300 days ago… With a massive U-Haul truck, a trailer, and many personal vehicles loaded with all of our possessions, we left what had become “home” for about 3.5 years for our family to joyfully move to Mandeville.
292 days ago… I started my first day of work at FBC Mandeville with several boxes to unload into my office, many names to learn, goals to achieve, and a great God to serve.
These last 300 days of my life have been more than just an answered prayer. Some of you may know about the difficult times my family and I had to endure at our previous church, and if not, that’s another story for another time. During that time, however, I tried to get out and leave my way only for the Lord to humble me and close every potential door that I tried to open. I came to peace with that over time and eventually, the Lord made it very clear to me and my wife that He would call us elsewhere. Life felt even more difficult knowing the Lord is going to open a door for me at some point but never having clarity on the details until that time would happen, WHILE enduring really tough and trying circumstances at the church I was still serving. So, my prayer for a long time simply became this:
- That the Lord would call me somewhere to serve Him faithfully
- That it would be in a church that would love me & my family
- That the students and church would cause me to wake up every day with joy because of the opportunity to serve them.
I have to honestly tell you that I was not prepared.
I was not prepared for the Lord to not only answer that prayer but to go above and beyond that answered prayer. Each of you and many more have been the exact reason that prayer of mine has been answered in such an awesome way. These last 300 days have been busy and tiring. And that will only increase as we add another kid to the family in just a few weeks. But I was not prepared to not only be so busy and tired but to have so much fun and joy in my heart while being busy and tired.
And that is because of y’all. Students, parents, and so many other church members- it’s all because of you. I have sat here at the keyboard with a thesaurus pulled up trying to find or formulate words that accurately describe my love and appreciation for all of you but I simply cannot.
So, I think it’s best to keep it simple & concise and simply say this: I love y’all. Every one of y’all. I thank God every day for bringing me and my family to Mandeville and to this church. For the last 300 days, I have never lost sight of the fact that I have the best job in the world and there’s no close competition. And I hope the Lord continues to remind me of that wonderful fact.
2022 has been such a good year to me and my family and I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for all of us together. Plans are already being put in place and there is much still to figure out, but all of it is being done with the same simple saying I have been saying and preaching for months now. The same thing written on our t-shirts. So let’s start this new year, together, with that emphasis and motivation in mind.
- Love God
- Seek Him
- Build His Kingdom
Students, I believe the Lord can and will accomplish much in each of your lives this year. Just be faithful to Him, rely on Him, and let him lead you and guide you. Amazing, radical things can happen even in our city if you’re willing to be sold out for Jesus (Luke 14:26-27).
Parents, push your teenager this year. Love them, motivate them, and set the example for them. As a father and a pastor, I shudder in fear at what the world and culture is throwing at our children these days. However, the Lord is faithful and powerful. He overcomes it all. So, lets be like Eunice, the mother of Timothy, with a faith so contagious that it effects every aspect of our children so that they may be true world changers one day. It’s not only our responsibility as parents, but also our calling. If there is ever any way I can help you with this (not as an expert, but as a pastor with a heart for teens) please let me know. That is why I do what I do.
I think that is enough rambling for now. I think you get the idea 🙂. I love each of you and I’m beyond thankful to know you and do life with you. Thank you for being you.