The wise king once wrote, “Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring.” Solomon’s statement found in Proverbs 27:1 is only one among many cautions in scripture about forecasting the future. Our futures down hear are as reliable as a vanishing mist while our present moments lack perspective and therefore should not be assumed to be fully understood. The past, however, is much safer territory to expound upon. Today I stand at a milestone with the flock entrusted to me and I feel that I am at a gate – my last step looks back over the previous ten years of serving as Meadow’s pastor while the next step peeks into the upcoming span of time which awaits us. Forgive my nostalgia but I’m not trying to suppress it today. This is our tenth anniversary and I’m so grateful for God gracing me with the privilege of tending to this flock.
Admittedly, I wasn’t ready to pastor when God opened the door for me to do so. Several people lovingly shared with me their concern that I wasn’t equipped for this noble task. A handful of others shared this same thing with me, but absent of the love. I remember one man set a ticking timer on my future and said I wouldn’t make it eighteen months as a pastor – now that will bless your heart, won’t it? Looking back I see that God gave grace for me not to react to their statements but to commit to doing what He had sovereignly ordained as my work in those days. So I became a shepherd at age 32 and began to do the work assigned to me. God placed it in my heart to lead this highly traditional church to become a passionately biblical church. He called me to a ministry of reformation and graced me to begin by leading people via expositional teaching of His book. The Word began to do the work that God promises it will do. We saw amazing results in those days and it was not too long before we could say that we were a New Testament assembly more so than a Baptist church in the Deep South. Some people were not happy with me as I engaged in the practice of sacred-cow tipping. Meadow would no longer be about dress codes & approved clothing styles, tightly held musical preferences, 17th century English translations of the sacred text… instead we began to hunger for Christ, His truth and the liberty He died to impart to us. We looked at all things through the lens of Scripture and welcomed changes if they served the truth. Yes, brothers and sisters, we risked it and God blessed it. I have no regrets about having obeyed the call to challenge the status quo and passionately call God’s people to abandon dead Southern traditions and seek the Son of God as He reveals Himself in the Word. Sweetly and strongly, we have changed together and grown together.
When the dust settled two years ago and there were no more hills to conquer as pertains to reforming Meadow from a legalistic assembly to a liberated one, I began to sense God working deeply in my heart to now transform us into a loving, sacrificial family with a broken heart for others. The rubble took eight years to clear out and the way was now open for Gospel work of the highest order. Putting my hand to this plow, I am learning that reformation is a much easier work than this more recent aim of our King for the Meadow Family. Christ-love is hard -it cost Him His very life. Brokenness, spiritual thirst, humility and perseverance are constantly required and I have learned how desperately I need to personally grow in this area. Preaching about abandoning oneself comes more easily than actually doing it. How gracious of God to have sent some 250+ new people from all walks of life to Meadow in the last four years to help us in this highest call to sacrificially love others. Some of you were born for this and you are mightily used of God to help those of us for whom this does not come easily. It is my opinion that, should our Lord tarry, the next decade together will prove much more substantial than our first. You see…
…we are about to encounter trouble in this nation. Troubled people need answers. Troubled people look for a place to run. Would it not be a good thing for them to run to Meadow?
…we are about to find deeper persecution of the church. Many superficial Christians will not continue with us. Some will discover their faith has been a sham. The ones who endure will need a strong, loving Christian family. Would it not be a good thing for them to encounter that at Meadow?
…my children’s generation will need to be prepared to endure and overcome. My generation is being called of God to equip them and model it for them. Would it not be a lasting work for Meadow to be one of those equipping churches?
…the American church will be weaned of its addiction to materialism. We will learn what is essential to Kingdom advancement and what is not. Meadow may lose some things to gain better ones. I’m up for that if God be for us.
…I hazard this opinion: I believe I will see the return of Jesus Christ in my lifetime. You also may be alive at this great event. He once asked if we would have faith when He returns. Will we?
Meadow Family, your pastor is more resolute than ever. This resolve is already being tested as hell fights and the world lies to us and tells us there is no hope for revival. I pray that you and I, those now with us and those who will come in the future will be committed to put away petty, selfish and superficial living. Our brother Paul told us that a full commitment of the entirety of our lives is the only reasonable response to the mercy that has been shown us in Christ (Romans 12:1-2). Will you join me in a reasonable abandoning of your life for His cause? Time? Effort? Money? Heart?
I do not intend to come up short. Let us move forward together. Let’s begin today.