Before Jess and I entered our calling at East Lanier Community Church we took some time off and enjoyed our families in Wiscounsin and Clearwater Beach. This gave us the opportunity to not only enjoy some much need rest and play but also to be near our home church families. Before we packed up from Phily I had all the pastors I interned with for four years (Mike Hollenbach, Ron Lutz, Jerry Fourroux, and Corby Sheilds) write some exhortations under a picture of us together and I had the pastors I interned with for four years in Fl (Randy Evans and Heath Watson) do this as well. I did this because I didn’t want people walking into my office looking at a Seminary degree on the wall and thinking that’s where I learned to how to pastor (though I learned immeasurable leasons there)…to be quite real the most important lessons I learned wasn’t in the classroom but rather in the the day to day affairs of Grace Christian Fellowship and New Life Dresher. Now when anyone walks into my office the first thing they’ll see is a Seminary degree crowded in by living witnesses, by part of the journey of how I came to be the pastor I am.

Maybe its silly to care about this decor piece yet I can’t help notice immediately whats sitting behind the desk of pastors I’ve visited. Make no mistake its not just for the visitors no its first and foremost for me. To be reminded by these faithful servants what the call of God requires upon my life, to hear from each of them specific exhortations that they believe I as an individual needed to hear daily.

One in particular has been upon my mind this first week, “watch your life and doctrine closely, for by this you will save yourself and your hearers.” 1 Tim 4:16. I think I’ve been more mindful than usual about all the impressions and lessons my life is teaching those around me. I pray that the Lord would help me watch both these things closely, that he would mature me in both and give me the boldness to bear a good testimony and example before my brothers and sisters. That I wouldn’t just be known for doctrinal clarity and fidelity but be known for my mercy and love, my graciousness and soberness.

I would dispair at such a station if I didn’t have the other teaching of Paul throughout 1 Timothy, that teaching which makes it clear that to be called is to be gifted by His Spirit for such a place. It is the resurrection power of the Son living in me, His Spirit that assures me that I will make a saving impact on lives in the midst of all my blunders and short-cummings. As I take these first steps in ministry I remember the One who has called me, the One who has gone on before me, and the One who now abides within me…