Good Friday to You,
That day seems like both a “lifetime ago” and “not that long ago” all at the same time. A lifetime ago, because in 2005 I was preaching in a suit and tie in front of a stained glass window… behind a huge wooden pulpit! Not that long ago, because it was a very exciting and memorable season for our church. This was our last Sunday at the “old building.” The old facility (with its 4 additions) that had served FBC of Shelburn for over 130 years was no longer able to meet our needs. So, we built a new one. Problem solved? Well… we began worshiping in the new building the very next Sunday, but we soon learned the building wasn’t our only issue.
Our Sunday morning worship attendance had grown to the point that almost everything seemed too small. We didn’t have enough Sunday School classes, volunteers, ministries, or staff. Yet, of all our limitations, my leadership was the proverbial “bottleneck.”
I was really good at pastoring a church of 100 to 200 people. And if I kept working 67 hours per week (from an actual log of a normal week that year), I could “successfully” pastor our church of just over 300 people. But, I was maxed out and not sure how to keep up. (After moving to the new building, we soon had over 400 people gathering to worship each weekend!)
During this time, we asked Dan Cash to speak to our leadership group about the changes we needed to make as we continued to grow. As a Regional Minister who worked with many churches in our area, that’s precisely what he did. All these years later, I don’t remember much of what he said, but I distinctly remember Dan saying to our group, “Michael has ‘what it takes’ to lead this church now and into the future.”
I don’t think I will ever forget that moment. A man I greatly respected publicly declaring he believed in me! Though the future looked daunting and I had much to learn, I was now ready to go! I often replay those words in my mind when facing a new challenge in ministry. I find myself thinking, “I can… because that’s the kind of pastor I’ve always been!”
I can only IMAGINE what Joshua felt when the Lord said to him, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Though Moses was now gone, though taking the Promised Land would require many battles, though there were many unknowns… God was inviting Joshua to lead His people with confidence and boldness.
These words are more than…
- “Think positive.” (…though I’m definitely a proponent of choosing positive perspectives)
- “God can do all things.” (…popularly interpreted as getting God to do what we want Him to do!)
- “God help me.” (…typically prayed after we get ourselves into a mess)
Joshua was being directed and empowered by God. That is truly the best place to be in life. Are you in “that” place? The place where you KNOW God has called you to be? The place where His presence and power rests upon you? The place where you simply CANNOT fail because the Creator of the Universe is the One who goes before you?!
This weekend, we will consider the blessing of being in that place and talk about how to stay there. We will be taking a look at the Lord’s promise to Joshua. I’m looking forward to this challenging and inspiring installment in our Follow Along series. I invite you to get a head start by reading Joshua 1:1-9. I’m truly excited about sharing God’s promises for us and our church!
Hope to see you this weekend,