God seldom leads in a straight line, and the line he has led me along looks like a spighetti bowl. I am the Pastor of a Mennonite Church, but that’s not where I started. According to my mother, when I was in kindergarten, we stopped at corner where stood a church. I have been told that I pointed at the structure and said, “I’m going to have one of those some day.” Little happened after that.
The other young memory was sitting next to my grandmother in the small Methodist church of Fenton, Illinois. She was over weight and had soft arms, and leaning against her the fragrance of her strong perfume was soothing. She would also give me “black jack” gum. It is a warm memory of church, though I don’t remember anything about the service.
In the sixth grade I was finishing catechism in the Methodist church (in Florida). At the end of the course we took a tour of the church and was taught why the sanctuary was set up the way it was. In the front was a curtain, and I always thought that Jesus was hung on the cross behind it. I froze and cringed as the Pastor began to pull the curtain back. My eyes went wide, I put my hands in front of my face, and … it was the organ speakers. I don’t know if I was disappointed or relieved, but I was definitely dissolutioned. Other than a couple times a year I didn’t darknpen the doors of a church until I was in the 11th grade.
i started following Jesus as a senior in high school. Went to Columbia Bible College (S.C), started with youth For Christ (IA), took my first youth pastor position (IA), went to seminary (TX), took my second youth pastor position that lasted 17 years (WI), became small groups pastor (TX), solo pastor (IL), worked as a sales person (TX and WI), lived with my children (Bahrain and Wisconsin), and now the lead Pastor (OH). 55 years have gone by since my mom and I sat at that stop sign.
i haven’t always known the direction, but I have always trusted that God did. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jer. 29:11). My squiggly line was full of ups and downs; times I thought I couldn’t make it. Each moment, the highs and the lows were from his hand, and each held its on trial and grace. God has a plan for good, so no matter how winding your road is, remember you don’t walk it alone. God has a plan. I’m just saying.