1. Monday I got to have lunch with Pastor Bob Hart, from Sonrise Bible Church in Rotterdam. Here's some of the thoughts that stood out from my time with Pastor Hart. First, was his rock-solid sense of his calling; that God has uniquely called him to this place for such a time as this and, until God releases him from that calling, he is not going anywhere.
I asked about his family - how did he find balance between pastoring his wife and kids and pastoring the church? He cautioned me against taking "work" home, but he did advise me to involve my family in my ministry, so that they could see the benefit and blessing of serving God. Powerful for me, because, to be honest, I don't want my kids to reject the church because it stole their daddy. And I left more committed than ever to choosing my family first. I am convinced that, in so doing, I would model for our men in our congregation their first priorities at home above their careers. To learn some more about Pastor Bob Hart and the ministry of Sonrise Bible Church, visit their website here.
2. Grace Road - I got a call from Kevin Maloney, the founding and Lead Pastor of Grace Road Church, a young and growing church located in the South Wedge of Rochester, NY. Temple has supported his church plant in a significant way because we believe that God is using this young man in the heart of his city. So encouraging to be a part of a great church that has a heart to plant churches. To see what is happening at Grace Road Church, or listen to a sermon from Kevin, visit their website here. The Maloney's will be with us at Temple on November 1 for a Lord's Supper service. Don't miss that one.
3. Elder Team - Thursday morning we spent nearly 2 hours discussing what the Bible says about "elders," of all things. We had done a study on Israel's OT elders and their victories and failures and were struck by Israel's leaders' failure to do the right thing in the face of opposition, their abdication of their shepherding role, and their tendency to embrace something other than the Name of the Lord as their hope. May God help these men that I serve with avoid those pitfalls. Please continue to pray for us.
4. Ephesians - I preached Sunday here at Temple on Ephesians 1:15-23, as a model for my heart in ministry here for the next season. Click here to listen to it. I'm just thrilled for the opportunity to teach through the book of Ephesians starting October 18 during the Sunday School hour in the main sanctuary at Temple. We will be recording and posting those messages online for those who are unable to attend or who are currently serving in our ministry. Please consider joining us for this study as we allow the Spirit to reveal to us the "mystery of the gospel."
This week promises to be yet another whirlwind. I've got an appointment with some local pastors from Grace Fellowship, Faith Baptist, Terra Nova, Loudonville Community Church, among others. I am humbled to think that I will be able to sit with these men and hear their counsel regarding ministry in this region. Blessed beyond belief to be part of the gospel's advance here in the Capital District. I'll be meeting with some other pastors as well later in the week, studying for my Ephesians class, and working with our team of Elders here at Temple to provide oversight to our ministry. Thank you for staying closely connected to what is happening here. Please continue to do so as we work through this season of mentorship.
Please check back often and continue to pray