Since God released me as His pastor for Morningside I have done what all pastors should do when its time to leave -- leave. We have had minimal contact with our former church, but because we have not yet left the area it seems to double the loneliness during our transition.
God chose yesterday as the day He would send extra blessings our way through some brothers and sisters in Christ we hardly know. Christ Community Church gave us 5 thousand dollars to support the church we will plant in Bozeman, Montana!
To say we are overwhelmed by their kindness is to understate how blessed we feel. We know their generosity is a "God thing." This church does not even belong to our "denomination," it is a relatively new church itself, and it is in the middle of a massive building project. After ten years of meeting in rented space they bought land and are in the process of developing it.
Also, even though we know many of the college students who attend Christ Community, we do not know 5 other people. Their Pastor expressed that as a church they simply believe in us, believe in what God is doing, and wanted to bless us.
After church Sandy and I went out to lunch with a couple we have known for less than a year. They do not attend our former church, and yesterday was the first time all of us have worshiped together. None of that mattered. The conversation was rich and flowed like we had grown up together. God knew the kind of fellowship we needed and provided it through this couple. We left refreshed.
In the afternoon, I talked to my dad. He and mom are doing better than good. They just seem to deepen their trust in God rather than bemoan their obstacles. Believe it or not -- Dad wants to canoe down the Penobscot when we get to Maine. Believe it or not -- Josh and I are going to take him. Heck, why not!
Last night we attended a house church. It is not formally organized as such, but the group has been meeting together for years. The bonds of love that hold them together are obvious. The evening started with fellowship, then a meal, then a Bible study, and ended with prayer. Before it was time to leave we were asked to tell them about Bozeman. They genuinely shared the excitement of our new adventure.
Finally, my son Josh and I sat in the back yard beneath the stars and talked from 10 until midnight. That, too, was God sent. Josh, like us, is struggling a little with the changes that our calling is requiring. I am so grateful that my son trusts me and still wants to spend time with dad.
The day Father gave us was a special gift.