Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Reflection After Preaching at Quarry Church

Last Sunday I had the privilege of preaching the sermon at Quarry Community Church in Monticello, MN.  The Quarry is the church that Stephanie and I helped plant in 2001 when I served as the Youth Pastor.  This was just the second time we have been back since we left 6 years ago, and the first time I have preached there since leaving.  It felt so good to be back, see the growth the church has experienced, and to reconnect with old friends.

The reason preaching at the Quarry meant so much to me is that it represented the closing of one chapter of my life and the opening of a new one.  That's because the last time I stood on stage at the Quarry was when I told the church I was resigning my position as Associate Pastor in order to focus on healing my marriage and my soul.  For the last six years I have been working hard to eliminate sinful patterns of thought and behavior from my life.  By God's grace I can say that I have walked in more freedom during the past year than I have since 8th grade.  My wife and I are serving and loving one another and God is leading our family to an awesome future.

Since leaving the Quarry I have had to face down some very tough things.  It has taken years of counseling, painful confessions, copious amounts of love, grace, and forgiveness from others, accountability from friends, and determination to change from within myself.  Standing up in front of the people of the Quarry and preaching from a place of integrity and authenticity was a confirming act of God's blessing and goodness in my life.  I don't know if I'll be asked to return again to preach there (or if God will ever call be back to full-time ministry) but I am so grateful to all who have invested in me and played a part in bringing me to where I am today.  And I am most grateful on earth to Stephanie my beautiful wife, and foremost grateful to Jesus Christ who was not content to leave me the way I was, but who broke so that he could reform me into something even more useful and glorifying to God.
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