July 1st will mark 8 years of being the preacher for the church family at Garden Ridge. I hold this date very special because of the joy I have experienced working with this church family and because of the way the LORD has used my time here to help me grow in my own faith walk.
Talk about rewarding! It is difficult sometimes to imagine that I actually get paid to study my bible and share what I learn! Can anything be better than being used by the LORD to help someone realize the freedom from sin and new life available to them?
Seeing people throw off the shackles they have carried and find eternal purpose is revitalizing to the soul!
Seeing someone light up with excitement and joy because they realize how real the LORD is and how much He cares for them is something you cannot put any amount of money upon.
Helping people find answers and healing for eternal problems and everyday issues is better than being a doctor who helps with sickness and issues pertaining to this world.
Seeing someone claim the crown of life is better than coaching a professional championship team. (Go Dodgers!)
However, sometimes the work of ministry is maddening, disappointing and frustrating!
To have the power of the Spirit of God available to us; the wisdom of His eternal perspective written out for us; and our greatest debt paid for us; and yet to see so many who live lives as paupers is downright discouraging!
To know that you have real answers to the problems people deal with, only to see people follow worldly lies and the desires from their flesh is depressing!
To be treated as though you are judgmental and that because you strive to live by a holy standard you think you are better is exasperating!
I understand and have a great appreciation for Jeremiah’s plight when he stated in Jeremiah 20:9 that if he claimed he would not remember the LORD or speak anymore in His name that it felt as though his heart was a burning fire even into his bones! Sometimes it feels like it would just be easier to keep the Good News to myself and let people face the consequences of their choices; but then it feels like I will explode if I don’t try to help out!
“O, Jerusalem, Jerusalem . . .”
I understand I am not anyone’s savior! I can’t even get out of my own way and certainly have no right or business judging anyone else! I know that the job of savior is already filled by One much better qualified and adequate than myself! I do not have a “Messiah complex” (at least I don’t think I do). It is just that I cannot help myself in wanting to assist people so they see beyond the lies and junk of this world, so they will not settle for far less than the LORD has created them to be and do.
He Works Through It All
Some days it feels like all the preaching and ministry in the world will not make a real difference. Sometimes voices of discouragement and acts of unkindness are used by the evil one to bring doubt as to one’s effectiveness in the role of ministry. Yet even these things have a beauty over the long haul of ministry because they lead to deeper prayer and greater faith in the One who truly has control, rather than fooling me into thinking that I am holding the world by the tail. (Holding anything by the tail never seems to go well!)
Thank you, Garden Ridge for 8 wonderful years! I often tell people that it still feels like I am in my honeymoon because of the care and respect and love you have provided Deeann and me since we got here. We love you and hope for many more opportunities to grow together in our walk with the LORD!
All of this is why I do what I do!