Well, we made it to Pennsylvania. Natalie and I completed the final leg of the journey northward last weekend after spending some time with my parents in South Carolina. We drove through the night on Friday and arrived in Pennsylvania last Saturday morning, spending the bulk of Saturday resting and recouping. We were blessed, however, by several visitors who have already made us feel at home.
Around the age of nineteen, Jonathan Edwards, perhaps the greatest American theologian who has ever lived began recording what would eventually amount to seventy resolutions that would go on to define the rest of his ministerial career. Though I will never equate the theological prowess or eloquence Edwards displays throughout his evangelistic life, I am, nonetheless, determined to resolve myself to the Lord’s Spirit and grace for the duration of my ministry.
I am a mere month away from entering my first post as a senior pastor. Last week, that reality felt months and months away. Now, it feels more imminent than ever. For a while now, my wife and I have tried to make sense of our feelings as we entertain this significant season of transition in our lives, explaining our emotions as some strange amalgamation of nervous excitement.
Integral to one’s understanding the book of Acts is a working knowledge of Luke’s intent in the account of his Gospel. In the preface to his Gospel, Luke writes that he is desirous that one named Theophilus might “know the certainty of the things about which you have been instructed.” (Luke 1:3–4) The rest of the Lukan account revolves around this premise.
For the last several years, the persistent call on my life has been to spend and be spent for Christ. I have rarely done this vocationally, only volitionally and voluntarily, as the gospel has become increasingly precious to me. This has also taken a number of varying forms throughout the years, with mostly me divvying up my time.
This past Sunday, I was ordained as a Baptist minister of the gospel by my sending church, Beacon Baptist Church. I have been called to serve Grace Baptist Church of Southwest Ranches, Florida, under the shepherding of Pastor Jay Hartzell. I am humbled by the seriousness of this call and the urgency of the message with which I have been entrusted.
Perhaps the harshest word we ever hear growing up is also one of the shortest: “No.” “No” is a small word that packs an enormous amount of power. It has the ability to both prevent and protect. Growing up, we almost singularly see the prevention side of this command, seeing “no” as merely a barrier hemming us in.