On Sunday, I had the opportunity to provide pulpit supply at Grace Baptist Church in Cameron, WI which is about a 2 hour drive from the Twin Cities. The pastor was out of town and needed someone to fill in while he was away. This was a unique Sunday because Cameron was celebrating Camerama days and there was a parade scheduled for noon on Sunday. Grace Baptist Church had been working on a float for the parade that day. Since the parade was to start at noon, the pastor asked me to come speak at their 9:30 am worship service and they would not have Sunday School.
This was a unique experience because I was able to go to another place that I have never been before. Hwy 8 is a two lane road that runs from I-35 into Wisconsin passing through towns like Chisago City, Lindstrom, Taylors Falls, etc. The drive is a bit hilly in spots and there are a lot of speed limit changes once you are in WI.
I arrived a bit early and was able to meet John and Karen Thomas and their son Daniel, who were getting things ready for the service. Once the service started and we sang several hymns, had prayer and took up the offering, it was time for me to preach. I preached from 1 Peter 1:13-21 with the theme of Living a Holy Life before God. I spoke for about 30 mins. and then the service was dismissed. They had a potluck lunch at the church. Normally, I would attend, but since they had a parade to get ready for and I was so close to home, I politely declined and thanked them for the opportunity to minister there and headed back to the Twin Cities to be with my family for lunch.
Just outside of Cameron, I had an interesting experience. While I was listening to my pastor (Matt Morrell) preach to the congregation at Fourth Baptist Church (via WCTS AM 1030). I was on Hwy 8 just before Barron and I noticed a police SUV on my side of the Hwy. I slowed down because I noticed the traffic on the other side stopped, but there was no direction being provided by the officer on the scene. I was unsure what was going on. I saw the officer come back to his vehicle and retrieve a shotgun. He then proceeded to shoot in front of his vehicle. This was a bit scary because I did not know what prompted him to shoot or what was he shooting at. I thought it was a routine traffic stop but I could not see a car. He fired one shot, then placed his gun back in his vehicle. Still no direction from him, but I saw the other traffic moving on the opposite side of the Hwy. I slowly inched by, not knowing what was on the other side of the police SUV. When I reached the front bumper, I saw the cause for the commotion, there was a large (now dead) black bear on the side of the road. Not sure of the circumstances, but when I saw the shotgun and the shot being fired… now it all made sense. As I passed the scene, I was thankful that no one was hurt and that my son was not with me. He would have been a bit scared of the situation and he would have been asking a million questions about it also.
I made it home around 1 PM and enjoyed lunch with my family and recounted the story above to them. You never know what you will encounter when you travel!
Next on the docket: July 11th, I will be speaking at the First Baptist Church of International Falls, MN for all services (Sunday School, AM and afternoon services). I have already begun my preparations for this speaking engagement. The afternoon service sermon is already completed. I am finishing the Sunday School lesson and AM Sermon. I am enjoying my experiment with preaching from one book – 1 Peter. My only regret was that I had not done this sooner. Most of the time when I was providing pulpit supply or preaching, I usually fretted about what to preach. I will not recount my previous post on the subject, but the experiment is going well! I am looking forward to being back at FBC International Falls. We had a wonderful time there when we were with them over Easter. Instead of driving up on Saturday (a 6 hour – 300 mile journey), we are going to split the journey up. We will leave Friday and head for the Duluth area to spend time with one of our dear friends who lives in the area. We will be there Friday and Saturday, hoping to enjoy a nice dinner at Black Woods Restaurant and maybe an ice cream or shake at the Portland Malt Shoppe. Sunday we will have an early departure from Duluth (around 6 AM) in order to arrive at FBC in time for the Sunday School Hour.
I am still looking, praying and searching for potential full-time ministry opportunities. I have several websites that I check daily, weekly and honestly for those of us who are not either trained in music or youth ministry, there is not much out there for full-time vocational ministry. It is somewhat discouraging, but I remind myself often, that God is in control and that He is sovereign! If you know of any opportunities, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know. Many of the good opportunities are never posted, but rather are word-of-mouth referrals.
Thanks for reading and commenting!