What a year 2019 has been! I was self-employed with a great “gig” as a partner once called it. Selling compounded pharmaceuticals from home was flexible, profitable and allowed me time to devote to ministry and family. Then I became unemployed – got to love Florida and the right to work status! I then became partially employed to very under-employed to perfectly employed. This is the year I started as a vocational pastor. For those unaware, there are many in the ministry that do this for no pay just because they are called into this work. That was me for 5 years and now the Lord has decided to lead me to an assignment where I am paid for the call I have finally decided to follow. I think back and the flesh part of me would be laughing at me. This is not where my ambition would have led me. This is not where the world would tell anyone they are doing the right thing. The flesh would lead me to a place where financial security can be met. It would lead me to the church whose congregation was strong and established staff and pool of retired pastors to look to for wisdom. I cannot even say I understand why God does what He does or sends us where He sends us. It makes little to no sense – to us in the flesh.
Yet, here I am. Happy. Joyous. Fulfilled. Focused.
Is everything peachy? Sorry, I hate to disappoint but no. I live apart from my family as they finish the school year out and see them occasionally on holidays and school breaks. I was led to a church that was considered dying. A mentor said I was taking the “faith assignment.” Those words, coming from him would terrify any normal human being. Thank you, Lord, for not making me normal. There are many trials and storms I am experiencing I will not go into. Needless to say, there is a cost.
Yet I am happy. How you may ask? I am filled by the Spirit of a Living God that fills beyond measure. I am in a position to see God’s work! And boy is that last part fun! I get to watch this church start 2020 in a day of prayer. In the middle of that day, we will baptize someone. I do not know how long it has been since someone was baptized here. I know this church starts off the new year and new decade in the midst of the Great Commission. We get to do His work. His call for His church. We are told that in our weakness He is made strong (2 Corinth 12:9). We are also promised that in our moments of weakness, He will increase our strength (Isa 40:29). I rest assured on those promises. He promises that when we are in His Will, we will have the strength through the Holy Spirit to complete the task ahead.
For the last sermon of the year, I preached on growth. Many in this congregation have experienced a significant loss in their spiritual family. We all have at one time or another. Godly people are called home and I have not met one that did not pray for me to continue my spiritual growth. They desire for us to continue to carry the torch of salvation to a world that so desperately needs that love and acceptance and transformation. We continue through that growth. We grow spiritually and in the wisdom of His Word. The more we grow, the more we allow His Spirit to work through us. We are promised to have His Spirit (1 Corinth 3:16) within us. This is the same Spirit
that strengthens us, that enables us and that had gone before us when we said: “yes Lord yes I will trust and obey,” or “Yes Lord send me.”
Send me to that church where it requires faith in you. Where I can see your mighty hand at work. Where no one can doubt the presence and power of your greatness in action! Where our past has helped form us, but in no way should it define – or restrict – our future. Allow us to move forward, press on, and finish that race. One where we can grow in faith and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Do not be afraid to be used by the God who created you. The One who knows how to use the talents He has gifted you towards the growth of His Kingdom. Allow Him to nurture your spirit towards growth, towards holiness, towards Him.
My prayer is that you, the reader, will look forward, grow in faith and knowledge of our Lord Jesus and press on to finish the race. Look forward and watch Him work. It sure is fun!