Here is a big Mile Marker for you today. 18 Years!
18 years ago this morning was our last service as a Pastor. I had announced my resignation previously and Sunday Morning, January 5, 2003 was our last scheduled service. It was bittersweet. We loved the people God had allowed us to serve and we hated to leave them. Yet, we knew that God had asked us to trust Him and we were excited to see what He had planned for the church and us.
We backed into the parking spot and immediately sheared a pin in the front jacking system of the fifth wheel. There was no time to fix it, it was time to get ready for church.
Even with trailer problems on my mind, God clearly guided us those two weeks in Weir, Kansas with Pastor James Fellers. It was incredible for us. I have written about it here before, but while singing “He’s An On Time God” one night, we all knew we were right in the middle of the will of God. This is it! This is what God is guiding us to do. This is the will of God for us at this time.
We stayed two weeks in Kansas, then two weeks in Tennessee, another week in Kansas, three weeks in Gainesville, Texas, a week in Arizona, two weeks in Alabama, four or five weeks in Florida, a week in Kansas, two weeks in Alabama and on and on like that all year long.
By the end of 2003 we had preached every night we wanted to and pulled that 19 year old trailer nearly 40,000 miles. I eventually purchased stainless machine screws by the pound and screwed the metal siding of the trailer to the structure in different places nearly every week. We literally lost a whole pane of glass from a trailer window somewhere along the road in March. The glass did not break in place, it seriously fell out!
We ran from coast to coast singing and preaching anywhere we were asked. We made two quick trips to California that year, one in the truck, one by plane. We sprinted here and there, worried at any moment the ride would be over.
Along the way, we found our way.
We found our footing and slipped into our place in God’s divine plan. God opened doors for us to minister to people we did not know existed, go places we never dream of going and experience joy in ministry that we could not comprehend.
18 years later, we are still going. What? Where did the time go? How did we get from January 5, 2003 to January 5, 2021 so quickly? Even with all the memorable events of the last 18 years, it seems we arrived here in the blink of an eye.
Yet, here we are. We know we are in 2021. We feel the miles. We feel the years. We feel the emotions that 18 years of road life and evangelism produce.
We have given the strongest and most productive years of our lives to evangelism. I was 35 when I left Wichita, I am 53 this morning. I would love to believe my prime years are ahead of me, but the reality is they are probably behind me or at least partially behind me.
May God grant us many more years to give, but if they are all given, we do not regret one ounce of it. God has given to us in such measure that we have not been able to contain it all. He has given us such wonderful relationships, fabulous friendships, great joy in ministry, much happiness in each other, abundant contentment with our life and provided beautifully for our temporal needs.
His gifts to us are immeasurably more than we could give to Him in a thousand lives. What a wonderful privilege to belong to the family and God! To have a place of small usefulness in His family is a bonus to be treasured.
We have so much to be thankful for. Thank you to Pastors and churches that have opened your churches to our family and your hearts to our ministry. You do not have to extend invitations to us. You do not have to receive us. We appreciate your kindness. Thank you for it.
Thank you to those of you that pray for us. Thank you to those that read Mile Markers, go to church with us online or encourage us in a thousand different ways. We receive notes and letters and emails and texts with kind words that regularly reduced us to puddles of tears.
We really do wonder why you think so highly of us. We know who we are. We know where we came from. We know or suspect, how low and rotten we would be without God's grace.
It is God that saved us, God that lifted us, God that called us and God that sent us. You receive us and you encourage us. Thank you. Thank you very much.
We have enjoyed all of that for 18 years. Sometimes I think it is time that we retired out to pasture (pastor) somewhere and spend our final years of ministry pouring ourselves into one church. Sometimes...
But most of the time I wonder what is around the next bend in the road, what is just over the next hill and what is going to happen in the next revival? That pulls me out of my daydreams, into the bus and onto the road.
I think I will run on a little farther and see what the end will be.
Thank you for joining us.