Tomorrow will be my 46th birthday. Hard to imagine. The first week of January holds a lot of meaning for me. Not only does my birthday occur during that time but my wedding anniversary also. January 7th will be 25 years of marriage. I look back at those wedding pictures and am amazed how young we looked. Well, we were so young.
This week is also the week which I started at two of the churches I have served. It was Sunday, January 3rd, yes, my birthday, when I started as the youth pastor with the first church I served, First Evangelical Free Church of Grand Rapids, MI. That was a whirlwind romance. Even though I wasn’t paid for the first 18 months, what I still find amazing is that that church voted to call me to serve without ever meeting me. They voted based upon the recommendation of the senior pastor, Rev. Dr. Fred Moore (who became my mentor in ministry and I very much am the type of pastor I am due to him) and the chair of the board of elders.
My first Sunday in Fort Dodge, to begin serving First Baptist as its next pastor, was also my birthday 2010.
So, this first week of January always causes me to think back over the years in a variety of ways. It is amazing to think of the journey my Papa has taken me on over the past two decades: 4 churches and 3 states. A wife who, despite all of my shortcomings, has always been supportive, and sometimes a driving force when I needed it, as God has moved us to each place.
And, I do not think it is an overstatement to say that, over the past 4 years, I have done the most growing in the area of my understanding of my Papa, His ways, and His word. I am at a place right now that even 4 years ago I never thought possible. My spiritual understanding has gone deeper than ever before, and as I go deeper, I continue to realize exactly how much deeper is the depths of who my Papa is.
What does 2014 hold? I don’t know, but I’m looking forward to it and this time next year looking back at the continued growth in many areas.