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One Christmas my wife, Shirley, asked me to do the shopping for the kids. So I did. It took me all of 12 minutes to get it done.
I walked into the Toys-R-Us with my list. I handed the list to a kind, friendly employee and asked, "Would you please help me find these things?". She sympathetically complied and said "right this way". We walked from aisle to aisle to every item on the list. She knew exactly where each one was without hesitation. She placed each one into my hands and I was done in 12 minutes flat. Shirley's still baffled how I pulled that one off.
Do you ever find yourself wishing God's will could be that easily found? As if to walk into a store with a list and take his will right off the shelf? Just think, the Pastoral Search Committee could walk into Pastors-R-Us and find a pastor in 12 minutes too.
But it's not like that. God's method is very different. In a recent sermon, Voddie Baucham, pastor of Grace Family Baptist Church in Houston, asks the question of discerning God's will. He goes to Romans 12:1-2 and discusses God's method of presenting ourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to him. And that we must not be conformed to the pattern of this world but rather transformed by the renewing of our minds. Then, and only then, will we be able to discern God's good and perfect will.
This applies to our personal lives. But it also applies to us as a Pastoral Search Committee. We are called to follow the same criteria and then to use our minds and to discern who the best candidate is. And this we are doing. We pray, we review, we listen, we analyze, we ask questions, we take notes and discuss...and discuss and discuss. Then pray again. Our decision will not be based on a feeling, or a bias, or an instinct or some other worldly pattern, but rather on what God expects; sacrificial lives, transformed minds and prayer. So please, pray with us. Pray that we will be faithful to God's method and God's leading. Pray that He will close doors that should be closed and to open the doors that will bring the pastor He would have for us.
This process will not be a 12 minute task. But as we hand our request to our kind God, we will hear "right this way", and without hesitation, He will lead us exactly to where we must go to find the pastor He has selected for us.