Loving the Journey with…

Pastor Dustin Aagaard


Hello Journey Friends and Family,

It’s good to be back! In June, I was able to get away and enjoy two weeks of vacation and two weeks for a study break. The study break gave me time to get away to pray, dream, and plan for the next season of ministry. It was such a special time as I felt God’s presence over me.

The first week of June, I was able to go to my family’s cabin, which is just north of Asheville, N.C. I spent five days there in solitude to give myself time and space to settle my soul, read, listen to God, enjoy nature, watch beautiful sunsets, dream, plan, and have a little study break. It was glorious. I knew it was a good week when I realized that I looked out my window more than I looked at my phone.

During that week, I hiked, marveled at waterfalls, saw chipmunks 🐿, and rabbits 🐇, listened to birds 🐦 sing, watched deer 🦌 grazing, had a bear 🐻 sighting and even got to see an incredible meteor shower.

After such a nature-filled week, I was in awe of God’s creation. On the last day there, I went onto the back deck overlooking the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.

I could relate to the Psalmist when he said, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.” Psalm 19:1-2

In awe of the beauty, I shared my thoughts with God, saying to him, “Wow, this is so beautiful. I wish we had beauty like this in Orlando.” As soon as I said that I felt God calmly remind me, “Dustin, you haven’t seen a human in five days. Yes, the mountains and sunsets are beautiful, but my greatest creation is people, and Central Florida is full of them.” I was reminded of Isaiah 43:7, where God said man was

“created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

and Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s masterpiece.”

Throughout scripture, we are shown that humanity is seen as God’s most prized creation, where people are described as being made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27).

I immediately was convicted of such a powerful truth. As beautiful as it all was, the only thing God made in His image is YOU! You take the cake. You are a beautiful work of art that God finds pleasure in, just as I found pleasure in nature. Not only does God find beauty in you, but I am to do the same.

I came home with a renewed desire to seek to see the God-given beauty in people just as easily as I do in nature, and let me tell you, Journey, you are looking good.

During our time away, TJ (my wife) and I visited four great churches. Each service was good and fed my soul. However, we both left thinking and saying the same thing, “That church was good, but we miss Journey.” Journey, we love you and missed you.

We love your heart for the next generation. We love your heart to serve those in need. We love your heart to embrace the diversity of different ages, backgrounds, or ethnicities. And we love your heart for worship, for Jesus, and the Word. Journey, not only have you marked Central Florida, but you have marked my family and me. We can’t wait to see you Sunday at 9:30am or 11:15am as we continue our G.O.A.T series!

I’m loving the Journey,

Pastor Dustin Aagaard
Associate Lead Pastor