The Year in Reflection

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. Snow ChurchFor 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

person holding a green plant

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!

Pastor Appreciation

I normally create content for this blog specifically but I chose to mirror my social media post here. It bears repeating and may serve as a reminder to thank, hug or shake the hand of the pastors in your life. Where I may only be a month into my first assignment, I have a clearer image and understanding of what goes through the mind of a pastor. The loss felt by a member who chooses to leave to the pain and agony of a community of

photo of black microphone

people I have yet to meet. The hours spent in prayer by each spiritual leader out there cannot be counted as they are like the grains of sand on a beach or as numerous as the stars of the night. Give thanks for those that live their life in a transparent bubble. I once read an article that they feel like everyone’s pastor and no one’s friend. On a side note, check out the sermon page as it is updated constantly as I look to start a “Midweek Minute” and post other sermons there in the near future. I am a rookie at editing so keep that in mind and feel free to leave feedback on the video page! Continue reading Pastor Appreciation

Me, Me, Me!

I know it has been a while, but in all fairness, I have been a little busy. I have recently accepted the call to lead a congregation in the small town of Washington Indiana. IMG_2348These people are a great group of folks that are easy to love and they have a heart for their community. Now that is out of the way, I have a few thoughts to share as I have been preparing the latest sermon. I honestly wrote this last week but did not want to publish until the sermon titled “Never Alone, the Sequel” was given.  Now, back to the previously scheduled post! That said, my intended audience is the fellow believer – male and female. The Word calls us “brethren.” This is not intended for the non-believer as I believe those of faith have a higher standard. We are supposed to hold each other accountable – society thinks that would be “judgmental.” To fellow believers, its accountability. Continue reading Me, Me, Me!

How about a survey?

“Hello, my name is Darrell and I am calling with BR Interviewing…” It is this phrase I uttered thousands of times in the last two and a half months. I had placed my life on hold for the possibility of God placing me in a lead pastoral role. Seems, He was not ready to move me just yet. With most of my savings fading away, I looked for a temporary job

desk office workspace coworking

until He decided to place me. I found one working at the local convention center, but the hours were scarce. Then I was hired by a company that makes outbound calls. It is not sales but that does not make the job itself any easier. You push a button, the computer dials a number and you wait to either hear someone yell, listen and hang up, listen or a voicemail pick up. There are a variety of surveys they do here, and I will not go into specifics, but needless to say, it is not a job one dreams of when they are a child! There are a couple of life lessons I have learned while I was there. Continue reading How about a survey?

No Pain No Gain!

As a guy who loves to eat hates to exercise this saying makes absolutely no sense to me! In my honest opinion, whoever said this originally needs a serious mental evaluation! I mean who wants to be put into pain? Anyone? So, I started to investigate where this little tidbit of crazy talk came from. A simple google search shows Jane Fonda made it popular in one of her workout videos in 1982. If one were to dig deeper, you may find out that Benjamin Franklin coined that phrase almost 300 years ago! I have heard it applied in business as well. Ever hear the phrase “it takes money to make money?” How about “feel the burn” that was later changed for a political slogan? Again, I think these are all crazy talk, don’t you?

Or are they?

Continue reading No Pain No Gain!

Unspoken Request

child prayThere is a post going around social media that tells of a child praying the alphabet. When an adult asked why this child just prayed her ABC’s, she replied: “I didn’t know the words to say so I figured God would put the letters in the right order.” I will pause here while everyone’s heart melts just a tad! Around Easter, I wrote of that difficult prayer. What about the one we cannot frame into words?

This got me thinking about that “unspoken” request we often hear in church. It has become more popular or it may just be my take on what stands out to me. I used to be against such thoughts. I mean, the Word tells us to present our requests to God (1 John 5:14-15) and to be specific in doing so (Philippians 4:6-7). James 5:16 tells us to do so to one another. That we are to confess our sins so that we may be healed. I mean, “real” Christians would confess their sins to one another, right? Continue reading Unspoken Request

Keep it on the tracks!

Every VBS we have done at our church involves the part of searching for God Sightings. I like this focus so much it is something we do on a weekly basis in Children Church. I believe it is a great habit to look and see where God is at work around us. With me, I have found that He will often point something out so He can have a chat. For example, take these simple train tracks. Continue reading Keep it on the tracks!