A New Chapter Begins

I thought I would take some time to share what God has been doing in my life the last number of months and how he opened the door for me to move into the pastorate. Over the past 18 months, I have sensed God intensifying within me a desire to pastor a local church. I have worked in student ministry for the past 7 years in full-time and volunteer roles and have had a blast watching students come to faith in Christ and grow and mature in their faith. Our family has loved serving at Central Baptist Church and we love the students and parents we have had the opportunity to serve with over the past 4.5 years. This was not a decision we took lightly. We prayed fervently for God to open the right door and cause everything to fall into place. About 3 months ago we received a call from New Vision Fellowship in Dublin, GA and began the interview process with them. During the past 3 months we felt our hearts meld with theirs and we began to recognize that God was leading us to move in this direction. NVF is 8 year old church that has a passion to reach Dublin for Christ.

We are heartbroken to leave our friends at Central Baptist Church but we are beyond excited because we know we are following God’s call for our family. I preached my final sermon, as a staff member at Central, this past Sunday and read this letter of resignation:

Church Family,

It is with mixed emotions that I stand before you this morning. In January of 2008, I began serving as your Assistant Pastor of Students. The 4.5 years since have only served to confirm that God was in our coming here. You have been a loving, supportive, and gracious congregation. It has been a great joy for our family to live life together with you, to worship with you, and to serve alongside you these past years.

But now the time has come for us to say goodbye.

Last Sunday morning, I preached at, was voted on by, and was offered the position of senior pastor at New Vision Fellowship in Dublin, Georgia. We have been talking with this church for several months, and it became clear, as we continued in the process with them, that this was where God was leading us.

As I result, this morning I offer my resignation as the Assistant Pastor of Students at Central Baptist Church.

Even though we struggle with strong feelings of grief over having to say goodbye, we are excited about what God wants to do both here and in Dublin in the years ahead. As we have experienced God’s hand at work in our leaving, we can also trust that he will provide the right man to come and faithfully serve here for the cause of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We love you. And if you will allow it, we will leave Central Baptist Church feeling as if we have a forever-family in Americus, Georgia. Thank you for loving Janie, Anna, Leah, and myself. We feel blessed to have been a part of this church family. Thank you for investing in me, as a minister of the gospel, and allowing me to serve you over the past 4.5 years.

I want close with the words of the Apostle Paul, in Philippians 1:27-28, “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.”

Thank you.

We ask for your prayers as we make this transition. God is good and He is faithful. We have seen His hand at work and we know that He will keep working!


Praying For My Girls

One of the things that is extremely important to me is praying for my girls and I seek to pray these 5 things for each of my girls every day:
  1. I pray for Anna and Leah’s salvation.  I want my girls to have a personal relationship with Jesus and this is the most important thing in all the world!  Everything I do as a parent should be focused on this priority and my greatest responsibility is to consistently share the gospel message with them.
  2. I pray that my girls will whole-heartedly follow God’s call on their life.  That call could be anything from becoming a nurse, to an accountant, to a say-at-home mom.  Hannah, Samuel’s mother, voiced a prayer to God that if He blessed her with a child then she would “give him to the Lord all the days of his life.”[1]  That is my attitude as well – God has blessed us and I in turn fully surrender my girls to His service whatever that may be.
  3. I pray that my girls will be a Great Commission Christians. I could not think of a more amazing blessing than watching one of my girls lead someone else to Christ and then disciple that person!
  4. I pray for my each of my girls’ future spouse.  I pray that God would bring a true help-mate into their life and that this man would have a passionate personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I want him to  be a godly man who loves her like Christ loved the church.
  5. I pray that my girls will pass on a godly heritage to their children.  One of my greatest desires is to leave a godly legacy and I can think of no better way to do this than with my family.

[1] 1 Samuel 1:11 (NKJV)

Marriage: A Picture Of Christ And The Church

I was blown away by this video! It truly embodies Paul’s words in Ephesians 5:22-33. 

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

A Passionate Desire To Hear From God

Most Christians would readily admit their desire to hear from God. We long for a word from the Lord. We want direction. We need guidance. We crave truth for this journey that we call life. Oftentimes the Christian life has been described as a relationship and I think this is a perfect way to describe this reality. It reminds us that growth in our relationship with God takes time and a passionate desire to hear from Him.

I remember when Janie and I first started dating. We were passionate about spending time with each other. The more time we spent together, the deeper our relationship grew. I can even remember staying up to 2am numerous nights during the week and talking about the future and what God was doing in our lives (I still can’t believe that I did that with 8am classes).

God has continually brought Exodus 24:12-18 to mind over the past number of months when I think about the time that I spend with Him in His Word and in prayer. It is a fascinating text especially when you look at the details of the story.

The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” So Moses rose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. And he said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we return to you. And behold, Aaron and Hur are with you. Whoever has a dispute, let him go to them.”

Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the Lord dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. Moses entered the cloud and went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

Here are a few things that God has brought to mind as I have meditated on this passage over the past few months:

1. God is not elusive. For some reason it seems that many people feel that hearing from God is difficult. They assume that you must have some special code or ability that unlocks God’s Word. What we see in this passage, though, is that God comes to Moses. He tells Moses that He will give Moses His Word and this Word will be for the people. We do not have to drum up ways to hear from God in some mystical sense. He has revealed Himself in His Word and as we spend time diligently studying the Bible, the Holy Spirit will speak to us and guide us into all truth (John 16:13). Like Moses, we must commit to spend the time to hear from the Lord. Psalm 1 reminds us that “blessed” is the man or woman who delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on it day and night. We must never forget that God sent His Son, Jesus (“The Word” according to John 1), to this planet to live a sinless life and pay for our sins on the cross. He desires that we know Him!

2. God is not on our time-table. If you read the passage carefully you will see that Moses spent 6 days on the mountain before God spoke. SIX days! This continues to blow me away when I think about how long Moses was willing to wait for God to speak. All too often we expect God to show up and speak to us on our time-table. We want an instant answer to prayer. We want an instant response that will help us make a significant decision in life. Are we willing to wait or has God become nothing more than our cosmic concierge, serving us whenever we want? I am continuing to learn that waiting on Him to speak is well worth the wait. In an instant society like ours, patience is no longer seen a virtue. However, patience is a fruit of the Spirit and I am confident that learning to wait on the Lord is one of the ways that the Holy Spirit uses to make us more like Christ.

3. God’s presence is enough. Moses not only waited six days for God to speak, he spent another 40 days dwelling in God’s presence on the mountain. I am constantly reminded to ask myself this question, Is God’s presence enough? If I lose everything, will I truly be content if I can dwell in His presence? When God’s presence is enough, it does not matter what material possessions we have or do not have. It does not matter whether we are accepted by others because we know we are accepted by Him. It does not matter if we can explain our future because we know who holds the future in the palm of His hand. The words of the psalmist ring true, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!” (Psalm 34:8)