Friday, August 7, 2020

Thankful Thursday

 Journal entry for Thursday August 6, 2020 

It was a routine day with waking up before 5:00 am to get some reading and Bible study in before starting the day. I also spent some time in intercessory prayer before heading over to the church for morning Pastoral prayers. Throughout the day I worked on my sermon and other church administrative stuff. As far as communications there were the daily emails, texts, and even an early morning social media video post. Overall, it was a very productive day. 

The evening was quiet. I worked on some gratitude exercises given that it was "Thankful Thursday." The day ended with prayer, thanking God above for all His love and care throughout the day.

Father God, as I write this I just want to take a moment to record here on my blog how grateful I am for Your calling on my life and for Your leading and watch-care over my family & I as we serve at Central Baptist Church in Lowesville, Va. I pray the same for my parishioners and their families. Continue to show Yourself strong in our midst and grow Your Church I pray, in Jesus name, amen. 

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Leading me beside the still waters...

Journal entry for Wednesday August 5, 2020

For some time now I have noticed God's leading me beside the still waters... that is, He has been ministering and stirring me in the depths of my soul in such a way that I can hardly put it into words. The clarity and richness of His will has been so refreshing. I am left with a deep sense of gratitude. My passion and call to ministry has never been more plain and heartfelt. The Scriptures have been on my heart throughout each day as He has strengthened me in the work as Pastor at Central Baptist Church. I look forward to what He is going to do in our midst. 

To Close or Not to Close

Journal entry for Tuesday August 4, 2020

Throughout the day I reflected at length about a church in California who has decided to remain open amid recent orders to not allow congregating or singing. I am personally in support of their decision and their statement on their website is very well written and respectful. 

Off and on throughout the years I have followed Pastor/Preacher/Bible Teacher John MacArthur. I know of no one in our current generation who is more devoted to preaching the Scriptures. So when I hear of something from his ministry like their decision to remain open given that the virus is not as fatal as once thought, I pay close attention. With this in mind, I spent a few hours today and yesterday listening to his sermons leading up to their decision. It certainly was not time wasted. I came away with a renewed fervor and zeal to go forth in the same spirit in my service as Pastor of Central Baptist Church in Lowesville, VA. That is, I endeavor to continue preaching the Word, "Unleashing God's Truth, one verse at a time." 

Father God, Thank You for men of God like John MacArthur, who truly love You, Your Church, Your Word, Your people, and Your mission on earth. Help me to go forth with that same love and determination as I minister at Central Baptist Church in Lowesville, VA. Stir the hearts of my parishioners to have that same love and determination. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Living on Mission

Journal entry for Monday August 3, 2020

It was a productive day! I was in town early to meet with a couple parishioners. It was a good visit and I left feeling encouraged in the Lord's work. Once I got back to the church I started planning the worship service by picking out hymns and studying for the sermon. At some point during the day it started raining. Before long it was pouring down rain! I love the rain. There's something about a rainy day and reading. They just go together. So ended another day of pastoral ministry.

Father God, I Thank you for the day. It was good getting to meet with parishioners and having rich study in Your Word. It's a joy to serve and I thank Your for that opportunity. May You be Glorified in all that I do. I pray for my parishioners. Watch over them and prosper them in every good work, in Your Kingdom. Help us together at Central Baptist Church to be a Church that lives on Mission. A Church that lives out Your Great Commission. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen. 

God is a Shield to those who walk in Integrity

Journal entry for Sunday, August 2, 2020

Looking back over the day I have to say that it was another great day serving as Pastor at Central Baptist Church! 

There was a good turnout for a Sunday given that we are still in the midst of a pandemic. It is also mid-summer. Summers at Central are laid back. Folks are vacationing and all so we just roll with it. It just so happens that this summer we have the added variable of living together through a pandemic. 

Everything went smoothly. We are still working our way through the books of Acts. Today we looked together at Acts 20:1-12. Paul was getting ready to leave Ephesus to head towards Jerusalem. Before departing he called some leaders from the various churches to offer words of encouragement to them. He then set out and on his journey. He made stops along the way to encourage believers and to collect offerings for the Church in Jerusalem. 

At some point he was going to board a ship but learned of a plot to kill him! He simply made adjustments by deciding to go by foot back through Macedonia. In the sermon I mentioned how God in His Providence looked out for Paul. He does the same for us. Sure, we don't always know or learn of others intentions to harm us but we can rest assured that God has things under control. If God has a work for us to do and if we are obedient to His call, He will see to it that His Word will not return to Him void. As a pastor, I find comfort in knowing that God has my back. My job is to trust Him, lean on Him, follow Him, and seek His counsel along the way. I have found that there is no safer place to be than in the will of God. I would like to leave you with these words from Proverbs chapter 2:

"7 b He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, 8 Guarding the paths of justice, And He preserves the way of His godly ones..."

There was more to the sermon but I must move along now. The day will soon be dawning & there is much work to do. 


Pastor Gary

We had a groovy time!

Journal entry for Saturday August 1, 2020

Either the saying, "I'm not as young as I used to be" applies or I just need to get in better shape! I understand that the former is technically true but in my case it seems like an excuse for not exercising like I should. I guess some context would help...

We were invited to a 70's themed dance party this evening so I had spent most of the day watching YouTube videos to get my disco dance moves straight. When we arrived at the party I immediately started getting my groove on and I must have danced for at least three hours! I had a blast but at the time of this writing my body is still recovering from all those disco moves I had implemented. It's all good though. I thank God for such a great time spent with friends & family. It's the stuff that life should be made up of. Sharing life together. Working hard, serving God & one another, and celebrating together. 

It was a great day. The picture is of me & my two sons. 


Pastor Gary

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Forever Young

Journal entry for Friday July 31

The last day of July 2020! Bring it on August! 

It has been a unique journey making it through each month since the COVID-19 outbreak but God has been faithful. I look forward to another month. 

I have learned many lessons over the past several months that I will carry with me into old age. It makes me think of Job 12-12-13

    "With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding. With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding."

I hope to live into old age, to have the continuance of the abundant life that is in Christ Jesus! Father God, keep my heart young, my spirit strong, so that I may do Your work throughout my life, for Your glory, in Jesus Name I pray. Amen.

Today was a good day. I was able to collectively get in about three hours of Bible study and reading in! There were a few emails to parishioners and two phone calls and one text message wishing a parishioner Happy Birthday. The evening was quiet and peaceful. 

Pastor Gary