One year ago, I was standing up on a Sunday morning at Ogletown for the first time. Ballots were in the bulletins, saying "Yes, I am in favor of calling Curtis M. Hill to be the next senior pastor." Nothing like preaching with a little bit of pressure!
I love the time markers that God gives us. It reminds me of His faithfulness over the year. I was excited on that day, and I have found that excitement continues to grow. I felt loved on that day, and I feel that love is growing. I felt love for the congregation, and I know that love is growing. I felt humbled on that day, and I feel more humbled now. I sensed a desperate need for God, and that has grown as well. I sensed that God would do something special at OBC, and I believe it even more today.
I will be honest (not that I am normally deceitful, haha). In my mind, there are a few more things that I wish we could've accomplished this year. There are a few areas that I wish we would have grown in. There are personal weaknesses in my own life that I hoped I would have addressed better. There is a desire I have for our church to be growing and maturing in our pursuit of God, and I don't always see it as much as I would like to.
HOWEVER, God does not consult my time table. When I am tempted to look at where we are not, I am reminded of who He is. I am reminded that patience is a fruit of the Spirit. I am reminded that sanctification does not come immediately or even quickly at times. I am reminded that the one who called us is faithful to finish what He starts. I am reminded of advice someone gave me, "Often, you will accomplish less in one year than you think you can, but you can see more accomplished in five years than you think is possible." Words of wisdom, I believe, even though I know it doesn't depend on what I (or we) accomplish, but how the Spirit works and our loving obedience to Him.
So, some good reminders as a stake goes in the ground marking one year that I have had the privilege of a lifetime in pastoring Ogletown.
I am not sure how long Paul spent at Corinth (I am sure that it was more than a year), but I want to echo his words: "I want to let you know the abundant love I have for you." (2 Corinthians 2:4)