Monday, March 20, 2017

A Season of Encouragement to Other Pastors

On March 10th, Renee and I , along with dear friends, Pastor Tom and Donna Pendergrass from Urbancrest Baptist church, joined Lifeway's Director of Lifeway Pastors, Mark Dance and his wife Janet on a panel to encourage pastors and their wives. Mark is leading a relatively new position for Lifeway, and as a former pastor himself, he knows the heart of the pastor as well as the ups and downs of pastoring a church.

Urbancrest hosted it for us and prepared for over one hundred in attendance, and you know what, nearly everyone was able to make it.  I have learned that whatever Lifeway is involved in, it will be done with excellence, and Pastor Tom and Urbancrest hold the same high standard. Mark and Lifeway blessed the pastors with a number of resources, and Janet blessed the wives as well with some great gifts.

Couples would text a question anonymously to the Dances and then they would move them back and forth between us couples to address. The questions really involved healthy relationships with God, your spouse, and your family. Renee and I kept asking ourselves, "What do we have to offer?"
Twenty four years and counting, in the only church I have pastored, I thought, "Lord help us pour into someone tonight.  As the night unfolded, our hearts were blessed to be part of a ministry that was encouraging pastors.There were laughs, and tears, among Pastors and their wives, young and old. We were crossing generational lines, styles, and customs, yet all of us had a clear rallying point.  We were called to preach the Gospel , glorify God and shepherd His people. It was a real thrill to have Renee right there with me.  She has been nothing but a blessing to me and our church over the years.

I think that is one way God may be wanting to use us as we continue to pastor some of the greatest people in the world here in Camden.  They have blessed us in so many ways, and I recognize it isn't like this everywhere.  The kindness this Church shows to me is not taken for granted.  I believe God wants to use us, our church, and ministry to encourage pastors in different places. Staying in the trenches together, faithfully preaching, serving, and blooming where God has planted us as H.B. London once said.

I think that is part of  the season I am in now.  Pour into those in the same role and help them avoid the same snares and pot holes that I have encountered in the ministry. Just like the Johnny Hunts that have poured into our lives over the many years.  They may not all have platform that God has blessed Johnny with, but so many have invested in us. Thank you to those still serving and encouraging, and to those now with the Lord.  May He find us...faithful.

What a blessing to be called pastor, or in my case...Bro. Greg!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Ash Wednesday

Pastor's Devotion
Growing up I never really recognized Ash Wednesday, or took the time to look at Lent.  I knew some fasted a little or one day a week as Easter approached.
Over the next 46 days leading up to Easter, I will try to share a thought, or brief word to challenge us as we prepare to celebrate Easter. The service Sunday night really got me to thinking about addiction. Addiction can come in many different forms, yet alcohol and drugs are the most referred to.  You don't hear as much about pornography addiction that causing great harm in marriages and lives.  It cheapens what God has created and that is the sexual bond between a man and a woman in a marriage covenant.  That is what the Devil sells.  Counterfeit.  If he can get you and I to cave in to what is not Holy and godly, he will be happy for us to chase something that will not bring happiness.
My prayer for us this Easter Season is to become more disciplined in all the areas of our Christian walk.  This Sunday it is about all of us tithing a tenth of our income.  In sacrifice, no, but in obedience.
For some it is time to get back to church and worship the Lord.  Easter is a great time to claim  Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV) 32  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.   Let the kick off of this season be a fresh start for you. 
Let's begin it in a prayer together.  Lord, today I surrender myself once again to you. What I am not, please make me.  What I do not know, please teach me.  Help me to put hurt in my life at the foot of the cross.  From there help me to look up and see You,  my Savior who gave Your life for me.  I cannot repay You , but I can live for You and tell somebody else what You have done for me.
Help me to do that today, in Jesus Name...Amen!