I am sitting at my desk and chair at the church I’ve served for 9 years for the last time. The hugs and goodbyes have been heartfelt and encouraging as we step into this new challenge in downtown L.A. I couldn’t help but be nostalgic as I sorted through books and files that I’ve collected while pastoring here.
One paper I came across was 15 years old. It was my application essay for Fuller Seminary’s MDiv program that I applied to in 1996. What struck me was my description of the ministry I served at that time as the College Director for Bel Air Presbyterian in Los Angeles. Back in the spring of 1996 when I wrote the essay there were about 100-200 of us who gathered each Sunday night for worship, teaching, prayer and fellowship that I helped build as a volunteer. What I didn’t know at the time was that the following fall when I would come on staff full-time, it would miraculously swell to 400 students coming each week. It was nothing that I necessarily did except to continue to be faithful as a leader of God’s people and to do my best to help each student grow in their relationship with the Lord and understanding of God’s big kingdom picture.
What an encouragement it was to me to remember God’s faithfulness 15 years ago to bless a ministry in numbers and spiritual vitality. Those were very good times of God’s unexpected blessings. I am praying and dreaming for a portion of that blessing as I serve Union Church of Los Angeles in the coming years. Our God is faithful to finish the work that He began in each one of us and I believe that applies to me and my family right now and our churches as well. I am praying for God’s blessing as I begin my new ministry this weekend to a new group of parishioners who have already welcomed our family even though we don’t know exactly what lies ahead. Thank you for all of your prayers for us in our new adventure. Lord, give us Your dreams!