Matt's still alive, but I am paying him tribute.
Not since college have I had to say goodbye to a good friend. Ten years ago I was having those deep conversations with my small group pals, roommates, and close college friends wanting those days to last forever. So here I am in a similar place.
My good friend (in life and in ministry), Matt Nightingale, has been called away from PCC and Redwood City. (To read his words of God's calling click HERE). I wasn't surprised by this as I was able to walk through the journey/ search for God's will with him over the past year-- that ended with his realization that his time at PCC was complete. It's so cool for him, and for us all at PCC to see him walk out in faith and to challenge us now to seek God's will for our lives and church family. That doesn't mean I am not sad, though. Definitely grieving a little--ya know----1st--Denial, then anger, numb, now sad. He sang and led us in his last worship gathering at PCC Sunday. It's surreal. He's always just been "my friend" who happens to be a really amazing singer--both he and his wife Luanne, are seriously better than American Idol. And now that they are leaving, it's hitting how amazing these voices--and people really are. But they are also just ordinary, (in the good way), and Christ-like, suffering through the joys and pains of their own journey of becoming who God created them to be. I love that.
I verbalized this Sunday night at their (one of many) going away party-but you look at this couple and their four kids and think they are this perfect little, Beautiful, Christian Partridge Family. And when you get to know then you find out they are great works in progress just like the rest of us. I loved that about them. Before I was married, I spent so much time over at their house that they gave me a key. It was awesome. I could drop by anytime to grab a snack or say hi. I mooched many dinners off of them. It was there where I found much healing in my own journey. I realized I had fears that I would be incapable of having a good marriage or being a good husband and father. But by their example I say how truly all of us need to rely on God and live in his grace to make it one day at a time. Spending time at their dining room table prepared me for how crazy and fun marriage and parenting could be. I also gained in Matt a great friend. One who I loved hanging out with and sharing common interests. I joked that when Matt came to PCC in my 2nd year there I finally had someone who was like me in the art/creativity thing. Our staff is dominated by lots of sports fans (Football/basketball) which I am not--so we became close! So here I am reflecting in this blog!
On Sunday, we as a church said goodbye to them.
They received a well deserved standing ovation during our Sunday Night worship gathering. Such a cool experience. Just like someday when we receive our rewards in Heaven and all the saints (the great cloud of witnesses) and angels cheer us on.
We as the church prayed over them and their four kids, and after had a time to thank them verbally and present them with some gifts. The best one?--Matt got an iPhone! Something about PCC and Apple products! I love it.
(They were serenaded with Amazing Grace banjo style).
The parties actually continue. We had a staff going away lunch this week, and then a musical open night party at the Little Fox on Thursday April 10th, 7pm (21 and over) that all are invited to come.
The great thing is that Matt and I will get some one and one time before they move away at the end of the month. Pray for them. The crazy, Spirit-led part of the story is they don't have a place to go, yet. They are stepping out in faith just trusting that God will provide.
MATT'S BLOG is www.mattnightingale.blospot.com
Here is his amazing hit, God of all Light (can be found on itunes, too).
The great thing is that just like college, I still have great friendships with some of my pals from ten years ago. I trust that Matt and I will continue on.
Not only can he belt out any tune from Broadway to Chris Tomlin, he dominated on the National Anthem for the 49ers. . This video is worth it just for the commentary of the filmers.