Retrieved from the Notes From PG blog archives… first published 07/2015
It used to bother me whenever someone would step into a ministry and within the first two years they would announce that they were leaving to accept the call to serve somewhere else. I never understood why anyone would do that. Right when I was really getting to know them they would up and leave!
Then I found myself suddenly resigning my position as the Student Ministries Pastor at Oakdale Family Church of the Nazarene to pursue my call as a Lead Pastor! You could probably imagine how conflicted I have been over the last month. Here I was doing exactly what bothered me most about ministry! But, over this last month God has given me a new perspective that has helped me to understand what being obedient to His call really means and how He blesses His people when we step out in faith.
The story that relates to me the most right now is the story of Phillip in Acts 8:26-40.
26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”
30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.
31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:
“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth.”
34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” 38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea. (Acts 8:26-40 NIV)
I love how Philip responds to the Holy Spirit in this passage. He responded out of obeisance to the Lord. And then at the end of this passage, after Philip baptizes the Ethiopian, the Holy Spirit suddenly takes him away! So, Philip leaves his comfort zone and steps out in faith to preach the Good News to an Ethiopian, and then after he has accomplished his task, God calls him somewhere else! Through this I learned that sometimes God leads us somewhere for just a brief moment for us to do His will in the lives of the people around us, and then He leads us somewhere else to even greater work than we did before.
About a year ago my family was loading up the last of our belongings into a POD and getting ready to leave our Virginia family to answer God’s call to serve here in Central California. At the time we had no idea all that God had in store for us, nor did we know how long we would be here. Over the last year God has stretched me more than I could have ever imagined and has continued to prepare me to answer my call. He used Oakdale Family Church of the Nazarene to confirm my call and and encourage me to take ahold of it. In a sense you could say that the people of Oakdale sang in harmony with the Holy Spirit and what He is calling me to.
Over the past month we have had prayer warriors worldwide lifting us up as we step out in faith to answer this call. We didn’t know the destination. We didn’t know how we would get there. We didn’t know where Beccy would work, nor did we know where Tate would go to school! But, we did know that God had all the pieces worked out and in place ahead of time. He knew when to reveal them to us and He knew how everything would work out.
It has been amazing to see God work everything out in a matter of weeks! And how He is still working out the logistics as I write this blog! A few weeks ago I sent out my last resume and was contacted within twenty-four hours to talk about some churches that were open and asked for God’s leading in pastoring one of those churches. God made it very clear which one He wanted my family and I to interview for. At the same time God led Beccy to resign her teaching position at the high school where she was teaching. Later that day two positions opened up in the same town where I was interviewing. Within twenty-four hours she was contacted to set up an interview and a few hours after that interview she was offered the position! GOD IS GOOD!
This morning I had my interview and just a little while ago I received the phone call to be appointed to serve as Lead Pastor of Hope Community Church of the Nazarene in Culpeper, Va. I am honored and blessed to step up and lead this church! I pray that God will use me and my family to the fullest! Thanks for all the prayers, encouragement and support over the last month! I will miss my Central California family greatly and I am blessed to have had a small part in what God is doing through Oakdale Family Church of the Nazarene! Continue to pray that we get all the moving and housing logistics worked out as we need to be out there some time next week!