I woke up this morning and gave thanks for 17 years of shepherding the lovers of Jesus Christ that he has placed in my care and trust. 17 years ago today, July 2, 1996, was my official first day of pastoring Grace Community Church. I came here with what I believed was a godly ambition to make this my first and last church; which means, I’m settling in for the long haul – no looking around for “greener” pastures. I wanted to know what it was like to only love one church family in the same way of what it is like to only love one woman. I wanted God to bless me with a covenant-like experience of shepherding one flock no matter what. I wanted to see the fruit of long-time friendships. I wanted to see what it was like to watch babies born and grow up and marry them off. I wanted to know what it was like to stay around long enough to go through the grieving processes of sickness and death with those that you have loved so long. I wanted to stay in one place so that I could see the slow and painful but sure and sweet fruit of having a Christ-centered, gospel exalting, expository preaching ministry. I wanted to know the deep grace of persevering with the saints year after year after year. I wanted to know the simplicity of doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with my God and my church family so that people’s lives are changed for the better. I wanted to stay long enough that it would begin to feel like I was always here.
Thank you God for your kindness to me and my church family. It’s no small feat to hang around – such is your powerful and great grace: Everything – to the Praise of the Glory of His Grace!
Before I forget, praise God for your work here brother. I say go for another 17!
Another 17 – hmmm???