This Sunday, I begin a series of messages called "Where Do We Go From Here?" Last night, I was going through some of these things with my wife. She asked, "So how long have you been working on this series?" I don't think the answer surprised her. I guess in some ways, I would have to answer that I have had these things in my heart and in my mind this entire summer. But, even beyond that, I believe a lot of what I hope to share has been shaped in my heart over the last four years (since I first had the privilege of serving as pastor at Ogletown).
So, as I look forward to this weekend, and beginning a discussion with our church family, I find myself grateful for several things:
- The person who reminded me of Psalm 146. That Psalm brought me fresh joy yesterday in God who is my help and my hope. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down!
- The support I feel from so many who are a part of the OBC family. I don't just have fellow church members here. I have friends that feel more like family than mere acquaintances. Unfortunately, I imagine that many (most?) pastors do not have the privilege of being loved (and having their family loved) as I do. I am grateful.
- The encouragement I get from other pastors in our area. I emailed a few friends who are pastors of sister churches in our area. I asked them to pray for me, and pray for our church in the upcoming weeks. ALL of them responded with assurances that they have prayed and will continue to pray that God works at OBC. Sadly, churches often compete and try to one-up another church. Yet, the humble spirit of these men means they are more interested in the kingdom expanding, than they are building their own empire. Thank you, Jesus for these friends!
- The clarity that I have felt. Ideas, concepts, word-pictures, Bible reading, conversations, emails, have all been helpful in sorting through my thoughts. When you have a lot you want to say, it is a blessing to get clarity on how to say it (and how NOT to say it).
- The confidence I can have in a God who is more interested in our church, me, my family, than I am. He has promised His church will succeed, and has promised to be present as we live out gospel-shaped, gospel-sharing lives.