Saturday, October 26, 2013

Looking Back

My oldest child recently turned twelve. Where does the time go? Our life is truly a vapor. It is hard to believe just over a decade ago we were struggling to manage with one baby and today life seems perfectly normal with seven kids.  We have been so blessed. I look back at all the times I failed God during this season. His patience, mercy, and grace are all evident. While our family has endured tough times, there has always been a lesson to learn.

Some people seem to live in the past. I can remember how my father would always tell stories about his time in the military. Now days my kids find it funny that most of my stories start out, "Once upon a time when I was a soldier..."  It can be hard not to dwell on our past for good or bad.  Reflection is important. It is how we learn from past mistakes. It just can't be the whole of us. Many stay defeated over their history. You cannot unscramble eggs. Some things are easier said than done of course.

So where should this sit with Christians? If anyone has a reason to look forward it is us. Our eyes should be focused on eternity. We should be burdened for the eternity facing nonbelievers. I heard Dr. Don Sisk preach about the incalculable value of one soul. We should think on these things. It should impact our actions and how we spend our time. I look forward to whatever God has for my family. I pray we please Him in the choices we make.

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith... Hebrews 12:2

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pastor Appreciation

October is Pastor Appreciation Month. I am very thankful for a few pastors who really impacted my life. Those who preached straight from the Bible and guided me and my family. The ones who nudged me toward my next step of Christian growth and obedience. I sometimes think of how that influence could affect future generations in my family.

First I think of Pastor Conway from the church where I grew up. What I learned most from him was a burden for lost souls. I can remember him taking me door knocking to tell others about Jesus. He never apologized for preaching truth. Even though I spent many years out of church, I would often feel convicted to get my life back together due to his teaching.

Next I think of Pastor Bartlett at Maranatha Baptist Church. When our young family finally returned to a good Bible preaching church it was here. Dr. Bill Bartlett was pastor when we arrived and we truly benefited from his wisdom. Soon after this time period Pastor Kevan Bartlett took over leadership at this awesome church. A piece of our hearts will always be at Maranatha. This gentle leader was exactly what our family needed at this stage.  What I learned most from Pastor Kevan Bartlett was how to serve. It meant the world to me to be led by someone with great vision. One of the most dynamic men I have met was this preacher.

If Maranatha is where my family learned to serve, then our new church will likely be where we get to use what we learned. As we planned to move to our new home due to my job location, I really felt we were going go through some type of church depression. We were leaving our church family who was just like real family to us. So many wonderful people who watched our kids grow and encouraged us would no longer be around. We had a big plan to visit multiple churches and see where we ended up. Of course God knows best and it didn't take long to find The Independent Baptist Church of Vienna. It was actually our first stop. We were instantly accepted and felt at home. This is where we met our new preacher. Pastor Elder has already influenced us greatly. He loves God, cares deeply for people, and leads from the front. Our family has grown spiritually in the short time we have been here. I see us growing closer to The Lord as we increase our time in the Bible and prayer. We can't wait until the next time the church doors are open.

My heart breaks as I think about struggles preachers deal with often. I want my kids to learn to either lead a church or help someone else who is called to lead. Pastors need our support and need our prayers. They certainly deserve our appreciation year round and not just in October.