Last week I wrote about the renewed call that I felt moving within me, and about the stirrings of thoughts and prayers within my being to return again to active ministry. It has been a year and a half since I was felled by my heart attacks and the following surgery. I no longer think that I could drop at any minute. The Lord has given me confidence. A year of running on a treadmill has helped. Preaching at other churches has helped.
The call to find a new place to do regular ministry (perhaps a new angle on ministry) gets louder and louder. I am lucky enough in my denomination to have a counselor, an adviser called Dan Clites, who is a pastor in LCMC (my denomination) who helps with new church plantings. I like that idea, but ... building a church from the ground up might be vainglory however — it may not be God’s will for me anyway, perhaps it is better to wait on the Lord. These doubts also flicker in me.
I do need to obey God and ensure I take a Sabbath, a day of rest and prayer and reflection to gaze into God’s word and only partake of God’s activity. Otherwise things will be short-lived, and I might be too. But it is God’s business and I will wait on his time. I trust I am in his care — as long as I listen to him!
I am 62 now, and in just a few months I will be able to look at some options for slowing down my other life — my working life elsewhere — and devoting myself to building the church that is not yet visible.
I plan to make the focus of my work, the sowing of the seed corn, which is the preaching of the word, not just in Sunday sermons but broader — broadcasts, podcasts, broadsheets and stories. God sets spiritual fires where his word is sown to warm the hearts of his people.
I love to preach, because it comes as new to me too when it takes place. When I preach, the Word reveals itself in new colors. It is not me but him who speaks. I hear new things when my ears are opened to his word.
“Behold,” says Jesus, “I bring fire down to earth.” The fire of Word and Spirit. What else can matter as much as this. It is the best job in the world!
Emmanuel. God with us.
I would like to stay in the eastern side of Oregon and help the growth of a Christian population there. People are honest, hardworking and creative. When the earth moves down at the coast, and it will, and the sea will drive inland for a while, Eastern Oregon will become more established and dense. A natural flux of people will arrive, and the agricultural strengths of the land will become more and more significant to our state.
The Christian strengths of Eastern Oregon will be doubled as the population increases and people come to new beginnings here. The racial mixes will be benign and rich in Christian fellowship. A microcosm of the true American promise of spirituality.
God’s work will be to grow holy souls for the people here and create a holy land of God’s promise. Let us do this together!
Colin Brown is the former pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Boardman. Drop him a line at email@example.com