The Journey Continues
This is a post about my friend, my pastor, my mentor, my nephew-by-marriage, Alex. Yesterday marked the last Sunday of his family attending Journey Church before they move to Oklahoma City. Next week would be three years since I was ordained at Journey Church and I have been serving alongside Alex for that time as well as the three years before becoming a pastor. How we have grown together … How our wives have grown together … How a stronger relationship with Jesus makes for a stronger relationship between those following Him. Doing ministry is a gift, but doing ministry together is a special gift.
In yesterday’s message to the Journey family, I was talking about “remembering.” Specifically how remembering is used in the Bible – some 240 times. The Lord had downloaded to my heart a message about how remembering Him and His works compels us to action. We took Communion as part of that message – “do this in remembrance of me,” were the words of Jesus. Remembering Him and His work on the Cross compels to act. I was led to the description in God’s Word at Colossians 3 – there are 17 verses there that are such clear instructions for us today. In particular, passages like,
- “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth,”
- “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you…,”
- “… put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator,”
- “And above all these put on love …,”
- “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.”
I need to commit all 17 of those verses to memory and then pray through them for myself every single day. That’s how Jesus’ work on the Cross compels me to act.
As I remember my ministry years with Alex, that too compels me to act. But first, what is it that I remember?
- He always spoke to me in a way that was encouraging, affirming, and edifying.
- He always looked to God’s Word for the answers.
- He always pressed on, feeling blessed and honored to be leading God’s flock.
- He always shared God’s Word, without compromise.
So how do those remembrances compel me to act?
- Trust God. There are so many things that I don’t know about what’s next, but I know the one thing that matters – God wants me at Journey Church.
- Pursue Jesus. He is giving me one step at a time. That makes for a poor chess player, but in fact is the only way to follow Him. Ask Him everyday what’s next.
- Praise God. I am so incredibly blessed and I see that clearer with each passing day. I thank God for what He has done, is doing, and will do in and through me.
- Pray to God. “Pray without ceasing” means to open up the dialog with the Lord when I wake up and keep it open and active all day long.
- Obey God. Follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, especially when His voice is contrary to my own, and I can’t explain it.
I could go on and on with remembrances and compelling actions. In some ways it feels like the journey of a lifetime has been lived in the last six years. I will miss my friend, Alex, dearly. I will miss Jill. I will miss Amelia and Sydney. I will miss the foursome of Jill + Alex and Sandi + Kevin. But I can’t be sad. I can’t want them to stay. I can’t pray for them to stay. I can’t make them feel guilty for leaving. To do any of those would fly in the face of all that we have done together and our manner of doing it – to take everything to the Lord, to seek His direction, and to follow His leading. That’s what Alex and Jill are doing. And I am compelled to do the same.
After yesterday’s message at Journey Church, and as the celebration was about to get underway, Alex spoke to the Journey family. He said the Lord led his thinking to Moses, and how God took him to the top of the mountain to see the Promised Land. Alex felt like God had done the same for him; that he wouldn’t be leading God’s flock into the Promised Land but he could see it and be assured they would arrive. As I listened, the Holy Spirit reminded me of God’s words to Joshua, giving him the secret to success – “be strong and courageous … meditate on God’s Word” (see Joshua 1:8).
Godspeed, my friend, my pastor, my mentor, my nephew. Thank you for your time, your care, your friendship, your instruction, and most of all, your unconditional love.
Loving the Journey,