What a year 2014 has been. Reflecting over the past year I have come to appreciate what God has accomplished through me and where I have failed on a personal level and a group level. Often, I find myself reflecting only on the negatives in hopes never to repeat but this year, and every year after, I hope to reflect on the positive so I can repeat those.
It has taken me many years and many failures to realize failing is not always a bad thing. Sure, it is never nice or pleasant at the time but afterwards there are many positives that can grow from them. The greatest thing I have learned this year was the effect one small pebble dropped into a large pond could create. I have taken this known fact for granted but not this year. It is something that has stuck with me and is laid heavily upon my heart. I will give you my example.
Somewhere toward the end of 2013 God laid it on my heart to move from my current pastorate and start a church. I shoved those ideas and thoughts far from my mind, or at least I thought so, considering them to be more of myself thinking and not God. I prayed about it and figured they would fade away. I was wrong, for several months things kept happening that should have drove any sane man away, but I continued to rationalize my feelings and thoughts. This went on several months until God started getting clearer with His message to me. He done so by using his people to tell me similar messages and I remind you I have not spoken a word to anyone about what was going on. One Sunday evening my wife and I was sitting at Shoney’s enjoying lunch with some friends and I confided with them some of the things that had been laid on my heart. Before the meal was over God had given me a name for this church. Still, as hard headed as I am, refused to move. I was in a place where I was comfortable and I refused to move from it. Trust me if anyone could come up with excuses, this guy had many, so many in fact, I could write a book.
This went on for a couple months and May rolled around. I still can remember the fresh spring air and the sunshine that morning. It was odd that I can remember that, but I also remember feeling and knowing God was not pleased with me. Bitter sweet could be used to describe that feeling if that even comes close to it. It was so strong I could not even get into my vehicle to drive to church. The harder I tried the stronger the bitter feeling was. I have experienced this before back in 2009 but I guess I needed a reminder.
May 2014, Faith Family Fellowship was born. This was not an easy thing to do, many would try and tell me different and how exciting it would seem to birth a new church but either they have no idea what it takes or have disillusioned views as to what is involved in birthing a church. Anyway, that morning we met in a one bedroom apartment with I believe eight of us. The upper room as I called it. It was about a month later we used the living room of a couple because the upper room was getting to small and then by July God has placed us into the building where we now reside. Some of the things we have seen this past year has been old friends reuniting, people accepting the Lord for the first time and others recommitting their lives to the Lord and a church that is working together to expand, grow, and help the community. To be honest, it may not sound like much but let me tell you now, that is a great deal for a small church of 25-30 people. (One day I plan on writing a book) Also, I have been honored to have been accepted into the V3 church planting program. I will not lie, I was hesitant at first but I cannot explain the knowledge, support, encouragement and friends I have made through this program. It will allow us to be in a network with other churches and to come together as a stronger church as a whole multiplying disciples.
Now, what I sit and wonder is would those events still happen if I still were being disobedient? Would I even be here if I was still disobedient? How different would everything be? Some counselors, pastors, and such would advise not going there but I believe it is something each person should consider. How different would the pond be if no pebbles would ever be dropped? It has not been an easy path but Jesus never said the road would be easy, just that it would be worth it. I have to agree, through the struggles and trials, as a church, it has been worth it.
Even though I started writing for Breaking Through The Wall Ministries in 2013, (I believe) I have enjoyed writing the men’s devotional for them this past year. I have improved my writing skills and I know without a shadow of a doubt God has used those writings. I look forward to writing more in 2015. I also was able to finish my Bachelors of Science in Religion through Liberty early in 2014 and since then I was accepted and through three semesters into my Graduate program. I cannot explain the knowledge and other skills I have learned since starting in 2011.
This past year my wife continues in her schooling and her job at the clinic and we experienced the graduation of our oldest daughter and having her leave to begin her life and attending college. While our son just got his first job and our other daughter has planned out her life and will have her associates degree finished when she graduates high school. We was able to celebrate with my mom in her Hardee’s biscuit maker championship. She won the competition this past year and I cannot even begin to explain how proud and happy we was for her. It was a well-earned and deserved honor.
There are many other things that has happened in 2014, lessons learned, knowledge gained, failures, and victories. I would not change a thing. So as you ponder 2014 for yourself, ask yourselves the same questions. How has the pond changed, how different if certain pebbles were not thrown into the pond, and how many pebbles can I throw in 2015.
Happy New Year and here is to 2015! God bless!
“Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it?
Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert. The animals of the field will honor Me, jackals and ostriches, because I provide water in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My chosen people. The people I formed for Myself will declare My praise.” (Isaiah 43:19–21 HCSB)
 The Holy Bible: Holman Christian Standard Version. Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2009.