My daughters tell me I should blog more. Seeing that my one and only blogpost is dated this past February, I can’t help but agree. I am new to this blogging thing, but I do know one thing – blogs must be short and to the point, preferably one point. In our 140-character culture, people won’t be able to process more. But knowing the ramblings rolling around in my head and heart, I don’t anticipate this second attempt will be short nor to the point. Sorry. But here is the major theme – I desperately need a new start in the new year.
December 27th was my last time in the pulpit I have had the privilege to stand behind for the past seven years, and perhaps my last time in any pulpit after 30 years of licensed ministry in the Christian and Missionary Alliance. I am thankful to God for each of those years! God definitely and directly called me to know Him and serve Him when I was fourteen years-young. I began “ministry” as a fulltime endeavor when I was only nineteen and stumbled upon starting a youth ministry in my hometown. After that, I was blessed to receive discipleship training at Last Days Ministries and St. Paul Bible College, all the time being involved in serving my Savior. I was burdened to serve among those who had never heard the name of Jesus once, instead of staying among those who had heard His Name and rejected Him a thousand times. After graduation and marriage to my lovely bride, I began to prepare for overseas ministry by doing my “home service” at a rescue mission, where I was blessed to serve homeless men, prisoners, and inner-city children and their broken families. In my free time, I began church ministry by doing pulpit supply and interim pastorates in some incredible churches. While my wife’s health prevented us from going overseas, we began pastoring local churches soon after. We have been blessed to serve God and His children in three church plants and four established churches over the years. My fulltime ministry life is now over because my wife’s physical and emotional health continues to decline daily, and because of the churches we served, all but two no longer exist. While I see how the end of those ministries was God’s will and has opened the door for other multiple churches and parachurch groups to begin, it still doesn’t look good on my resume. While I imperfectly served those congregations, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t do anything major differently. I truly did all I did not for my own benefit, but for my King and His Kingdom. That being said, looking at my resume, I wouldn’t hire me today! I am branded as a loser – a failure – one who couldn’t get it done. Now, as our current small and struggling church continues to become smaller and experience more struggles, we reluctantly move on. To what, I do not know.
All I ever wanted to do was share the Jesus I love with others. As I look back over the years, I hope some have met Him and now walk with Him more intimately as a result of my existence. Yet, I fear that John Piper’s book, Don’t Waste Your Life has become my own story. One of my favorite movies, It’s a Wonderful Life, has now become one I cannot watch without bawling like a baby as I wonder if there are any lives I have touched.
Yet, after all of this, I am more convinced than ever that God is faithful! I am more thankful than ever that Jesus is my Redeemer and Lord, that my Loving Father has adopted me as His own, and that the Holy Spirit indwells me so that the life of Christ is my life. And I am more convinced than ever that Jesus truly loves His Bride – the Church! I still believe these words: And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6 ESV). I rest on these truths: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28 ESV), and No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:37-39 ESV).
I doubt that anyone has been able to read this far, but if you have, please pray for us. I am applying for all kinds of jobs. My body with fifty-plus years of wear and tear doesn’t feel up to an entry level physical labor job, but that seems to be all I am qualified for, after decades of ministry. I am told that my bachelors and masters in ministry aren’t enough for chaplaincy or other ministry positions. As I hunt and peck at this keyboard, it is apparent I do not have the computer skills to do most office jobs. I can’t convince people to buy something they don’t need, so sales probably won’t work out. Please pray that God will provide some employment (I am not picky!) so that I can provide for my family and so we won’t be homeless (again – but that is another story). Pray for the emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing of my dear wife and precious girls. And please pray that in all things, Jesus is glorified!