I have felt for several years, in fact before my trials with cancer, that my time as Pastor of the church we had felt God called us to start was to come to an end. But I had also felt, partly because of how we started the church, that Dorinda and I shouldn’t leave our church until we knew where he wanted us to go. I prayed for God’s provision for that new location for several reasons. One, because wanted to be sure of God’s leading away from The Dalles, obviously an easy way to ascertain if you are supposed to leave some place is if you have some place that is calling you to come. Two, because we had come to The Dalles without any support or knowing anyone which made the beginning years of our church plant incredibly difficult. (In fact I had several people ask for advice on how to start a church and I told them I only knew how NOT to start one) I have often felt that was a mistake, one which I did not desire to repeat. But God seemed to have another opinion, so last week I preached my last sermon at Columbia Gorge Christian Fellowship,
While preparing for my last sermon I went to our book area of the church to look at some of the photo journals we have there in order to refresh my memory of a particular episode during our twenty-one years. In browsing through the journals it struck me just how many people lives in which my family and I were able to be part. The first wedding I conducted was before we had a regular building in which we could meet and it was for a couple who couldn’t afford to rent a space. So my wife emptied our living room….all 12×15 feet of it and turned it into a little chapel in which we conduct the service. My second wedding was done in a medium security prison visiting room and because my wife had to work, my Mother made the two hour trip with me so that she could take photos. There were vacation bible schools, an outreach event with one of the former managers of the Beatles, numerous ladies teas and potlucks and countless other gatherings. I had the chance to go to one of the most dangerous parts of India to do a conference and work in a leper colony and then become very sick from dysentery. My wife and I helped lead a team to a remote jungle area of Honduras with several other members of our church to serve a Orphanage conduct a medical clinic where there is no medical care, and which led to an illness that eventually revealed my cancer. That’s just scratching the surface of things the Lord allowed us to participate.
But now it’s time for a new season and we really have no idea what’s next. When we moved to The Dalles my only desire as Pastor was to help people see Jesus, it was very simple. Whatever the Lord has for us I believe will be just a continuation of that.