in From the Pastor

Gathering Gratitude

I am not responsible for me. This statement could be understood in a number of ways. Most commonly today, it could express the idea that I should not be held accountable for my actions perhaps because forces outside my control are compelling me or perhaps because I am a victim or perhaps because I don’t think I should have to endure the consequences of my own actions. I’m glad to say that none of these are the correct explanation of my opening sentence.

So what do I mean? Though provocatively stated, I simply mean that many other people are the reason for any good that might be attributed to me. Obviously, God is the chief giver of all that is good, but in his providence he has used numerous people in my life to change me and make me into the person I am today. Whatever anyone might think of my preaching, for instance, I know that I am a better preacher today than I would otherwise be because a pastor in Coventry, UK took me on as an intern at his church for a summer.

Another friend of mine began challenging me decades ago to read authors I would never have considered, and to this day continues to encourage me not only to read widely, but to read with consideration for other points of view, to say nothing of reading in subject areas in which my ignorance is astounding. Still other friends remain quiet examples of extraordinary Christ-likeness. The manner in which they live and love others amazes me and is a perpetual reminder of who I am not, and a gentle prompt of how I might be different if I would only allow God’s Spirit greater reign in my life.

Along these same lines, another one of God’s acts of grace to me is the people here at Christ Baptist Church. I was poignantly reminded of this just a few days ago when we had our first ever family gathering as part of the business meeting. How wonderful to move from table to table speaking with people in our church family who were enjoying friendship and fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ. These are the moments and events in our church that propel us forward in growing in community.

In this vein of gratitude for people God has placed around me, I am thankful for those who worked diligently to put our family gathering together. I know many hands went into making the evening a success, but chief among them was Kim Faucette and Andy Duke. Kim worked during the previous week to ensure everything took place smoothly and efficiently, and it did. Andy was responsible for many hours of video recording and editing to present us with our first ever pre-departure short-term missions videos. Thanks to both of these servants and to all who came for taking the time to celebrate God’s work of Loving, Growing and Sending at Christ Baptist.