I am Josh Oliver and this blog is my way of sharing my life in a way I hope is encouraging, insightful, and all-around beneficial to anyone who reads it.
I titled this post the Beginning, not only because it is my first post, but also because it is documentation of the start of a new chapter in my life, “the Bradenton chapter.” If anyone does not know, as of the week of October 1 I am living in the Bradenton, FL area. The reason for this move is to serve the Lord by living with Brett and Liz Swauger working with them in their Gospel outreach.
I think the best way to do this first post is by answering the questions that beg answering most.
What are you doing in Bradenton?
Short answer: serving God.
Longer answer: The outreach happens in several communities; Lloyd’s, Mulberry, the Red Barn, and Pinecraft. There are different methods and ways of serving each place, but the responsibility is sharing the Gospel, building relationships, meeting needs.
Why did you go?
I devoted much of my prayer time to my future. I placed it in the Lord’s hands and asked for guidance in every step. The seed for my move to Bradenton was planted in 2018 when Cai Green and I spent Spring Break here.
I am unsure of what God is making me into. Nonetheless, I view the year or so I spend in service to Him in this way as the best education I could ever receive. Any time around Godly servants like Brett and Joe and their families is valuable time. Nobody has looked back from time spent given to the Lord and regretted it.
Why are you blogging though?
A few factors played into my decision to pursue this project. First, of course, was through prayer and prayerful thought which confirmed my desire to do it. Second, I think this experience will be an immensely valuable one. And even if others do not view it as such, simply documenting the journey is a worthwhile effort. Third, I hope that my experiences will be informative and encouraging to the hearts of others.
There are more reasons I could list, but I close the case with this ask; as you read my posts, pray for me, pray for Brett, Joe and family, pray for the work in Bradenton, and pray for the spread of the Gospel in all the earth.
What do you hope to get out of this experience?
Here are some verses that really challenged and influenced me:
But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. -Acts 20:24
For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes… -Romans 1:16
The Sheep and Goats- Matthew 25:31-46
One thing I have asked that Lord, that I shall seek, that I may dwell in the House of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon His beauty and to inquire in His temple. -Psalm 27:4
The Shema- Deuteronomy 6:4-7
Woman at the well- John 4:7-26