Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A New Thing

There’s been a lot going on in my life – enough to change the title of this blog – and as a result I haven’t posted a blog in over a month.  At the conclusion of last Tuesday evening’s Session meeting one of our elders asked me, “What are you hearing from God?“  I wasn’t ready to answer and “not so artfully” tried to dodge his question with my response.  But here’s a version of the “answer” that I began to share yesterday.

For the last six months I have been diligently and prayerfully engaged in what I can only describe as a season of intense wrestling with God as I’ve sought to discern what He is saying to me and to His church. I’ve sought the counsel of family, friends and mentors and devoted myself to hearing His voice amidst what at times seems like a cacophony of voices. The wrestling has been painful but it has brought me closer to Jesus and better able to discern His voice and call. 

Ultimately it became clear that God is calling me to a future beyond Grace Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church (USA). So yesterday I resigned from my position as Pastor of Grace and, after 18 years, set aside my ordination in the PC (USA). It’s a decision that comes with lots of emotions, but I am convinced that this is God’s calling and fully trust that it is part of His plan for me. I still love and I am called to serve the church, therefore I’ve accepted an invitation as Senior Pastor of a non-denominational church in Birmingham, Alabama. 

The last six years at Grace have been among the most significant in my life. The friendship, faithfulness, support and encouragement that so many have so generously offered have been blessings that are impossible to describe. Together we have laughed and cried, faced hurricanes and weathered countless other “storms.” I am grateful for the privilege of serving as the pastor of Grace. I love this church and I am thankful for every experience we shared. 

I leave confident that God has blessed Grace with an amazingly gifted staff and extraordinary elders and deacons and I know that their wisdom and faithfulness will provide exceptional leadership in the days ahead.

In moments when we are not sure of all that is ahead we place our confidence in God’s promises. He will continue the good work that He has begun in Grace and in me. I am convinced that there are greater things ahead as we remain committed to His vision to introduce Jesus Christ and His love and life to the world wherever we are serving in His Kingdom.. 

Handwritten inside the cover of my Bible is this promise from Isaiah 43: 19

See I am doing a new thing.  Now it springs up.  Do you not perceive it?

I look forward to living into His new things.  To the glory of God!