to attend New City, have prayed and continue to pray for God's favor on their ministry, and have sweet fellowship with them. In a similar manner they have sought our good and Gods favor on us, even to the point of bringing us up on stage and publicly praying for us and the ministry God would have us take part in here in Oshkosh. I don't know what God is ultimately going to be doing through this relationship he is building, but I do know that the King and his kingdom are shining brighter than any one man or church. No turf wars are going on, but instead we are just trying to love each other well and be gracious to one another as Jesus has done for us.

The last thing I would share is where we are at in the journey. With October over, we still have not had a date set for the final stage of our church planting assessment. It is very possible with the holidays coming that it is delayed until the New Year. There is a time where I would have found this very frustrating, but I know Jesus is sovereign in our situation and we can honestly say that we are not worried at all. In the mean time, God has been stirring our hearts for the city of Oshkosh in some specific areas. One of the ways Jesus is stirring us is to have Missional communities within the local pubs here in Oshkosh. This is not to be cool, hip, or trendy, but simply to engage people where they are at. In WI the pub is the community center, it is where people connect, meet their friends, and go for fun. Jesus engaged people where they were at and we believe this is what he would have us do also. 

On a different front, God has burned in me the need for sound Biblical counsel in the lives of his people and in the world in general. Beggining in college with several professors The Lord has affirmed through many people that he has gifted me in this way and we know he would have me use this gift for his glory. We are not sure how God is going to be using this within Oshkosh, but he has recently placed a couple people in our lives who have a similar passion for counseling and it is clear God is stirring in this way. We are praying over how God would use this ministry within Oshkosh. 

The third thing God has been stirring in our hearts for sometime is to be part of foster care and adoption, and the with almost any city, the need is clear. God is not just stirring us for the children, but for the parents, that we might lead them to The Lord so that they can learn what it is to be Godly parents and be able to bring their children home. However, we are aware that many children are not able to go home and because God has been gracious enough to adopt us into his family we believe he would have us open up our lives and unconditionally love the orphans of the world. All of this is so much bigger than us, but we know Jesus is leading in this manner and where God guides he also provides. So we are continuing to walk by faith day by day.

As I come to a close I ask for you to pray over a few things...

First pray, over Missional communities in the pubs. Pray we would know where to start and for Gods favor with pub owners, and that many would come to the faith, and that we would grow leaders from this ministry.

Please also be in prayer for us as we seek to close on the house, paint all the rooms on the inside, getting settled, and all the things that go into an endeavor like this. 

Also please be in prayer over how God would have us use counseling within Oshkosh and what this would look like.

Pray over us beginning the journey into foster care and adoption and that this would become an extension on what the church is doing, not just what the pastor is doing.

Please continue to pray for New City and Gods favor on them. Pray we would be clear on how to partner and engage with each other and that we would continue to recklessly love each other. We have been dreaming kingdom dreams together and God has more here than I think we can currently imagine.

Pray that we would not lack in funding to minister to the city. Pray that we can establish full funding for the church plant. We have a key partner in this process lined up that is waiting for our assessment to be completed, but we need an additional church and individual partners.

Pray that we can get 100 people to commit to giving $10 a month for a one or two year commitment. This would be a huge step in getting us to the point of fully funding the work that Jesus has set before us. If you feel led to give to support please send your gift to:

WGLD 

W6107 Aerotech Drive

Appleton, WI 54914

Please make checks out to WGLD and be sure to memo line the gift to McDuffie Church Plant. (These gifts are tax deductible).

Pray that God would direct us to the right people to establish a core group and for men to train up to be leaders.

Pray that we would have families and churches lined up to come and serve on missions trips in the summer and fall of 2014.

Pray for an intern or two to commit for at least a summer, but preferably at least a year.

Pray that some would sacrifice and move to Oshkosh for the sake of the gospel and the kingdom to be part of planting a church in this city.

Lastly, please continue to pray for our family. It is easy to get so busy serving God that you lose sight of Jesus. Pray that Jesus would be the center, the very essence of everything we do.

We love you all and thanks for praying...it means so much.

May the grace of King Jesus be upon each of you, The McDuffie's