It is hard to believe that I have served as pastor of FBC Jonesboro for one year already. Can we say, “big learning curve?” But that is what I expected. We moved from a foreign country, where the Lord had us serving for the past 14 years. In fact, Canada was all my children remembered, as my oldest was only 5 months old when we moved from Texas. For them, the change was enormous: new country, school, friends, home, and church. Only God could help them get through; and He did. They have had their good days and bad days, but all in all they are doing well.
As a couple, Gina and I have also had to navigate some significant changes in ministry. But we knew that the Lord was about to stretch us. We were aware of the challenges that the church was facing. We knew of the challenges that the community was facing. We knew that we would need to make some major adjustments to our new surroundings. There have been several things that caught us off guard, but then again, we knew to expect the unexpected!
But I have learned over the years to keep my eyes on the Lord, no matter what my circumstances might be. The most important factor in my life is not what people are doing, but what the Lord is doing. Kingdom work is challenging in the best of times, but the Lord has a way of keeping me steady and focussed on the priorities of His heart. Oh, I stumble and make mistakes along the way, but He is the one who guides my life.
Looking back over this past year, the challenges of such a major change in our lives has been overshadowed by the hand of God in our lives. I have often told people that my greatest strength is that I know I am weak. That one realization keeps my relationship with Christ my number one priority; I need Him in my life. For without Him, I can do nothing (John 15:5). In fact I was challenged one day by a man who pointed out that I was from a small pioneer church in Canada and did not know how to lead a large church in the South. My response was simply this: “your absolutely right.” But then again, I am not the leader of FBC Jonesboro, Christ is. He is the head of the church, and my responsibility is to walk with Him so that He can accomplish His work through me.
I am so excited to see what Christ is doing in our church. Christ is leading us and we are about to experience a wonderful journey of following Him. I’ll mention more in the next few weeks about where we are going, but I just want to thank the members of FBC for all they have done for my family. God has placed some amazing people in this church. It is a privilege to be their pastor.