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7 Things I Learned While I Rested...

Vicar Adam Moore here to share a few of the things I learned this past fall. Most notably, I came to the very difficult realization that I was so busy chopping proverbial trees in my life, I had neglected to stop to rest…and sharpen my axe.

Sometimes there are harmful things in our lives that we can and should remove: alcohol, drugs, dangerous and unhealthy relationships. These things cloud our mind, steal our money, things that rob us of joy. Yes, there are things that are harmful. Things that we stop (like being an Alabama or Florida fan for instance). But what if the trees, the things that keep us so busy…are all good things?!?

For me, I was working 40-50 hours a week at a full-time job, 20 hours of schoolwork through the seminary, volunteering here at The Point, volunteering with community groups and non-profit boards, attending my kid’s events: football, baseball, basketball, horseback riding, soccer, ice skating, and school plays. This was all good stuff that I was thankful for and really enjoyed. (Okay, work not necessarily every day.) But I had all these things going on, and I just kept chopping wood. Axe in hand, head down. Full speed. “No rest for the weary,” as they say.

I neglected to rest or sharpen my axe.

So last fall I came to a crossroads. I knew something had to give. I couldn’t quit my job and I couldn’t neglect my responsibilities to my family, so I came to the difficult conclusion that I must give up on my call as a Vicar/Pastoral Intern here at The Point. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do…to turn from this thing I knew God had placed on my heart. So, I told my friend, Pastor Adam, that I had to withdraw from classes and stop serving. I had to give up being a Vicar now. I had to give up on the prospect of ever becoming a pastor.

Thankfully, after some rest and some sharpening of the axe, I’m in a far better place. Not only that, I learned a number of things during this process. I'd like to share 7 of those with you today:

1.) We should not be afraid to fail.

“Fail early, fail often, but always fail forward.” -John C. Maxwell (Failing Forward). For many, including myself in the past, “fail” is a dirty four-letter word, we shouldn’t speak of. But last fall I learned I shouldn’t be afraid to fail because…

2.) In failure our faith is formed.

When we trip, stumble, fall short, when success escapes us, this sanctification process takes place. We grow in faith. In failures, hardships, trials, and tribulations, we may be beaten, battered, and broken by life, but we are never abandoned by God. Gazing at the cross we are reminded how deeply God loves us. We are reminded that Jesus too endured trails, tribulations, and pain. Christ knows pain. Christ knows you. He knows who you are and what you are going through.

3.) God is at work in our weakness. 

When we are brought low and made weak, it provides a beautiful opportunity to experience God’s powerful work in our lives. Paul certainly knew pain and hardship. In 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul writes, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Paul was imperfect, but Christ’s power was made perfect in his weakness and therefore Paul boasted of his weakness. He was glad for his weakness, for his struggle, for his pain. Paul wasn’t perfect. BUT… God didn’t ask him or any of us to be perfect.

4.) It’s ok to say “No.” 

Did you know that “no” is a complete sentence? There is no explanation needed for “No.” It’s a response and a sufficient statement all unto itself. “No” will suffice. That’s something that seems foreign to those of us growing up here in the south. We’d rather lie than let someone down. “Sure, I can take that on.” “Yes, sign me up.” “I’ve got plenty of time.” “I’m happy to help.” Our intensions are great, though overflowing is our plate. Since last fall, I’ve taken the chance to sit still by fires. To intentionally go where cell service won’t. I stepped down from non-profit boards. I said “no” …a lot. I went on a four-day spiritual retreat. I was still. I rested. I sharpened my axe.

5.) Our best self is the best thing we can ever offer others. 

If you’ve ever flown on an airplane, as most of us have at some point in our lives, the crew will normally give certain instructions and explanations pre-flight. An attendant will tell you that in the unlikely event of an emergency, you should place the oxygen mask on yourself before attending and helping elderly travelers or small children. Without your own oxygen, you will suffocate. Without taking care of yourself, you are of no help to others. In this life, we need each other.

6.) Stop going it alone, Seek help.

It’s hard to confess our sins and shortcomings. It’s hard to ask for help. I get it. As men especially, we don’t even like stopping to ask

for directions, let alone confessing, “I can’t do this thing alone.” But I’ve learned to swallow my pride and wave my hands when I feel like I’m drowning. I’ve learned to seek out support and encouragement from the community around me. I recently heard the term “valley helpers” when referring to someone who helps someone else who is struggling. Life after all is made up of peaks and valleys, the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Who has been a valley helper in your life? Who needs your help in what may be a present valley in their life? I give thanks to God for his unconditional love and for the valley helpers in my life. Christ promises us in this life we will have troubles. We will stumble, we will fail, we will fall. Despite our work ethic and best intentions, inevitably, we will fall far short of


7.) (Finally) Perfectionism is a pointless poison.

Stop trying to be perfect. There has only been one perfect person who walked on Earth and as we say in East Tennessee, “it ain’t you.” My wife Amber will quickly tell you and I will confess…it isn’t me either. It’s not anyone in this room or anyone watching at home. It’s just Jesus. When we focus on our own effort and works, we deny the need for a Savior. We turn a blind eye to the price that Christ paid on the cross for us. Perfectionism is poison.

When I met with the PAAT this spring to discuss a return to class and to my role as a Vicar here at The Point, Melissa Foster was asking about my schedule and about school. She inquired about the course materials and my grades. Specifically, she asked if I was “struggling in the past with classes.” I told her no, that I loved the course of study. I boastfully shared that I had a 4.0, straight A’s…thank you very much. She paused and said…“yeah, but do you have to get all “As?”

In that one conversation, she gave me permission to put down the cup of poison I had been consuming. I had created the ocean of expectation I was drowning in. God doesn’t require you to be perfect. You are beautiful to Him, even in your brokenness. God doesn’t require perfection. Thanks be to God! What is asked of us, is the one thing we struggle most to do: Confess. Confess your inadequacies and shortcomings, repent of your sin. Fall at the foot of the cross and be wrapped in Christ’s love for you. Place your faith alone, in Christ alone.

In closing, my hope and prayer for you this week, for all of us this week, is that we arrive at a place in humility and candid confession, where we can not only acknowledge our sin, our shortcomings, our weaknesses, and our inadequacies…but begin to see the benefit of them. To see them for what they are - for what my dad recognized in his battle with cancer - an opportunity to grow in faith and be brought closer to God. I pray that you find rest and the opportunity to sharpen your axe, in order to offer the best version of yourself to others. What a gift that is! What a gift to be able to unapologetically say “no’ to things and turn our eyes to the cross. What a gift to be fully aware of our imperfection while giving thanks that perfection isn’t asked of us anyway. In gratitude, let us thank God and give witness to anyone that will listen of His great mercy, grace, and love.

Friends, God loves you more than you can possibly imagine.

PS. I talked a bit about this in my message on 7/9/23. If you missed it, you can still catch it right here

Vicar Adam Moore

A Look Back at 2022...

I am always team "Let's Celebrate What's Happened" before moving on to new things. (Let's be real, I'm usually team "let's celebrate," period!) But I really do think it's good and healthy and encouraging to take a minute and celebrate the good things God has done over the past year. Was 2022 all sunshine & roses? Nooooope. But Paul talks about how the Church is like a body - one body with many different parts - and nothing makes that clearer to me than seeing it all laid out like this. We all played a part in what God did through The Point this year - and that, my friends, is worth celebrating.


  • We got to serve our city by bringing hope & koozies to thousands of Knoxvillians via Brew Fest & Wing Fest
  • We got to consistently serve our immediate neighborhood by picking up trash every Tangible Good Thursday. (Want to join in when it warms up? Text Pastor Adam at 402-681-5708.)
  • We fought human trafficking together by participating in a serve day with Raising a Voiceraising funds via a Poker Night with CCAHT, and hosting a "Light in the Darkness" awareness event right in our own space.
  • Four people were welcomed into the family of God through baptism!
  • We got to worship & foster friendship hundreds of times between Sunday mornings, midweek services, Second Sundays, bonfires, potlucks, parties, and more.
  • We also got to host our first Women's Retreat in five years!
  • Speaking of five, five babies were born & we were able to renovate Pastor Adam's old office into a Mothers' Room!
  • We were able to expand West Fifth Studios so even more artists could have a beautiful, intentional space in which to connect and create
  • We hosted the first Merry Makers Market with West Fifth Studios and were blown away by the amount of people from our community who came to experience a festive evening in the courtyard
  • We got to welcome Baker Marketing to be tenants and share our space with us throughout the week. Between The Point, West Fifth Studios, & Baker Marketing, 211 W Fifth is a flutter of activity more often than not!
  • Connect Groups got to grow & connect in 7+ different neighborhoods around Knoxville.
  • We walked through two different Practices of Jesus together & saw spiritual life shifted & strengthened

If you served, joined, prayed over The Point, brought a potluck dish, painted a wall, handed out a koozie, supported financially, or fill-in-the-blank, thank you. God worked in 2022 and God worked through you.

If you want to play a more hands-on role in 2023, the invitation is wiiiide open! Want to get to know more people at The Point? Connect Groups are starting back up at the end of January and you should totally sign up. Want to get to know those five kiddos who were born this past year? Sign up to serve in KidsPoint! Want to bring some tangible love to people in our Point fam going through hard things? Deanna Farmer can get you plugged into the Care Team, just shoot her an email. Right now, we do actually have a lot of grieving people in our community. I encourage you to pause, here in this moment, and pray some comfort over them!

So what am I looking forward to in 2023? I'm so glad you asked ;)

I'm excited to walk through more practices of Jesus with my Connect Group. The next one is prayer - taking actual steps to make my prayer life more intentional & meaningful just sounds exciting to me. Speaking of sermon series, I don't know that "excited" is the right word, but we're going to spend some weeks in the spring talking about death & loss & lamentations and I just think those are important things to walk through together. I'm also excited to just spend unhurried time with y'all. Whether that's on Sunday mornings or Wednesday potlucks, or an Ice Bears game (oh yeah, you can sign up to join me here!), whether it's getting out & picking up trash or frying up some wings at Wing Fest...

It's just a real sweet thing to get to walk through life together with y'all. Thanks for celebrating 2022 with me. Cheers to what God has in store for 2023. No matter what He has planned, He's still good <3

Emilie Stooksbury

I Learned Something New Today...

This last week, my wife Laura and I had the opportunity to get away. We attended a conference in Phoenix, followed by a couple extra days of vacation. The last time both of us were at this conference (or without kids for a whole week) was before we even knew Laura was pregnant with Elijah. So believe me when I say this next part:  I had no idea how much we needed to rest.

In the busyness that is life, I regularly forget how limited I truly am. I find myself prone to schedule one more meeting, try to squeeze in one more project, or carry one more burden I can do little to resolve. Beyond my own struggle to set limitations on my schedule, other people often have high expectations and demands of my time and energy as well. And in this constant pressure, without giving myself the permission to rest, I push myself to death. And I'm willing to bet you do as well. Neither you nor I are capable of doing everything, pleasing everyone, or finishing every task we set out to do in the time frame we hope to finish it.

No matter how much we love our family, our life, or even our jobs (as I truly do), from time to time it is important to be reminded of our humanity, our mortality, and our need for rest. Whether it be regular weekly rhythms of rest or purposeful seasons (like the occasional vacation), this reminder helps us trust not in our ability and strength, but instead to lean into the God who cares for us deeply.

Next Wednesday, March 2nd, Christians all around the world begin an intentional season of reflecting on our humanity, our mortality, and the limitations of our broken bodies in this world. It is the season known as Lent, kicked off by Ash Wednesday, a day specifically intended to remind us that we are mortal. One day, all of us will die. Our bodies will turn to dust and our accomplishments will fade away.

The good news, however, is that death is not the end. In Jesus, we have a God willing to enter into our humanity, to become like us, experience pain, sorrow, and suffering like us, and ultimately to die for us.  In his death, we have hope.  The season of Lent invites you and me to slow down, to be reminded of our limitations, and to lean into the boundless love of our God who conquers every battle.

Pastor Adam