Four months ago I resigned as pastor in Ann Arbor, MI. God had said “it’s time to go.” What the Lord didn’t say was WHERE we were to go. God just said “go to the land I will show you.”
Prompted by the Lord, three months ago we returned to Arizona so we could be with my mom and dad in their season of great need. As Lynne and I headed west from Michigan it never occurred to us that Arizona was where God would again direct us to serve Him.
It was late morning on December 6 when we crossed into Arizona as we drove west on Interstate 40. That’s when God spoke to each of us. We were each driving a vehicle so we didn’t compare “notes” until we stopped for fuel in Holbrook. But each of us had the same communique from the Lord: “You’ve come home.”
God didn’t say exactly where we were to serve, but we now had a pretty good idea it would once again be in Arizona. We did presume that it would be in a Southern Baptist Church. After all, we both trusted Christ as our Savior in a Southern Baptist Church. I was ordained as a Deacon in a Southern Baptist Church. I was called to vocational ministry in a Southern Baptist Church. I had served three Southern Baptist churches in an “associate” position and three Southern Baptist churches as “senior pastor.”
This morning I had the privilege of saying “yes” to God and “yes” to the His people at Sonoita Hills Community Church, whom I will serve as Pastor. SHCC is affiliated with the Evangelical Free Churches of America!
Knowing that some of my Baptist friends and colleagues may be bothered by this, I’ll share four reasons why I know that God has directed me in this:
- For years I’ve been preaching and teaching that God doesn’t care about denominational labels . . . He cares about the heart. Now I get to “practice what I preach.”
- I’m theologically compatible in my new assignment because there are no significant theological differences between Baptist and the EFCA.
- In correspondence with the chair of the Pastor Search Team, we were able to identify a dozen different instances where we saw God at work in bringing us together.
- God just likes to do things His way in His time. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
So, God looked at His flock in Sonoita, AZ, and then asked “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” (Isaiah 6:8) The only answer I could give is “Here am I, send me!”