March 2022 Newsletter
It’s been over 8 years for both of us since we’ve been in this position, and for some of you possibly longer. As I said last Sunday this is the first time in 8 years that I have received a call to serve any church other than the two whom I came to serve over 8 years ago. I am still in the midst of deliberation and prayer, but I thought it would be helpful to talk to you all at large about it, as I presume it is on your minds and hearts as well as you keep me in your prayers during this time. I had a conversation this week with someone that hopefully will shed some light and bring some much needed comfort and clarity.
How things have been for the last couple of days? I can safely say that I’ve been able to relate to the apostle Paul when he says to “pray without ceasing” in a more direct way than I ever have before. There’s been plenty of times in each of our lives where we’ve had periods of time where my prayers were fairly constant and intense, but this has been for me a very different thing where it is constantly on my mind and since conversation with God is prayer, I would say that I’m pretty constantly in prayer. I’m sure that many of you have gone through similar periods of intensity and constant prayer in your lives and can relate with your own fervency of spirit.
Neither closeness nor commitment negate the reality of walking through this process. Whether you are a member, a student, a parent, some combination, or someone outside, it’s on the mind, and in the prayers of each of us. And if I can’t make it rain or snow or not, by virtue of my prayers as a pastor (regardless of how many famers or students have asked over the years), then it means that your prayers and your calling out for your hope that the will of God will align with your desires is just as valid as anybody else who is praying during this time. Don’t sell yourself short, because even the prophets exhorted the people to prayer with the hope that God would answer his people for “the good” and not just their good. Joel 2:14 reminds the people in the midst of their repentance, “Perhaps/who knows? (God) may relent/grant you a reprieve and leave a blessing behind/in His wake.”
Because even though I talk about it having been 8 years, time is a funny thing. It’s a weird construct because we always think we have more of it, and we always seem to regret our use of it. Even this process ‘time’ will tell. The will of God will be done, and because there are two very different groups of people, with two very different desired outcomes, it means that one group’s desire for the will of God will not conform to what the will of God will actually end up being. It is why prayer is encouraged not just for my family but also for the churches here and there. But to go back to the idea of time, at one point or another, or at many points in our lives, we all end up in the words of Moses in Psalm 90 when he says “teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Or the similar idea from Solomon in Ecclesiastes when he talks about there being a “time for all things under heaven,” and through that book as he encourages us to find joy in the days that God has given to us.
Thank you for keeping my ministry and my family in your prayers, especially during this time. Thank you to all of you for reaching out to me. The many of you who have told me how much I matter to the churches and school humbles me. I am thankful for that humbling. For as much as I have been built up in the last few days and am truly thankful for all that many of you have said, what God is doing is humbling me as he reminds me again that I am His servant to His people. The last part of the phrase is key for you. You are His people, as are the people in Missouri. He has promised to never leave or forsake us. He has shown the greatness of His love for us in His Son, and He continues to pour out that love to us in Word, in Sacrament, in prayer and conversation, even and especially now. May we each learn and grow from this time, benefit from it, and as in all things be drawn closer to Him who is our Rest or Peace, our Strength and Comfort.
I pray that through this your families and the faith of each of you would also be spurred on to greater steadfastness and vitality.
in His service,