On Becoming a Retried Pastor

  In 1961 I was ordained at the Weber Road Baptist Church in Corpus Christi, Texas. I had more pastors on my ordination council than could sign my certificate, and you couldn't find a tougher council than those South Texas fellows. After they were through with me, I felt I had been grilled with Mesquite, but had the calm assurance that I had passed the test. I finished my due time at that Church and we moved back to Springfield in order for my wife to finish her college. While she finished school I filled pulpits, helped two small churches and eventually took the college class at what is known as United Baptist in Springfield.

  When we were approved as missionaries of the BBFI in 1964, I began what I consider my full time ministry as a preacher. There were times I had secular side jobs, but essentially I was a full time preacher. Something else happened in May 1964. I put my life into the Lord's hands literally.

  Since that day I have always pretty well knew where I was headed and what my objective was. There was a brief excerpt from that in 85 right after I left Connecticut, but I have spent the last almost 28 years knowing I was where God wanted me. During those 28 years though, I have gone from a young man of 48 to become an old man of 75 with all its fringe benefits. (Some people think I am now on the fringe.) For the first time in a long time, I am getting ready to step out into the great unknown. I am not frightened. I have several friends who have led the way. I am not worried because I still have a great God, who has brought me through tougher times than this half way around the world and back. I think I can do any thing that I have ever been able to do, but my feeble arms and my weak back yell at me to, 'Get real!!!" I don't believe the air is as pure as it used to be, because I need more of it when climbing steps, etc. It takes me longer to get places, because I have to spend some time remembering where I was going.

  From High School, I knew God wanted me to preach his Word, and he hasn't recanted that call. I know his Word better now than I ever did, but scripture references slip my mind more frequently from my sermons and though I used to be able to read my Bible in fine print, I have to concentrate on my new one with super large print.

  The devil and his crowd has been after me to quit preaching for some time now, and now I realize that age is requiring that I change course, so it is very difficult to step aside without boosting the ego of the devil's crowd. I comfort myself in knowing they will eventually stand before God who called me. He will not waste his time explaining why he called an ignoramus to preach, but will probably have some pretty sharp questions to them about their treatment of the man of God if indeed he even knows them.

  I have preached to a crowd of 2000 one time, but I have never pastored more than a hundred. I have preached in big cities and small villages, but have never had people chasing after me to hear me speak. I cannot speak of multitudes who have been swayed by my motivations, but I have a few bright jewels in my crown that will belong at Jesus' feet.

  Though I do not know what the future holds for me personally, I do know who holds the future. I am aware that it is not sinus drainage that I am suffering from, the actual term should be brain drainage. I will not put limitations on God's ability to have a place of service, but I will pray and seek Him to keep me from exceeding my human limitations of being a burden to others.  I will ask God to make me aware that when I am speaking to others I will be able to discern when they are actually listening or if they wish I would shut up.

  I may believe that I can do all things through Christ, but I must never forget that I must only allow Him to work through me.


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