Pastor Dave’s eNote – Spirit
Categories: Pastor Dave's eNote
I want thank so many of you, for your kind words and expressions of love and gratitude, for the 20 years of ministry I was blessed to have at Hamilton Mill United Methodist Church. On behalf of our whole family, thank you for all you have done, to pray for us, encourage us and provide for us, in what has been an amazing journey.
So many of you have said that while you are sad to see us go, you also sense God’s hand in this decision. I am not surprised that you are celebrating God’s call upon my life, because over the years you have been bold and obedient to what God has put on our hearts. Deep in your spirit and my spirit we know this is a part of God’s preferred future.
Jesus reminds us, in the gospel of John, that those who are born of the Spirit are to be led by the same Spirit. Sometimes, the leading of the Spirit is hard to understand from a rational point of view. Like shifting trade winds, the Spirit is like a gentle wind changing directions. In the stillness, we try to discern where the Spirit is coming from and where the Spirit is leading. It is not always easy and it is very rarely rational. It’s a spiritual sense that resides deep within each of us. Sometimes, the Holy Spirit will prompt you or lead your thoughts. Other times, you will hear the whisper of God, asking you to open your mind and heart to new possibilities. The Spirit also makes God’s word, contained in scripture, come alive, and all of a sudden you have a longing to live differently. Or, the Spirit’s voice can be heard in trusted friends, in a tired heart or in the midst of an emotional storm. The one thing that always remains consistent, is that the Spirit’s call is never a call to the static. The Spirit moves in our life and then moves our life toward God’s preferred future. That is what is happening to me. It is what is happening to you.
Many of you have asked how you can love, affirm and support us as we finish our time here. To be sure, when it’s appropriate, I will return and celebrate all that God continues to do. You all know my heart well enough to know that I am not one to celebrate the past. The truth is, what God wants to do through you in the next 18 months, far outweighs what God did through me in the last 20 years.
So, on that note, here are some things we can do together:
Prayerfully consider attending the Charge Conference on Sunday, April 19 at 6:00pm. We will be asking you to consider final approval on the proposed expansion. This building project began with the leadership of our church and their desire to make room for more people to discover Christ, for our growing Youth Ministry and for preparation space for the Chancel Choir. It is essential we pull together and do what God has put on our hearts for this community and the building up of the body of Christ. We are growing together, generation to generation, and God will bless our faith and our trust in His leading. We all know God could place that building, on that spot, in a moment. He is that powerful. Instead, God wants to teach us as a community, how to trust Him, how to love Him and most of all, how to obey Him. This building project gives us that opportunity, to receive the blessings that come to us when we obey, love and trust God.
Please continue to pray for me. I need your prayers, as does my family. This is a huge change for us and a lot sacrifices will have to be made. Also, pray for HOI. Like all faith based non-profits, they are stepping out in faith to bring me on staff. God has given them a vision for expansion, spiritual formation and partnership with the people of Central America. They believe the spiritual formation of Central America is the foundation upon which economic development happens. I am looking forward to being a part of God’s continued blessing on HOI and the vision God has set before them. I have asked the SPRC to consider allowing the love offering for our family to instead be designated to HOI. I hope that if you give, you give in gratitude and in the giving, you feel a part of the future God has set before me.
Please spend some time in God’s word, listening for how you can be a part of God’s amazing future for Hamilton Mill UMC. This church needs you. The staff and the leadership of the church need you. The next Senior Minister of Hamilton Mill UMC will need you. It will not be easy to follow a pastor who has been at the same church for 20 years. It will not be easy to follow a pastor who started the church in his home. The next pastor will come with much excitement and also much apprehension.
The other day, one of our members shared his fears about the future of the church with me. He said, “I hope the new pastor is a good fit for us.” I replied in return, “I hope this church will be a good fit for the new pastor.” I sincerely hope all of us will be praying for the new pastor, that we will keep an open mind and open heart about the gifts and graces the new pastor will bring. I hope that together, we encourage the new pastor, by loving God and serving the church God has entrusted to him.
Last, my final Sunday will be Sunday May 3. I’ll serve communion in morning worship and then with Jonathan, Jason and David, I’ll confirm the 2015 Confirmation class. It is going to be an emotional day. So, if you see my crying, please know I am not crying because I am sad, but my tears are tears of gratitude, for a God who chooses us, calls us and gives us amazing opportunities to be a part of His work in the world.
David L. Davis