Wednesday, October 31, 2007

MY STORY (Part 3) Home Again!

Home Again

Through a loving, caring church known as Calvary Temple, now Northwest Family Church and a loving, caring Pastor, I learned the old story again, “Yes, Jesus Loves You.” Gradually, I began to climb out—I wish I could say it was instantaneous but it was not.

What I Learned

God never stops loving you! Even when I felt I was the farthest from God, He was there, loving me, protecting me, and answering the prayers of my loved ones. Every exit in the passages of life is an entrance: An entrance into another stage. And even if that step is away from God, He doesn’t abandon us. He loves us! That doesn’t mean he excuses or condones our sin, but it means that He is there to speak to us and lead us out. "But you were a Pastor didn’t you know that?" No, my friend, I did not always know that.

A Biblical parallel might be the story of Simon Peter, when he had turned his back upon the Lord and gone back to his fishing nets. To bring him back, Jesus let him fail—because He loved him! And when Peter obeyed, Jesus commanded him to throw the nets on the other side; He made him a success again. He let him win. It was Christ’s way of bringing him back. Later, you can read the account of how God used him in the Book of Acts; read his epistles, I and II Peter. Yes, he was fully restored and greatly used of God.

Now, I don’t put myself in Peter’s league, only in the sense that Jesus loves me just as much as he loved Peter. But Jesus let me fail—because He loved me. And when I obeyed Him he restored me. I am glad to tell you that our marriage is more blessed and happier than it has ever been. I thank the Lord daily for a Godly, faithful, loving wife, who should have left me, but I am so thankful she didn’t.

In 1994, Jim Filbeck became our Senior Pastor. I was still hiding out in the back rows of the church, not wanting to be too involved. It was Jim, who believed in me and involved me in the teaching ministry again. It was he who invited me to join the staff, part-time, in February 1999. And July 1, 2001, I became a full time associate pastor! I am once again ordained and enjoying the ministry, preaching, teaching, interacting with people, helping them. Something I thought would never happen. I can truly say, these last eight years have been some of the most fruitful and rewarding years of ministry I have ever experienced. My passion for ministry has been rekindled; my love for His people has been renewed. The heart of the Shepherd has returned.

I presently serve this great church:

Why do I tell you my story? Someone may read it (a man of or woman of God) that has reached a place in their life where they feel hope is gone; they’ve gone too far. I am here to tell you that God never stops loving you! He patiently waits for you to turn to Him. My message to you is—THERE IS HOPE! HE IS THE GOD OF THE SECOND CHANCE!

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