UPDATE: I just want to thank all of you on Luke’s behalf for your phone calls of concern since circumstances beyond our control made him unable to attend the conference. Such is life in the pastorate! More than anything, I think it is important we communicate that we don’t begrudge staying behind when God has made it evident there is critical ministry taking place at home.

Luke will die when he reads this but I don’t hesitate to equate his investment into the lives of people to that of Paul who said in 2 Cor. 11:28-29, “And besides those things that are without, there is the daily [inescapable pressure] of my care and anxiety for all the churches! Who is weak, and I do not feel [his] weakness? Who is made to stumble and fall and have his faith hurt, and I am not on fire [with sorrow or indignation]?” (Amplified)

If he weren’t equally invested in our own family, I might feel neglected but though it may be most times to his detriment, he refuses to allow me or his kids to feel second place. It’s important to me that anyone who knows us knows this about him. He’s the same man at home that you see in the church house and I’m so proud to call him mine. So again, thank you for your calls but please don’t consider him pitiful….consider him joyfully doing that to which he was called.

{However, while we are on the subject, he could use your prayers as could the multiple unspoken situations that God is fully aware of.}

****************************************************************

I’m waiting for the dryer to chime telling me Luke’s jeans are done so I can put the finishing touches on his suitcase. He and 40+ men from our church and community are going to Woodstock Baptist a little later this morning for the Temptation Island Conference. I get very sentimental this time of year because it is through this particular event and a long-time friendship that Luke was connected with the congregation we now serve.

Back in 2005, our great friend Maury called me to invite Luke to come along to the conference. Maury and his wife Kim were some of our best ‘couple’ BFF’s in our pre-Jesus days but since we had lived out of town for much of our born again years, we hadn’t seen each other in quite some time. I assured him that Luke had nothing to do that weekend and not to dare listen if he tried to turn him down. {Luke is quite the homebody and doesn’t go anywhere without being compelled no matter how much he knows he would enjoy the trip.}

Luke said yes. He didn’t have much choice since I had his bag packed before we could really talk about it. I knew he needed some refreshment and I was all too happy for him to visit Woodstock since he, like me, esteems Dr. Hunt highly. I took Luke to meet Maury and I’ll never forget the words out his mouth:

“Our church is looking for a pastor you know..”

And I knew. Right that instant. You PW’s out there may can testify to the ‘oughtness’ that comes over you sometimes when opportunity is presented. I immediately knew in my Spirit we would end up serving that body even though several months passed before this was confirmed. I don’t believe in coincidence and I know God used Luke’s relationship with Maury to direct us exactly where He meant for us to be.

In reality, not only has orchestrating our current pastorate been on God’s mind from eternity past, it has been brewing in Earth time for the past 20 years. I am freshly blown away by the premeditative mind of God each Sunday as Kim and I look onto the stage and see our husbands with songbooks and Bibles in their hands instead of a Budweiser (or Milwaukee’s Best depending on how cash-strapped we were. Actually that was most of the time?) There was a day I would have expected the roof to split wide open if we all walked into a church. Now there would be collective wonder if all our seats were empty. Wow.

And that’s what this time every year feels like all over again. It is a reminder of the oughtness of our call here. It’s a remembering of the click of the key in the lock. It’s hearing freshly the creak of the door when it opened. We belong in this place and this morning I am grateful all over again that God saw fit to send our friends to show us the way home.

With all that said, if you think of it, please pray for our guys and the 8000+ others who will be at the conference this weekend. {Are any of your hubbies going?} That they will not be as those in 2 Timothy 3 who are ‘ever learning but never coming to the full knowledge of truth.’ For our men and all those in attendance, may what goes into your heart come out through your hands. May lives be changed to the glory of God and the redemption of generations to come.

p.s. Maury, you just called. I was writing this beforehand so don’t think I just fabbed it up because of how sweet you are to Kim and me..:))

Advertisements