To my Facebook friends. I am as distressed and discouraged and confused as many of you are by what is going on in our nation. I am not clear about a lot of things. But I am daily finding the Lord instructing me from his Word and by the counsel of wise brothers and sisters, especially my mentor here in Hanford. Here is something of what I have been learning. 1st and foremost, our God is at work. The events that have taken place Since March 1st of this year are no accident. He is working according to his perfect wisdom and no mistakes are even remotely possible.
These are hard days for the Church, hard days to be believers. The temptation is to be self-focused and seek our own political and social goals. Those may or may not be good ones, to differing degrees. This Sunday I will be preaching from John 17:1-5. I am struck by the simplicity with which Christ viewed his coming agony and death. His heart was for the Father's glory first, and then for his own glory. That took him through the horrible death he would die.
A neighbor of our dear member Cheri, here in Hanford, lost her mother last week. I was privileged to serve her by ministering at the commitment service and preach the Gospel at it, in Coalinga, about 55 minutes west and south of us.There was a joyful part of this, as most of those there at least professed faith in Christ. What was NOT joyful was that the sadness of the occasion was broken by an even worse effect of the pandemic here in California.
I have become aware that the Lord wants me move on from the novelty of my returning to active ministry. How do I know that? Because something else has grabbed my attention. I have become concerned about my wife's judgment. Specifically, I am concerned about the man she chose to marry. I mean, I thought I knew the guy! I like the guy! He was my preferred choice for marry Olivia Dioda! But looking at him now, over 33 years later, I ask myself, What was I thinking?
The promised land is mine. Passed the Presbytery interview with no trouble. I am the pastor of New Hope OPC in Hanford, California.
It is starting to sink in. Christ for two years has been prepping me to shepherd his people. Now, I feel like the dog who caught the car he was chasing and then asked, NOW WHAT? An elder answered that and so did his wife. Do the work with confidence in the Lord. Oh! The joy!
I have been given a new start by the Lord Jesus. I have received a call to the pastorate at New Hope OPC in Hanford, California. That Happened on August 12, 2018. Because we are Presbyterian, the call must be approved by the Presbytery of Northern California, after I am examined by the whole Presbytery on September 14. Then my own Presbytery of Central Pennsylvania must grant me permission to accept the call. All well and good. But I feel as though we have been living out the history of redemption.
Because you saw God given potential in my son, you gave. And because you gave his hopes of becoming a minister became realistic. Because you gave Robert Charles welcomed a new student and another young man years later told me he thanked God for the day that new student entered his life, and teachers became aware that a young man with potential was entrusted to their tutelage. Because you gave he graduated with honours among men but was simply pleased that he had glorified God.
To me it seems now, all these years later, to be a golden time in my still too immature walk with Christ. But I had become the member of a church of my own choice, First Presbyterian Church of Babylon, NY. It was pastored by the Rev. Mr. James Noel Spurgeon (no relationship to Charles!). That was in 2979. It was there that I first sensed God’s call to the ministry, and Pastor Spurgeon convinced me to attend Westminster Seminary. Life seemed good, but…
It goes back to August 31, 2016. That was when I lost a call to a pulpit that I thought was in the bag. It would be dishonouring to God to complain because all his works are kind and he knows the end from the beginning, and he was not wrong to deny it to me. But 579 days it has been since I knew what his will was not. Surely his will was for me to work at something else, and so I have been since May of last year a catering temp, when I was not recovering from a heart attack and bypass surgery, of course! And then the last 6 weeks recovering from a patellar tendon injury.
I have been a Christian for about 45 years. I say, about, because I don't know when I believed, but from the start, the Lord took my profession of faith seriously and graciously though I was not a member of a real church. I prayed and sort of read the Bible and Jesus certainly was kind to me. He heard and answered my prayers, and when my mother died in 1974 he kindly comforted me. My brothers and sisters in Christ loved me, and so did dear Mrs. Campbell and her family, though I do know I was a whiny baby Christian for years!