If you are reading this blog, let me say thank you. Thank you for your patience over the past few months. I’ve been out of the blogosphere for many reasons. But, now, I’m back, and hopefully will be blogging more faithfully than before. The purpose of this blog (besides sprucing up the looks of Mercy Swimming) is to update many of you on God’s recent work in the life of our family.
1. We are transitioning out of a 4 year ministry at The First Baptist Church of Liberty. My time at FBC has been God-ordained and extremely crucial to my spiritual welfare. I cannot even begin to note all of the changes in my life that God has wrought in my time at FBC. He has solidified a vision for ministry deep in my bones that I would have never expected 4 years ago. However, He has also confirmed that that vision is not the same as the current one here at FBC. I praise God for His mercy to me, my family and this church and I will miss these people greatly. They have been very supportive and helpful to me and a joy to pastor. Perhaps the greatest achievement that the Lord granted here at FBC was my relationship with Keith Strahan. Keith is one of the most special people that I know. It has been a joy to see him grow and minister at FBC. We have grown to be very close and I could not be more thankful for our friendship. I think of him as a son and a brother. He is a son in that I have been able to disciple and mentor him in many ways (although I have probably learned more from him than vise versa). He is a brother in that I know he would give his life for me or my family and I would do that same. It will be hard to see him leave for England in the fall, but it will also be sweet to see him flourish as God reveals His plans for this vessel of mercy. I’m so thankful for Alethia Ministries, (our internet interview ministry recently founded) which the Lord will hopefully prosper and use to minister to pastors and the saints across the Houston area and beyond!
2. God has not only given me a vision for ministry, but not without faithfully providing a people who are willing to come under that vision. God has opened a door for our family to serve at Baptist Church of the Redeemer (Redeemer for short) in Sugar Land, Texas. Through my relationship with Jim Hamilton and Billy Newhouse, God has prepared a perfect opportunity for a healthy, growing and God glorifying work in the Fort-Bend area. These two men have been such an encouragement to me through the past years! How merciful of the Savior to allow me to labor alongside two of my friends for the sake of the Gospel!
I cannot say enough about Jim Hamilton. He serves at Redeemer currently as Interim Pastor of Preaching. Dr. Hamilton’s current full-time job is Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies at the Havard School for Theological Studies (SWBTS), in Houston. I have had the honor to sit in his classroom, pick his enormous brain, and learn from his commitment to the Messiah for 3 years! I never would have dreamed that the Savior would allow me to serve alongside of my mentor in the local Church. What an honor!
Billy Newhouse and I met four years ago or so in line to register at Southwestern. Through God’s kind providence, we were in probably 90% of all classes together in our time at SWBTS. We have grown close and seen the Lord unite our vision for church and ministry that honors Him. Billy is by far the most humble human being that I know. That may change now that he is married to the beautiful Stephenie! Billy and Stephenie were married on Saturday, July 1st in one of the most moving and encouraging services that I have ever been apart of. They are so happy and right for one another. Alicia and I are so excited to see how God has brought them together and what His plans will be for the future! We will be serving alongside Billy and Stephenie at Redeemer as well. Billy has a heart for the local community and a love for the people at Redeemer and the community. So far you can see why I title this blog Mercy Swimming–it is all that I do–swim in the deep oceans of mercy that the Savior pours out every day! Thank you Jesus.
3. God has given me a desire, much through the example of Jim Hamilton, to teach. I was not sure how that part of my life would develop until about a month ago. The Lord has begun to open doors through friends at private schools for teaching opportunities. However, nothing seemed to fit my gifting and our situation, until the Lord opened the door at Fort Bend Baptist Academy . FBBA was expanding their Bible faculty and creating a position for an 11th grade Bible teacher. The course will focus on Hermeneutics (Bible Interpretation) for the first semester and Systematic Theology for the second semester. So, basically if I were going to design a school, class, location (in Sugar Land) this is what I would have come up with. God’s oceans never run dry! I will begin teaching August 10th! Please pray for me that this transition would be a good one and that I could not smile for the first month. (Everyone says that is how you show the students that you are serious, but I like to smile!) We’ll see!
I am so thankful for the Lord’s provision in our lives. I must say that my life would be in shambles if it were not for the beautiful love of my life Alicia. She has been so supportive over the last semester at Seminary and through this summer. My wonderful children have been patient and obedient for their mom while Daddy has been busy. Alicia brightens up our house with her humor and smile. I’m so thankful for a helpmate to come home to who supports me, warts and all! The oceans just keep getting deeper and deeper.
I look forward to sailing them with you! Thanks again for reading!
Let the Name of God Be High in the Hearts of His People!