Last week I finally graduated from Southern Seminary with my Master’s of Divinity from the Billy Grahm School. Hard to believe that now after three years in Louisville and one year in Dayton that it is done. Honestly last week as I finished there kept being this sense of now what. The reality is that I am still employed by Starbucks with no real paid, full-time ministry opportunities in sight. At one time this was my greatest fear, that I would end seminary and have no idea what I would be doing. I put a lot of effort into figuring this out, only to have the Lord in the end say no. This was extremely difficult and depressing as I longed to know where I would be serving after seminary, after all we had spent all this time and money to do something. God is truly amazing! He has used this last year in Dayton to reveal to me that ministry is not a job but rather it flows out of who we are. For instance if I need a “job at a church” to be in ministry then I have lost sight of what God has called believers to. If I can not get in and get my hands dirty now then when I have a job will I be doing ministry at a church as a job or as a calling. So now rather than focusing on where I will be ministering in the future, my heart is to simply do ministry where we are and allow God to move as he sees fit. This has been a long journey for myself but it has been valuable. For now we are serving at Morningstar Baptist church in Centerville until God moves us on. We love the people there and long to see the community reached so until that time we find it a great privilege and blessing from God to be there!
The issue for me at this time is laziness! When I have school deadlines it is so easy to stay motivated and to be studying and growing. But now there is nothing to drive me to be studying and nothing driving me to read. At night it becomes easy to lay around and not do much. Without the pressure of deadlines the sleepiness overwhelms me. By God’s grace and the driving of His Spirit I must dig in and stay active in my studies and reading. There is much on my mind to do and accomplish, plus many books on my reading list. The other thing is that as I become lazy (sin) it then begins to open the door for other temptations so I also recognize how important it is to be faithful and diligent. God is amazing so I am excited to see how he helps me grow through this time.
The other thing that I am looking forward to doing now that school is done to do expand the amount of time that I am spending with the Lord. I am looking forward to setting up a Bible reading plan, spending more time meditating on the Word and setting more time aside for prayer. I understand that the ministry that I have to my family and to others will only be as strong as my relationship with Jesus. What is the one thing that I have to offer to people? JESUS! What is the only way that I can give them Jesus? By walking with Jesus myself! When I am close with Him, He most brightly shines through me. So Jesus here I come!
The final thing on my mind as I am now a graduate is Amy and the kids. Over the last four years there are a lot of things that we have not been able to do or things I have had to miss because of studies or school! I am excited to be able to have a day off and spend it with the family without thinking about the ten things that I have to get done. I am excited to not have to run off to study or write a paper all the time but instead to go outside and run around with the kids. I am excited to give Amy some mornings of sleeping in, which she more than deserves. God has been so good to us as we have been on this journey really drawing us close as a family. I have an amazing wife and three incredible kids and I do not want to miss out on their lives anymore!
A Graduate…now what? Just a normal guy! A family man! A follwer of Jesus! Just wanting to be faithful in the moment! Hoping to see God do amazing things in the lives of others! Thank you Jesus for everything!