This morning I left the apartment early (7 AM) and drove to Rock Falls, WI to teach Sunday School and preach in the AM service. Rock Falls is exactly 2 hrs (108 miles) from the Twin Cities. The drive over was uneventful except for when I crossed over into Wisconsin, I saw two dead deer in the ditch on the side of I-94. At that point, I decided to watch my speed a little closer and I turned off the cruise control in case any other deer decide to play chicken on the interstate. Arrived at Rock Falls around 9:00 and Sunday School was to start at 9:15. Met the pastor’s daughter and she gave me the rundown of everything that I needed to know, which was a great help. People started arriving and then the Sunday School hour began.
I taught from the book of Jonah, chapter 4. I just spent the last month in the book of Jonah in our Hebrew class translating and parsing verbs, etc. I also took an oral examination on Jonah last Tuesday. My lesson was on priorities and how we can allow things like anger and despair to impair or hinder our priorities. I ended a bit early, but better early than late, which gave me a bit of time to prepare for the AM service. Being in a large church, a lot of things are handled by different staff or lay people. In a smaller church, the pastor usually does most everything. Since the pastor was gone, I was also the songleader, which I do not mind, but I also recognize that I have not been gifted musically. The church has a very talented and gifted piano player, Jason Stearns. I found out that he has been playing piano since the 7th grade and his mother shared with me that he was one of the few kids that she did not have to beg to practice, she usually had to kick him off the piano to allow the other children to practice. Jason did a great job in helping me with the singing time and I hope that I did not frustrate him too badly.
After the song service, I brought a message from the first chapter of I Peter centered around the question “What is so great about salvation?” I then answered the question from the text and towards the end of the message, shared some of the major trials that our family experienced in 2006 (death of Jonathan, premature birth of Joseph, death of my mother) and how I was ready to quit seminary and ministry. I also shared how I was thankful for those who came alongside and ministered to us during that difficult time period and how I am thankful that I did not quit and will be finishing seminary here in a little over two months.
After the service concluded, the Stearns family invited me to have lunch with them downstairs before I had to head back to the Twin Cities. I enjoyed lunch and the fellowship, but I had to head home at 12:45 so I could get back home in time for our evening service at Fourth Baptist. Rock Falls Baptist Church also provided me with a very generous love offering, and for that I am truly grateful. I enjoy ministering the Word of God and the love offerings are an added blessing.
Looking forward to the opportunity of being able to minister full-time in a pastoral capacity. Until then, back to the books and studies. May 8th will be here in no time! I have several large projects/papers due at the end of April, please pray that God will give me wisdom in my time management between work, seminary, family and ministry commitments.