Last night I was prompted to start a journal of this journey we are facing. It’s called “Moving”! One would think that as a pastor, I would eventually get accustomed to it. But I’m not. Since the Spirit has been developing this “writing thing” in me, I might as well use it. So each day I will post something–not just the stresses and events of moving–but the spiritual lessons He is teaching me–excuse me–trying to teach me. I admit that at times I am not always the best student. I would rather teach–but I know I can’t teach unless I also learn.
Today is Saturday, 16 June 2018 and this coming Friday, 22 June 2018, the moving company will be here to pack up our belongings. At 62, I’m not going to load a U-Haul. Then on Monday, 25 June 2018, we will move into our new home and to our new appointment to serve Jesus and The Kingdom at Mt. Vernon (near Fayette, Al.) and Oak Hill (near Sulligent, Al.). We’ve been packing up all along, and now it is at the stage of “when we’ve used it, it’s time to pack it up”. My current office is all packed up. It’s just the things here at home. This the timeline. Now, to what’s happening today.
More packing of course, and in a bit, I will assist at the funeral of a long time family friend, and personal friend. I met Benny, I think it was in 1968, when my Dad was sent to Mhoontown for his very first appointment as a pastor. Our families stayed close and through the years, Benny was always encouraging me as a pastor and preacher. And I consider it a great honor to be there; to remember him and to remember what he always told me: “Randy, keep telling them about Jesus!”
And something else is happening today. Tomorrow will be my last sermon here. I know, I know that Jesus said don’t worry about tomorrow, just take care of today. But I’m not worrying, so I Jesus is OK with me simply thinking about it. Isn’t it amazing how we can justify our own sins! God has a vision for this place–to transform it from a typical downtown “first church” into a Kingdom Church. Signs of this transformation have been happening the past 4 years. I had dreamed of being here long enough to see it come to full fruition. But we are not.
And this is what I am struggling with. Though I am convinced that I still had much to offer in this process of transformation, the powers that be thought otherwise. This belief stung my heart like a simultaneous swarm of yellow jackets and hornets. The wound is healing, thanks to God’s grace and those who have are instruments of that grace. I promised this journal would also be about what I am being taught by Him. So here is what I am learning so far.
- The Kingdom of God is much bigger than me. It is His Kingdom, not mine.
- God is sending me, not a group of people.
- God still has Kingdom Work for me at Mt. Vernon and Oak Hill
- God still cares about us and will take care of us wherever we go
I have always viewed my appointments as Divine Appointments–not my Tribe sending me somewhere, but God sending me somewhere. There was one appointment where I was absolutely convinced that the Tribe wasn’t listening to God. I had no idea why I was there–the chaos was crushing. But on my last Sunday there, 3 people were saved and one of them, was a hard case. Joe only went to church when his kids were in some program. He had no desire for God. But then the Spirit did an amazing thing–He connected me and Joe through fishing and hunting. A friendship developed and on my last Sunday, Joe rushed to the altar, tears in his eyes and said, “If anyone is going to show me how this happens, it’s going to be you!”
And now looking back, I see so many “Joes” who are taking their relationship with Jesus much deeper. Many of us have laughed together, celebrated together and cried together. I truly hate to leave behind these friends. But I know that our friendships will continue on, deeper and better than ever before.
And I also know that there are more “Joes” in Fayette and Lamar Counties who need to know the real Jesus and others who need to grow in that relationship. It is what some call “Mixed Blessings”. And what is hold me together now, is that this moment and this new journey is in God’s hands and HE is charting the path for me.