Roller Coaster Rides #TraditionallySouthside

What a week! Have you ever talked about life being like a roller coaster? Up one minute only to find yourself screaming downhill at breakneck speed where you hit an almost 90 degree curve in the track that jerks you around and makes you wish you had never heard of a roller coaster? Yeah, that’s my week. Following a stunning meeting on Sunday afternoon in which my heart was broken, I was surprised by my church’s recognition of my 8th anniversary as pastor of Southside. There was cake and kind words. I don’t think you can get much better than that.

But that wasn’t the end of the roller coaster ride. We were blessed to be able to go to the State Convention in Daphne, which by the way, is real close to Pensacola where my youngest granddaughter, Lucy, lives with her parents. So we decided to save the church some money by staying with Jon and Ashley rather than at a hotel. You believe that, don’t you? Well, one minute, I was on top of the world seeing my family, and the next I came crashing down to earth when Lucy wouldn’t let me get close to her. I had to chase her all over the place just to get a hug from her.

Then I made it to the convention. What a great day of seeing old friends, spending time with a bunch of preachers, and worshiping the Lord! But it’s so easy to hit those curves going fast. Renewing friendships is great, but then you realize that there are lots of people out there who are hurting because ministry is a tough job. Every one of us has a story to tell. I would say to you that while ministry is the most rewarding of vocations, it can also be one of the most devastating. But do you want to know the irony of it all? As tough as it is, for those guys who have found themselves without a place to minister for whatever reason, getting back into it is their overwhelming desire. Do you want to know why? It’s a calling – not a job. We aren’t gluttons for punishment; we literally have no choice if we want to enjoy life. My pastor told me when I accepted the call of God into the ministry that if I could do anything else in life and be happy, then I wasn’t called to do ministry. What I have discovered is that I can’t do anything else and have the peace and joy that God gives when I’m doing His will. A real roller coaster.

I could tell you about a few more twists and turns my week has taken. For instance, we made it home from the convention – neither rain, nor heavy rain, nor even heavier rain could keep us from our church’s Thanksgiving Dinner. What a group! And the food was delicious. Then we had Bible Study, and man, it was good! Yes, I led the Bible Study, but I’m not bragging on myself. God showed up as we looked into His Word. We even finished early. We had a good business meeting. I led a Bible Study with a group of people that I love dearly and who mean the world to me – they even applauded when I was done! And this weekend, I get to officiate at a wedding for a young couple that loves the Lord and loves each other. I just can’t imagine how it can get much better than that.

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