This morning’s post is a simple, “Family of God” testimony. I’m disappointed in the quality of the images (apparently my iPhone was not all that interested in focusing today), but this is about people, not pictures, and about the wonderful privilege of friendship.
Tim and Kelly Black – along with their three children, Micah, Liam, and Vivi – stopped in at Maul-Hall for a “Travelers’ Rest” overnight, halfway between Florida and Pennsylvania.
Tim, who worked on the pastoral staff with Rebekah in Brandon for nine years, has been called to serve as co-pastor at Central Presbyterian Church in Downingtown, PA. This week they loaded up their house in a moving truck and said “goodbye” to a Florida adventure that lasted ten years.
Tim and Kelly arrived in Brandon in 2004 as newlyweds. They did phenomenal ministry in the church and community, and left a decade later with three children, two large, rambunctious dogs, one nervous-looking tropical fish, and the proven experience that ministry can be positive, fruitful, encouraging, and full with promise.
Friday evening we stayed up late talking. And what’s interesting to me is that – although Rebekah and Tim’s ministry together in Brandon was an overwhelmingly positive experience, shared with some of the most faithful disciples of Jesus we have ever known – all of the conversation centered around the exciting opportunities both pastors are engaging in North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
The First Presbyterian Church of Brandon experience strengthened, animated, and equipped both Rebekah and Tim. But the transforming power of the gospel is always about moving forward, and the vision – born out of both faith and faithfulness, belief and experience – is strong and compelling.
Or, as Yoda (Star Wars) would have put it, “Strong the vision is in this one.”
The idea is hard to articulate, but I believe that, thinking back over the few hours Rebekah and I shared with Kelly and Tim, part of it is the way that our discipleship informs our relationships, our priorities, our actions, and our conversations. We weren’t talking about church so much as we were talking about living as followers of the Living Way of Jesus.
Rebekah and I are thankful that the Black family rolled into Wake Forest, even for just a few hours; we’re thankful for the ongoing friendship with people we love; we’re thankful for First Presbyterian Church of Brandon, where we were all brought together; and we’re thankful that God continues to do new, creative, innovative, and hope-filled things through his children.
Now to him who is able to keep [each one of us] from falling, and to make [us] stand without blemish in the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. – Jude 1:24-25