None of us can be fully human on our own. Craig Bartholomew

Love that will cost me something; I might sacrifice so someone might feel loved. Jon Tyson

Is God’s great concern about our prayer life that we ask for too much or too little? C. S. Lewis

I want this to be your story. Presumably God speaking to Landon, a fellow Fellow fella.

To refuse to begin can be an act of great self-neglect. John O’Donohue

Songs are subtle… Like the psalms, they don’t contain principles or messages, exactly, but are witnesses and testimonies and guesswork. David Dark

And I oop. Moments after Jack sealed the deal with his new fiancé.

Spiritual maturity of people is dependent on joyful thanksgiving.

Our state representatives, at least in North Carolina, are being prayed for by name through folks who are concerned about the powers in which God has entrusted human hands with.

If we are not about praying, we are going to labor harder than we are intended to.

I’m not going to try and give a pleasing blog post of what God is doing for me through the Fellows Program in Raleigh. That is a fruitless endeavor. For instance, I recently rediscovered why the Lord did not bless me with a beautiful singing voice, just ask my friends who heard me lead worship this past weekend at New Life Camp. Big yikes, not my strong suit! I want authenticity in myself. Instead, I’ll invite you into the things being heard and spoken in this sweet city, also into processing efforts in my own mind, and the small celebrations along the way. This medium will look different at times, but I hope the snapshots of blessings can serve the world as much as it serves me. The quotes and statements shared above reveal some of the little scribbles I have down in my pocket book I carry around. These are the little blessings I believe Frederick Buechner to be commenting on when he said,”It is as though each day is a treasure hunt and a journal is one way of seeing if you found the treasure that God has hidden for you this day.” I have a hard time spotting the blessings of each day, this is a practice that has done me well over the past years.

Catching up to speed: my own challenge for this time is to avoid speaking about how this year is impacting myself, but be quick to point out how this year is impacting eternity for God. I have spent 23 years thinking entirely of myself. The push is for the awareness of the larger picture within this microscopic image of time and community in Raleigh. I want to learn of the outward love that gives meaning to Jesus’s command to love another as one loves oneself. I hope my narcissistic love of self is not being transferred to the people I care about, and if it is that the good Lord may provide me with proper guidance. I want to be disciplined in the sacrificial love that Jon Tyson spoke of in one of his sermons. God is equipping eleven women and men to be disciple makers in the world, to bear the image of Christ and relish in the joy that comes with seeking the kingdom. God is allowing us to reveal the brokenness to one another to proclaim the need for the light that comes in through the cracks of our lives (thanks Leonard Cohen for the terminology). God is speaking blessings in and through each of us, to one another, the church, the workplace, and the world.

Practical Things: For those interested in Fellows at all, and Raleigh specifically, I will break things down a lil at the end of each report. You only work your job three days a week (I did not know that until I read it on this blog from a year ago), you don’t have to be with everyone 24 hours a day (but you do need to love em), you can let your host families love on you through the blessing of cooked meals, and when you become a Fellow be sure to explore your city (ideally via bicycle). I get to learn something about God from my host family practically every day it seems. I won a 5k race one morning, biked my city in the afternoon, and ended by dancing the night away on the 21st night of September. I’m looking to make this city my own, while pursuing and leaning in on the things God seems to push me toward.

This needs to end.

Austin Spence