Monday, February 19, 2007
A Blessed Trip to Valliant, Oklahoma
This past Lord’s Day, we woke up in the home of our friends Matt and Lisa Kennedy. We attended Grace Community Bible Church, a reformed Baptist church in Bonham, Texas. Brother Dale Sterzer had invited me to preach in his place, which I did, and which was a great blessing to me. We praised the Lord through singing, prayer, The Communion of the Lord’s Supper, and fellowship with the believers in that church.
After lunch with the Kennedys, we hit the road for the 1 ½-hour trip to Trinity Baptist Church of Valliant, OK. Brother Dale was gracious to drive us men and two of the children in his car, while the ladies and the rest of the children drove in our Suburban.
While we drove, Dale, Matt, and I listened to a sermon from Paul Washer. His cry for the authentic Gospel in the SBC is something all Baptist ministers should hear.
We arrived early at the beautiful campus of the church, and were amazed at the lovely property and buildings. Brother Wes Kenney and his sweet wife Debra invited is into their home, which they have decorated in good style, with a Native Texan theme! Kenney, Young, and Kennedy children all played together out in the beautiful sunny afternoon. Susan, Lisa, and Debra prepared a very nice supper, which we all enjoyed together.
At 6:30 we walked next door for worship. It was a nice, typical country Baptist church worship service, with prayer, lively hymn singing, and a beautifully-sung solo about Jesus’ death and resurrection.
When Brother Wes called on me to preach, I began by thanking the church for their hospitality, and for explaining what was happening. I told the people that it was a cooperative effort by several sister Baptist churches to accomplish a particularly difficult task in the Lord’s work---finding a new pastor for a church that needs one.
One of our Baptist churches in Oklahoma, searching for a pastor, had received my resume from the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, contacted me, and asked to come hear me preach. Brother Wes and Trinity Baptist Church of Valliant opened their pulpit to me, and so members of the pulpit committee traveled there to meet me and hear my preaching. Friends from Grace church in Bonham came in support. Our pastors and others from Heritage Baptist Church in Mansfield, TX, where we attend were praying for us. It was a beautiful scene of cooperation and fellowship among like-minded Christians.
I tried, with the Lord’s help, to preach the Gospel with little regard for the fact that my preaching was being evaluated by men. The text was Mark 8:31, and the main ideas were:
1) Who the Son of Man Is,
2) What He Had to Do,
3) Why He Had to Do It, and
4) What Our Response Should Be
Within a few minutes of starting, the Spirit caused me to forget the opinions of men, and preach the truth of the Scriptures as best I know it. I praise the Lord for keeping me faithful.
After the worship service, the pulpit committee members met with me for a conversation. They had questions about why I left my previous church pastorate, what I think about worship music style, and what I believe about youth ministry. We found ourselves in basic agreement on these things. I asked them questions about the previous pastor of their church, and what conflicts may have led to his resignation. They we very open and honest about the situation, which I appreciated. I expressed to them my confidence that God is sovereign over these affairs, and that we can all seek His wisdom and count on His faithfulness to lead us. We had prayer together, and left the meeting feeling blessed by the Lord bringing us together.
We listened to another good Paul Washer sermon on the way home, and arrived safely.
We should have gone to bed, as it was close to midnight, but we stayed up talking for quite a while about how to make a wise decision about accepting or not accepting a church pastorate. I finally turned in with my priceless wife in the wee hours of the morning, feeling mightily blessed of the Lord.
I thank the Lord for all the support that you friends and family have given me during this time.
May all praise and thanks be given to God, through the Son Jesus Christ!
In His grace,
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