Ten years ago, this week my family moved to Pembroke. I began my job as the pastor at First Baptist Church in Pembroke, and my wife started only a week or so later as the choral music teacher at Richmond Hill Middle School. Our youngest son enrolled as a student at Richmond Hill High School, while our oldest enrolled at Georgia Southern University.
A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then. Both sons graduated from their respective schools and moved out. The oldest is married and lives in Brunswick with his wife and their two dogs. The youngest went to work as a truck driver, and two years ago was injured when a tire on his truck blew out. He now lives in Atlanta and continues to work with the hope of one day walking again.
My wife now is the music teacher at Bryan County Elementary School in Pembroke. I still am pastor at First Baptist, and I have to tell you something about that. I am more excited about what God is doing in my life and my church today than I have ever been. I continue to see the hand of God at work in the lives of people, and I am ever grateful.
The world in which we live is very different from the way it was when I became a pastor in 1982. Some changes have been good; others not so much. But this I know for sure: The same God who was alive and well back then remains in charge today. In fact, he remains the same God he has been since creation.
The Bible says that, “God is the same yesterday, today and forever.” That does not mean he resembles some stubborn old man who will not change his mind, no matter the facts. Rather, it means he is stable and consistent. We can count on him.
That gives me hope and comfort, both for now and the future. I can trust the Lord to keep his promises. He will never fail. He will do what he has said he will do.
There is only one thing about that — it cuts both ways. This is not very popular today, but God’s word makes it clear that he loves us, but that he also holds us responsible for our sins. The Bible even uses the word “wrath” when speaking of the Lord. I am grateful for his love, but I am also aware that he calls us to holy living. And I am driven to my knees as I think of what it means to obey his call.
I pray that we will be faithful to follow the one who is holy and has called us to be holy.