I’m not really one for musicals. I have only seen one Broadway play in my life. Lauren wanted to go since she was in drama in High school. It was West Side Story. It was not the play Rent. I have no desire to see Rent. But today the lyrics of a song from Rent called Season of Love are bouncing around in my head.
“Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes…How do you measure a year?”
A lot can happen in a year.
A lot has happened in the last year myself, Lauren, Emry, and Roman.
The most nervous I have ever been to preach a sermon was my first one at my first church, First Baptist Church in San Luis Obispo, CA. The second most nervous I have been to preach a sermon was at Faith Baptist Church in Statesville NC on October 9th 2016, exactly one year ago today. I remember being at the church early and feeling like maybe I wanted to throw up. Was this going to be the end of a long journey for me and my family?
So that day, one year ago, I managed not to throw up and preach a decent message. I have preached better messages since then. I have probably preached worse messages since then (though I will never admit that). After I gave the message at the 11am service I was asked to step out of the worship center of the church. Lauren and I took the kids up to the playground on the church grounds. The members of Faith Baptist were equipped with information about me and my beliefs, a message they had just heard (plus others they had access to), and the belief of the Ministry Leadership Team that God was calling me to be their pastor. They were going to vote on whether they were affirming this call. So, I swung on a swing while a church voted on whether my life was going to turned upside down.
I think it was Pastor Tim who called us in. We walked through the back door of the church and the Ministry Leadership Team of Alan, Andy, and Tim stopped me on the platform space between the two sets of stairs in the back of the church.
“You got 98% of the vote. You are our new pastor.” I wept openly. I think it freaked them out.
A flood of emotions from a difficult year and a half of my life poured out of me. Leading up to this vote I had spent that year and a half trusting that God was faithful and he was going to lead me where I needed to be. I could not see the end of the road I was on. He did. He was faithful.
God led me here. God is good.
I composed myself and dried my eyes before I entered the worship center again. I could not have my new church thinking I am a crier. So there, I stood before my future friends, ministry partners, and people I will worship with and I probably said some words. They were probably gibberish. But that morning a church trusted God, their leadership, and a man from California.
North Carolina has been good to me, to Lauren, to Emry, and to Roman. Sure there times where it is different and we struggle with that but I overwhelmingly still believe the same thing that I felt on that platform space between the two sets of stairs in the back of the church.
God led me here. God is good.
Thank you, Faith, for this year. I look forward to the many more to come.