Ah, Yes, I Remember It Well

Journal-keeping has been my obsession since the very beginning of my ministry. By now I have a contemporaneous record of the events that have gone together to make me who I am today.

I thought it might be good to look back across the decades to what was happening on this day every ten years ago.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Today was spent doing the usual mid-week things: preparing my sermon outline for Sunday's bulletin, meeting with Roger to discuss our Easter services just two weeks away, and meeting with Sean Simonton, a director of missions in New England, who will be speaking at our midweek service tonight.  I tried to visit Dorothy Allport this morning.

Tonight, Audrey and I went to NOVA Community College, Alexandria campus, to hear John Mark speak at the Phi Beta Kappa induction ceremony (invited by Sheila Martin). He was the keynoter, speaking to an audience of 200 students and their families. He did a great job! He related well to the audience and used humor effectively as he told about his experience in Tokyo, Japan on the day the great earthquake and tsunami occurred. We were very proud of him! At the reception that followed I held his briefcase so that he was free to speak to individuals who wanted his attention.

"The torch has been passed," I told him out in the parking lot later. He's the speaker now. I'll gladly go and support and cheer him on.

John Mark has great platform skills. He is comfortable in speaking, and knows what's appropriate to say, and what to leave out.

There were two new members tonight at church. Sherrill and Carolyn Adkins joined FBCA by letter.


Friday, April 13, 2001
A day-off for me. Up at 7:00 AM and breakfast at home.  I went to the office briefly, though. Then to First Presbyterian Church for their Good Friday service at noon. My good friend Bruce Wilson was their guest speaker and he did an excellent job of it.

Caught a nap in the afternoon. Then a card game and later television viewing with Audrey.

To bed at an early 10PM.

Saturday, April 13, 1991
We went to visit some old friends in Bristol, VA/ TN, arriving at the Laynes last night. Today, we attended the Budweiser 250 auto race. I found out recently that Audrey has always loved the races and has been wanting to go for years. It never entered my mind. This has never been an interest of mine and so, selfishly, it hasn't been something we have done. That's a failing of mine—not considering her wants and needs the way that a husband should. First steps in making that right.

To show how little I was prepared for today: I chose seats down at the very front of our section, close to the track.  Well, you do that in church when you are really interested--or school when it is a favorite subject. The cars thundered by, averaging over 92 mph.

 I haven't been able to hear anything the rest of the day...

We got back to Danville at 10:15 PM and I looked over my sermon notes one more time before bed. Tomorrow I'll be preaching from Galatians 5:16-25, “Living Under His Lordship Every Day.” And our Spring Revival begins tomorrow night with Bill Bennett. I'll be picking him up from the airport in Greensboro.


Monday, April 13, 1981
Spent the morning preparing our church newsletter, and my talk for tonight's Ruritan meeting. They have invited me to speak.

This afternoon I took a break long enough to go and play a few games of ping pong with Kim Little and her sister.

Getting ready for a big Easter Sunday this weekend. My sermon will be Our Glorious Resurrection Faith.

Weighing heavy on my heart—and filling me with much anticipation—is our trip to Orlando, FL next weekend. I will be meeting the folks and preaching for the Dover Shores Baptist Church there in view of a "call" to become their pastor. I hate the thought of saying good-bye to all of our friends here in Henderson—but this has been my dream for quite a while now. Before we were married, I even promised Audrey that one day we would live and minister in, of all places, Orlando. I really believe that God is in it. If they ask me—I will go.

As I wrote these entries, I had no way of knowing how things would turn out. But, looking back now, it is clear to me that God was leading and guiding all along the journey. Bill Bennett, for example, missed his flight back in 1991 and I had to begin the revival myself. I missed seeing Dorothy Allport that day in 2011. I did see this precious senior Saint one week later, though, and she died one week after that—early Easter morning! And we did move to Orlando in 1981 and spent eight wonderful years in ministry there.

We understand life in retrospect, as Kierkegaard said, but we are called to live it forward. Yesterday I visited with a young girl who is facing some health challenges. She wonders why God allows such things--if He could deliver her from them. I assured her that God knows all that we are going through and promises never to leave us for even a moment as we go through them.

He does not cause our pain, but He does use it to fashion us into what He wants us to be. He is shaping our character and making us stronger as we go.

"And, one day, when you have come through all of this," I told her, "you will have quite a story to tell.”

 Start writing, I should have said.




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