I turned over the main preaching at JBC to Pastor Mike Dedera almost one year ago. There were numerous reasons, and I had mulled those over in my head for some time before I pulled the trigger on this decision. It was a very difficult one for me because I had been the pastor and preacher for JBC for the last 40 years. It was my life, my identity, my passion, my giftedness, and the activity that most caused me to feel the pleasure of God with my life. Now I teach a number of classes, follow up on new people, organize small groups, train leaders, lead the staff, and pray.
It is definitely a new chapter in my life with being in the background much more than before. I have entered into my new role with enthusiasm writing goals and establishing vision for all that I do. I am also increasing my writing ministry and attempting to expand the influence of it to many pastors around Oregon and ultimately the world if God allows and blesses. I am pressing on to do more and influence more, but I acknowledge that I do only as much as the Lord allows and gives. He is the one who opens and shuts. I pray every day begging for more, but I trust Him and commit my plans and work to Him.
Pastor Mike is leading a team from JBC on a short term mission trip to India, and I get to preach for the next 4 weeks in the main services again. I was working on my sermon today, and I couldn’t believe how nervous I was getting as a I studied and thought about this weekend. As I pray about this next 4 weeks I am asking God over and over again to help me not make this about me in my mind. Wow, it is so easy for me to slip into subtly thinking about these next 4 weeks as a performance to impress people. I don’t want to mess up what God can do through the sermons in the lives of those who attend and listen by losing His blessing and anointing because of my pride.