WHERE WE’RE HEADED: Miramar
I’m sure that many of you already know that I have been called to be an associate pastor at Pembroke Road Baptist Church in Miramar, Florida. (The pinpoint “A” on the map is the location of the church’s building). Laura gave the whole rundown of this journey on our family blog.
One week from today, we will leave Louisville. We will be moving in with Laura’s parents in Lighthouse Point, Florida, which is about 30 minutes north of the church. Until our house in Louisville sells, we will have a mortgage. So we are blessed to have the option of living with her folks, because we can’t afford to pay for two places. God has been kind, and we are trusting the house will sell to the right people, at the right time, for the right price.
We are excited about ministering to and with the Pembroke Road family, while we follow the Lord with them. Starting on Sunday March 1, we will join with this beautiful mosaic of people of all different ages and ethnicities. There are also three language congregations (Korean, Haitian, Spanish) that minister at the Pembroke Road facility. As I told the congregation during the candidating process, this church exemplifies more closely than the majority of churches that “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all” (Col. 3:11). Already, God has given us a great love for this church and this area, a love which we pray only grows and constrains us to work with all his power at work within us.
HOW WE GOT HERE: Our Father Hears His Children
Last spring I scanned the Pastoral Epistles (1,2 Timothy and Titus) and made a list of 7 or 8 biblical principles for becoming a pastor. In the ensuing months, we have repeatedly appealed to our heavenly Father, based on those biblical principles, to provide us a position. I believe God is a good Father and that our Father hears his children. I believe that his Word is unbreakable, and that he loves to hear it prayed back to him. He loves us, and he loves it when we know that he loves us. He loves it when we believe and trust his word, which we demonstrate when we pray based upon it. When I was single and lonely, I also made a list of 12-13 biblical principles for God to provide me a wife. Laura came around a few months later. Here’s the nut: God answers prayer. He does, when it is prayer based upon his promises and prayed in faith. We do not have to grab at the air when we ask God for things. We have 775,000 words that we can count on.
So, Laura and I are grateful to our heavenly Father, who has heard and answered our prayers. He is good, and we get to see this goodness manifested all the time.
WHY WE’RE GOING: “Maybe It’s Not About You”
I know of a lot of guys who struggle to find a position after seminary. I was laying in bed one night, after it was looking increasingly likely that the church would call me to be an associate pastor there. I kept thinking, “God why are giving this to us? Why are you being so kind, when so many other good, faithful men have to struggle for much longer?” At that point, I had a distinct thought come into my mind. I don’t know if it was my own thinking. I very well could have been; but I tend to think that it was the Spirit, because it was such a clear, precise thought:
“Maybe, it’s not about you.”
That thought crushed me instantly. Wow, how selfish I can be. My thoughts went to the Pembroke Road family, and to the scores of lost people, like 1.5 million, within ten miles of the church. After that I was operating under the assumption that we were going in large part for them. Until Sunday, when my mind went to 2 Corinthians 5:15: “[Christ] died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”
Then it all came together: it isn’t about us, it isn’t even primarily about “them”. It’s about Jesus! We live for him, for the one who for our sake died and was raised. For the fame of Christ. That’s why we’re going. And, yes, for the good of Pembroke Road and the good of South Florida too. But it is ultimately for the name of Jesus, to the glory of God the Father.
May he be pleased in his church and her servants, at Pembroke Road, and beyond.