Hallelujah!

Pastor Jesse McCain

Let me tell you a story: Back in May of 2020, I was finishing my master’s degree online while serving as Pastor Wayne’s Associate in Missions. I relocated up to Alexandria in April, was getting acclimated as I finished 4 classes, and then graduated virtually. It was an interesting time. Oh, and a pandemic was happening. Good grief.

One morning I’m in the midst of getting a cup of coffee and I noticed there were signs in the front yard pointing to me. Pastor Wayne had snuck out in the late evening and put-up celebratory signs for me - I was graduating from graduate school. There was a mix of everything I appreciated on the signs, literally! Books, Mountains, and coffee cups decorated the signs which congratulated me on finishing my degree. I’m pretty sure he put the signs up as a storm was rolling in - you should ask him.

I don’t remember all of the words Wayne used to congratulate me. However, when I think about that morning, I remember one sign with an emphatic “Hallelujah” across its entirety. An appropriate word for finishing grad school. I’ve always been someone who latches on to quotes as I read them or hear them. My books typically have a piece of paper (a.k.a. bookmark) with something which has caught my attention scribbled across it. Wayne had stumbled onto a word which I was rather fond of. Here is the quote I associate with the word and another quote which runs in the same theme.

“When I think about the Lord and all he has done for me. My soul cries out, Hallelujah!”
 – Arthur Williams

“I don’t recall that I ever gave the good Lord all that much cause to smile on me. But he did.”
– Cormac McCarthy

 
When I look back on the last 10 years of my life, I don’t recognize who I am. A lot has changed from Rural Mississippi, New Orleans, Wake Forest, and now Alexandria. A lot of the change has come because God worked through fellow believers and mentors to help me become who I am now. I could be in other places doing other things, but by God’s grace and mercy he has me serving at FBCA. How has God’s work within your life produced gratitude in you?

Over the past week, I’ve been humbled as I look back at the different ways in which God has been at work within my own life. If you look to the New Testament, it doesn’t take long to see the impact of God’s people who live in thanksgiving. Both Luke and Paul among others point to thanksgiving as a constant element of a believers’ life. When I live in gratitude of God’s work in my life, it becomes easier to make my life less about me and more about him and his work around us.

Here is one more quote for you. Also, Psalm 103 is a great place to pray over God’s work within his people:  “My soul, bless the LORD and do not forget all his benefits.” – Psalm 103:2

Hallelujah, indeed! 

2 Comments


Mark Kern - August 23rd, 2022 at 3:27pm

Loved this blog Pastor Jesse. I am teaching Sunday School this Sunday and the lesson is on King Josiah. He was the young king who read the Book of Law to the Israelites who remained in Judah. How did that have an impact on Judah and how was it part of God's plan? Fast forward ahead to when the young boys were taken into captivity by the Babylonians. Daniel and his band of buddies are carted off to a nation that worships other gods. Yet they remain true to the One God - Yahweh. Why? Perhaps because someone read them the scriptures that King Josiah had taught to the Israelites. We don't know what we do that will lead to a great movement in God's plan. You graduated Grad School and came to us to become our Interim Pastor for Missions. It is all part of God's plan. As long as we follow Him, we can't go wrong. Thanks, Mark

Jesse McCain - August 24th, 2022 at 6:53am

Thanks, Mark!

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