Sunday, April 26, 2009

baptism in the first degree...

or maybe I just got my first degree in baptism? Who knows. But, I do know this has been an awesome day! It's late, so I'm going to keep this short and let the pictures tell most of the story. Today was the first baptism service of my pastoral career...I'm not sure I've ever been so humbled and excited at the same time (outside of our wedding). To be a part of such a sacred movement of the Lord where all three Holy Persons of the Trinity are present and active is simply overwhelming. The church body blew me away as well, coming around this young man to celebrate the work of God in his life. Praise God for a love that is always, ALWAYS, greater than sin! The old is gone and the new has come! Take a look....

Friday, April 03, 2009

No April Fools...

April 1, 2009: Me working at my ever cool pizza delivery job...
Coming in from a delivery my manager asks perhaps the strangest question I've ever been asked..."you don't have a kid in Burlington do you?" Um, what? "you don't have a kid in Burlington do you?" Well, I don't...Why? "I didn't think so." he said. "I got a letter from Alamance County Child Support wanting to know how many hours you work and how much money you make (hilarious in and of itself).... Waiting for the April fools, I stood staring... Nope, nothing... the real deal... They have my name & social security number... not good. My embarrassment was matched only by my wife's patience and humor.
April 2, 2009: Phone call to Child Support Agency
First question after getting my name - "What's the mother's name in the case?" "That's a really good question!" - maybe not the best response given the context??? After a transfer to someone else I get to explain the situation and find out that this has been referred by a county social worker who has to first be contacted to get more information... But I'm assured there's no amount due, this letter was just an initial inquiry. -Waiting the rest of the day to hear back!
April 3, 2009: You've only lived in NC 8 months, what have you done?
My "case worker" calls and asks if I recognize the name...which I'll leave out because I can't spell it... but definitely not a name I'd ever heard before. She was no doubt surprised to learn of the short time we've lived in NC... Apparently (or not so) there is another Justin Simmons in NC that shares my birthday. Seriously, is that possible?? When they put in the name and dob it searches all the state databases and that's where I came in the picture... (no where before that, I positively guarantee!) From the DMV database they got my social. While our dob and first and last names are shared, it appears I still have some uniquity - my middle name (thanks mom).

I will be receiving a letter in the mail as documentation of being cleared from this whole mess. Oh, and I found out they attempted to send a letter to the Dole Campaign - I'm glad this didn't happen 5 months earlier...I can only imagine the headlines :/ I have to say the people at the Alamance County Child Support office have been very easy and even pleasant to work with.

While all of this has been a bit comical, embarrassing and maybe more than a bit frustrating, I'm reminded that there is a story. There are people involved...broken relationships, hurt, selfishness, overwhelming pain, and a young child without a dad. My heart breaks for the child. In all of the messyness of life and though all the poor decisions, I believe beyond all else there there is the hope of redemption. Living, breathing, people in need of LOVE.
Lord open our eyes to the opportunities to show LOVE.