Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Tribute to My Husband the Pastor

Today was the last Sunday that David led NorthStar church as their worship pastor. 
It’s the last Sunday that David Vogel will be my worship pastor. 
It was an incredible morning for all of us as he passed on the torch on to his younger brother, Kemper. We are so excited to see Kemper and Arielle carry on the work that’s been done here and are looking forward to seeing what’s ahead for us. Needless to say, I have had a lot of emotions leading up to today, but I am confident as I type this that this next step is what God wants for us. So on this last day of being married to a worship pastor, I wanted to pay tribute to the work I’ve seen my husband do here and how that will equip him for our next assignment!
Ever since he was a little boy, David has been called out. I was reading about King David in the bible this week. It says that after he was anointed by Samuel, “from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon [him].” ~1 Sam 16:13
I believe this to be true of my David as well. He has led the people of NorthStar in worship for almost ten years and the Spirit of the Lord has most definitely been in our midst. He has led our church and our family well.
When I first met David I knew he was the one for me. He loved the Lord so much, and he was different than anyone I had ever met. He was clearly set apart, and he has taught me so much about worship and what it means to live a life surrendered to God.
People don’t always understand what all David’s job has entailed as a worship pastor. No he doesn’t just pick out his favorite songs. No he doesn’t just work on Sunday mornings. No he does not play an organ or conduct a choir. One time we met a young couple on vacation who had just gotten married. We exchanged small talk and they asked what we did for a living. I told the wife that my husband was the worship pastor at our church and her response was, “aw he sings songs. That’s so cute.” Yes, he is cute, but I don’t think you fully understand what my husband does! Some people may just think that the only requirement for being a worship pastor is that you are a talented musician. David is an incredible musician, one of the best I know. Being a musician requires practice and hard work and talent. David has all of those things. Being a musician would be enough to keep him occupied and make him a successful person. But on top of being a musician, he is a pastor.

The Lord allowed David to establish a team of amazing worshipers to surround him on Sunday mornings on stage. I had never before experienced the Holy Spirit in worship like I did at Northstar and so much of that is due to the amazing team that is in place. I believe one of the reasons this team is so amazing is because David is such a good leader of people. He inspires others to serve faithfully and communicates clearly the vision for the ministry. He has invested deeply in the lives of people on his worship team. They worked together and David always made sure the heart behind the music was to give glory to God.
He not only has shaped the worship that people participate in on Sunday morning, he helped shape personal worship as well. Several times through my cancer journey, I found myself in low places. Places where I doubted and questioned God’s will for my life. What do you do when you find yourself in a place like that? You turn to scripture and song. Or at least I did. There were times when I just needed to worship. I needed to sing to God. What should I sing? The songs that came to my heart are the ones I sang on Sunday mornings with my church family. That’s why David doesn’t just put any worship song on the set list that is recommended or popular. I can give you the inside scoop and tell you that each song that has been introduced on Sunday morning at NorthStar as been prayed over and carefully chosen. It has been such an awesome thing to watch.

 David has been an amazing leader in our life group as well. He is someone that walks deeply with people and truly wants what’s best for everyone in his life. He doesn’t see members at NorthStar as “another face in the crowd” he cares about each person that is a part of his church. I could go on and on about how awesome he is, but I think you get the picture. David is gifted as a pastor, and it’s time to step out on faith and continue to develop these skills.
As we walk forward and step into a new calling, these God-given gifts of leadership and shepherding will serve him well. I’m so excited to see how God uses him to impact the people at Two Cities Church. He invests deeply and loves well. He may not be my worship pastor anymore, but I believe God has prepared him over the last 10 years to become the best Executive Pastor around! Get ready Winston-Salem, the Vogels are coming for you!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Vogel Lifegroup

6 and a half years ago David and I were sitting around a fire pit with our friends Andy and Caitlin talking about life. We were just two, young dating couples talking about God and the church and how important community is. It was that night that David and Andy decided to start a life group together., and that’s when our life group was born. As we prepare to leave Tennessee, one of the hardest parts is leaving our life group because it’s been such a special group of people. The people are amazing, but the way that we’ve all stuck together through thick and thin has been so special. The presence of the Lord has truly been in our midst and left us changed.

People have come in and gone out, but each one has been an important part. We have walked through engagements, weddings, babies, loss of family members, cancer, sickness, job hunts, job achievements, foster care, adoption, infertility, pool parties, cookouts, Bachelor parties, and so much more! We’ve watched people graduate and move away. We’ve watched some of those people move back and rejoin the group. We’ve sat in hospital waiting rooms together and set up meal calendars and thrown baby showers. We’ve invited new people in to the point where we got so big that we had to split into two groups, but really we are still just one group at heart. 

We’ve been through so much together. Each time we meet, we talk about Jesus and study the word and worship. We fellowship and eat yummy snacks and talk about the good things and the hard things. We’ve prayed together and cried together and Lord knows we have laughed together! Seriously, these people have been our family. We have done LIFE together. 

There is absolutely no way I could ever express how much I love and appreciate all 30 something people that have been a part of the Vogel life group. David and I don’t have biological family that lives here in Knoxville and you all have been just that for us…family. We are brothers and sisters and are aunts and uncles to each other’s children and I literally can’t imagine my life without each one of you in it. Thank you for being vulnerable and opening up your lives to us. We are trusting the Lord to provide an amazing new community for us in Winston-Salem but know that we could never replace you all in our hearts. Our hearts will just have to get bigger!
 My prayer for this group as we make our way to North Carolina:
"23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." ~ Hebrews 10:25

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Stepping Out

I’ve always been fascinated with the story of Abraham. God shows us His faithfulness and a picture of His love through all aspects of Abraham’s life. One of the first glimpses we get into Abraham is his willingness to go. The Lord tells him to leave his home and his country and his extended family and go to the place He will show him.
In a lot of ways David and I feel like Abraham and Sarah must have felt. God has asked us to go. After a decade of leading people in worship at Northstar Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, God has called David to pursue a new ministry opportunity. He has asked us to leave a place that we love and are comfortable and step out into the unknown.
About 6 months ago, we started praying about the possibility of planting a church with David’s lifelong friend, Kyle Mercer. Kyle was planting a church through the Summit network in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Would David be his executive pastor? It took us many months, many conversations, much prayer, and many tears to answer that question!
There have been many times when I’ve read stories in scripture about God calling people to go and I thought, “how could they say no? God told you directly to do something, How could you even question it?” But now I know it’s not that simple! We desperately sought the Father’s heart for us. We wanted to make sure this was what God wanted. Even with a clear call from the Lord, I never realized how hard it can be to say yes sometimes!
We grieved the thought of leaving our Northstar family. You see Northstar isn’t just a place where we are employed. It’s not just the place we attend church on the weekends. Northstar is home to us. Northstar is family to us. We’ve grown up here in a lot of ways. We have lived here for our entire marriage. We have experienced the true meaning of the body of Christ here. From our wedding shower over at the old campus on Carmichael Road to watching the new worship center go up piece by piece to gathering for a prayer service when my life was on the line to celebrating when I finally reached remission! David has grown so much as a leader and shepherd here. We have made lifelong friends here. Our friends have had many babies (yes many!) in the past 6 years that we love like our own! We have walked through the refining fire that was cancer and our Northstar family has walked right along side of us. They have mourned with us when it was time to mourn and rejoiced with us when it was time to rejoice. For all of this we are so grateful!
How can we leave this place? I have had dreams of starting a family here and continuing to do life with my amazing friends here, but the Lord has called us out. We are sure of it. Just as sure as God told Abraham to go to the place he would show him, I feel that God has asked us to do the same thing. I’m sure Abraham and Sarah had their share of excitement and fear, but God was faithful to walk with them.
We know that we are not Abraham and Sarah, but we are trusting him to faithfully walk with us as we journey out. We know He will be faithful to provide friends for us once again. We know He will be faithful to allow our ministry to grow. We know He will be faithful to provide for our needs. He always does!
We are excited to see where God will take us in this next chapter, but we are sad to leave our home. A lesson my sweet friend taught me is that just because God calls you to something, doesn’t mean it will always be easy! We know the journey ahead won’t necessarily be easy. I don’t want to say goodbye to this place and these people I love, but I know God has a purpose for us in North Carolina!
To our dear friends here at Northstar, know that we love and appreciate all that you have done for us and taught us. We are taking the Northstar heart with us as we go and we pray that God would use us to reach lost people in Winston-Salem and show them the same love that you have shown us. We will miss you terribly and love you always. Northstar will always be home to us!