End of Summer Update

I’ve been blogging here since January of 2009 and this past summer, actually most of this year, has been by far the least active I’ve been in posting.  It isn’t that I’ve forgotten about blogging, nor have I lost a passion for writing and communicating God’s Word with people all over the world.  In fact, I’ve written several posts that I’ve not published and have had numerous post ideas that I simply haven’t brought to fruition.  I don’t usually talk about myself in posts, leaving them largely devoted to exposition of God’s Word or addressing current worldview issues, but as a result of my recent blogging silence, I felt I should at least provide an update to those who frequent this site and those whose web searches so often wind up here.

This year has been an interesting and challenging year for me.  God has used it largely to teach, prune, and shape me for His future use.  After having stepped into an interim youth ‘pastor’ position at my local church in early 2011, this past fall I was informed that the church would be seeking to fulfill the position at the pastoral level and would require a seminary trained man with more years of experience than I had.  I don’t think this came as a surprise to me, but more so created questions in my mind about what direction God would be leading me next.  I felt I had been obedient and submissive to Him in fulfilling this ministry role, even to the point of offering to leave my current job to fill this youth pastor vacancy, if that be God’s will.  Clearly it wasn’t.  It took until April of this year (2012) to fill that position and as the time drew closer, my anxiety levels rose.  Anxiety over what you may ask?  I’m not certain, other than I know it was somehow tied to ministry and that in “losing” that ministry it somehow made me feel as though God was finished with me or no longer had anything for me to do.  I suppose a close analogy would be Elijah retreating to the caves upon realizing that God had not worked in the way he expected or hoped.  A valuable lesson indeed, one that I continue to learn as I repent and confess my anxiety that is largely a lack of faith in God and His plans for me, whatever they may be.  One sermon that God used to especially help me was that of Ligon Duncan’s preached at the Together for the Gospel Conference earlier this year.  I commend it to you here: The Underestimated God

In addition to this transition out of a particular ministry, it left a large void (which I’m sure aided my anxiety).  But the Lord is faithful.  I’ve long felt that this transition would be one marked with a kind of “infilling”, meaning that I had spent so many years pouring into others, that I needed to have an opportunity to be poured into.  Largely, God often does this through mentorship and fellowship of other believers, i.e. discipleship.  This is precisely what He has done.  Nearly corresponding to my last teaching day in youth ministry, my wife and I were invited to be a part of a local Bible study held at the home of a local area pastor.  Needless to say it was the right plan at the right time, not surprising that God would work that way right?  In this fellowship, we have been studying Ezekiel and I have already learned so much from not only the leader but the other men and women in the study.  Additionally, the study of Ezekiel, combined with a study of Mark’s Gospel I lead in my place of work, has really served to educate me on the Old Testament, as well as the New Testament’s use of the OT.  One individual study that I was assigned from Ezekiel was an exposition of the phrase/title, Son of Man, specifically as it relates to Ezekiel and then broadly as a biblical theme.  What a joy it was to dig into God’s Word for a gem such as that.  Perhaps, in God’s providence, He may one day allow me to publish a small write-up of my exposition.

So that’s this past year in a nutshell; transitions, change, pruning, repentance, faith, and the faithfulness of God.  What’s next?  Well remember I said I felt like this year would be one of “infilling”.  God, in His goodness, has allowed me the opportunity to pursue a seminary degree from the Midwest Center for Theological Studies http://www.mctsowensboro.org/  Lord willing, I will pursue a Master of Arts in Theological Studies.  If you feel so inclined, I would greatly cherish your prayers.  So what about blogging?  It is not something that I want to totally eliminate as of yet.  I have a great passion for writing and I know that there are a good deal of people who have questions about the Bible, need encouragement, or need a to see a particular worldview through the lens of Scripture.  Hopefully the Lord keeps that passion alive in me and allows me the opportunity to continue to post when time allows.

So that’s my year to date.  It would encourage my soul greatly to hear back from any of you that have followed this blog or have stumbled upon posts via Google search and have been blessed, encouraged, or challenged in your thinking.

In Christ Alone,

John

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