Through the course of a week, through the course of a month, a year, I am in awe of the transformation of individuals, the Church, and its community. I am now entering my 9th month at CCoA at the corner of 2nd and B and my faith is being renewed by God through the faithful disciples in this Church. When my family first thought about moving here to Rogue Valley to answer the call to pastor this Church, I was filled with too many emotions to mention here. The most memorable emotion was fear. That’s right, a pastor admitted to being afraid. The fear was in response to being in a new place, to my wife’s medical condition, to the unknowns in the new journey, and the security of my family in Southern Oregon.
A lot of time has passed since last year and many things have happened in and out of the Church as my wife and I have been serving the Church. I’ve met many new people and learned about life in Talent and Ashland while others have learned about me and what I have to offer society. The events of life continue to occur and add to my experiences in this corner of the world. But that fear I talked about as the most memorable emotion is gone in a large part due to God’s role in my answering His call to CCoA. I have witnessed the faith of believers acted out in subtle ways that express to me that faith isn’t dead and God still has work to do in this world. He never gives up and that motivates me past fear to keep pressing on and never give up.
A week ago I spoke to some kids at a Christian camp and I was explaining God’s love to them. In the midst of the explanation I was moved to tears because I was saying that God’s love is experienced when God looks at us past our marred lives and sees us as His children. It moves me to think of that kind of acceptance. Well, one of the kids pointed to me and said, “He’s crying.” That outburst was followed by, “I’ve never seen my dad cry.”
Okay, so that put me on the defensive as I fashioned a retort to this kid’s complaint about my manhood. Before I could get it out, one of the counselors spoke up and addressed the whole group and said, “He’s experienced God’s love and it’s so great that he’s moved to tears because that’s how much God loves us.” Wow! I went to seminary and the counselor just graduated from high school last year. She was able to speak to the kids with a confidence in faith and explain why we believe.
My fear is gone because we have her fighting for the faith in Southern Oregon. The Church, in my calculations, is alive and growing because of the transformation we experience because God is present in this world making Himself known. And one day, your best friend, brother, mother, co-worker, neighbor will be able to see God because of this life-changing transformation that even happens in the community surrounding the Church at 2nd in B in the city of Ashland.