The first Sunday in August marked my fifth anniversary as your pastor. This has caused me to spend a few weeks reflecting on our past five years together. I was a young man, not quite thirty years old, eager to apply the education that I had worked so hard to attain, eager to utilize God's call on my life, and you were a congregation wondering what you had gotten yourselves into with this bearded fellow. We have had some incredible moments together though.
I can't help but remember unloading a moving truck on Monday and then spending the rest of my first week with a grieving family as one of my deacons left this life for the next that Wednesday. Oh, how I wished I could have known him better. My first sermon as pastor was actually for his funeral. That launched what would be a busy first year getting to know our local funeral homes. But God proved his faithfulness to me. I really didn't know what I was doing but God's grace was so sufficient and he taught me how to honor the life of the deceased, and how to honor Him.
I remember wondering what I was going to do on my one-year anniversary when our treasurer informed me that we were broke and she couldn't write my check. I'm not sure why, but my mind immediately resolved that I would begin delivering pizzas. (I still think that would be a great way to get to know the community.) But God proved his faithfulness to this congregation over the next few months as he brought financially gifted folks to join our congregation. God graciously brought us through that financial valley and by the spring of the next year we were much more secure. In fact, God used that moment for his glory in that he led us to adopt the usage of an actual finance committee; a committee that has proved to be very effective and very beneficial for our church.
Do you remember the first Trunk-or-Treat we hosted? We showed up at the church at 4:00pm on October 31st in the freezing rain and sleet. I can remember the few that showed up looking at me, asking with their eyes when I would cancel the event. I didn't know what to do. I was so nervous about that decision. Do we stand in the rain and probable snow that would come? Or do we go home and sit by the fire? We chose to stand in the weather and give candy to the kids of our community, nearly 300 of them! God showed us to trust him, even when circumstances were not ideal.
Or what about the first time we hosted a Broyhill cottage for Christmas? I didn't really know what to expect when those high school girls showed up at the church that night. What would they say? Would they feel welcomed here? Would th