Anniversaries, Gratitude, and World Changing Events…

Instead of a weekly thought this week, I have some weekly thoughts that I hope link together:

Anniversaries:  As you know, this month marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the Wittenburg Church door in Germany.  In case you were ever wondering why we do a German Theme every October for our fellowship meal, it is in remembrance of what is considered the start of the Protestant Reformation in Germany.  Each year as we celebrate Reformation Day on October 31st we remember a monk in Germany whose ideas not only changed the church but also changed the world.

This month also marks my second anniversary of being installed as your pastor on October 3, 2015, and next month marks our third anniversary of the day we arrived in New Jersey on November 6, 2014 to begin our new life here.  That brings me to …

Gratitude: What a blessing it was to have you in your home this past Sunday for the fellowship meal.  Those of you who were unable to make it, you were missed.  Each year the German recipes get better and better.  Our family is blessed that you called me to be your Pastor and we were able to move across the country.  People think I am strange when I say that I am living the dream on the Jersey Shore, but I am so grateful for your love and friendship and your kind comments and the expression of love and support at the fellowship meal on Sunday.  I still remember spending my first 10 days in New Jersey in the summer of 2014.  I fell in love with the place and the people.  You invited my family back to spend several days with you at the end of August.  And then I made one final trip back in October of 2014 (another anniversary) to be examined by the Presbytery of New Jersey in Theology.  I remember how nervous I was because I wanted the job of being your Pastor and being a Pastor in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church more than I had every wanted any other job in my life and I didn’t want to let all of you down by not passing my exams.  I remember weeping tears of joy in the back of a church in north Jersey after that exam as I was overwhelmed.  And that brings me to the final point…

World Changing Events:  Martin Luther definitely changed the church and the world in the 1500’s.  The church has never been the same.  This month as we have been looking at the blessings of Scripture, Faith, Grace and also over the next two weeks, the blessing of Christ and to God’s Glory Alone we see that these doctrines that were re-discovered changed hearts and lives and still do so today.

You also have changed our lives.  Just a few short years ago I was living in Wyoming and never ever thought I’d leave the western United States.  In fact, in praying about all the open pulpits in the spring of 2014, I prayed, “Lord, anywhere but Brick, New Jersey.”  God in His providence heard my prayer and changed my life for the better.  I am thankful that a group of Christians in Brick, New Jersey has changed my life and broadened my world and has helped me to be a better Pastor and husband and father.  One by one as our relationships grow the world is changed.  May God’s kingdom expand here on the Jersey Shore as the Gospel goes forth.  Pray that more people would come to know Christ and the power of the Gospel.  Pray that God would add to our number and to His Kingdom, and not just to the particular body meeting at 307 Mantoloking Road, but around us and around the world.