Reflections on 10 years

Yesterday, June 1, marked my 10 year anniversary of serving Salem Lutheran Church as pastor and I continue to be amazed and thankful for what God has been doing.

On May 2, 2004 I received a phone call from the council president that the congregation voted to call me (which I later accepted, obviously).  Three weeks later on May 23 I graduated from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN.  The following weekend (Memorial Day weekend) we moved into the parsonage (with the help of many people from Salem) and then on Tuesday, June 1 I sat in this very office for the first time as the pastor (in waiting ~ I was ordained on July 2) of Salem.

10 years…Wow…

…and I am still a first call pastor (I kind of like that description; it makes me feel like a young’in).

I am still trying to wrap my brain around this fact, though; that I have been here for 10 years.  Where did the time go?  To be honest, I never thought I would be here this long. A lot off first call pastors move on after 3 to 5 years but God has had different plans for me.  And I am grateful because Connie and I have enjoyed living and serving here.  And now we are grateful to be raising our daughter here.  What a blessing, but one we don’t take for granted because we know that at any time God could issue the call to go somewhere else.  In the mean time, we continue to joyfully serve and minister as directed by God.

So just for fun, I took a look back at some news stories from 2004 and included them here for your reading pleasure:
~ According to AAA, Gasoline prices set a record with an average price per gallon of $1.738. (Oh the horror of it all)
~ Janet Jackson’s infamous halftime show “wardrobe malfunction” occurs at Super Bowl XXXVIII; where the New England Patriots beat the Carolina Panthers 32-29.
~ Ken Jennings begins his 74-game winning streak on Jeopardy (the day after I began at Salem).
~ Terry Nichols is convicted of state murder charges and being an accomplice to Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.
~ The corner stone of the Freedom Tower is laid on the site of the World Trade Center in New York.
~ Ronald Reagan’s funeral is held at the Washington National Cathedral.
~ The Boston Red Sox complete an historic comeback from a 0-3 deficit to beat the New York Yankees in the ALCS and then goes on to win their first World Series title in 86 years.
~ War in Iraq: U.S. forces storm the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah.

And…a lot has happened in my life as well (personally and professionally).
~ Salem has done some minor building projects and upgrades.
~ I started serving at Belmont Lutheran Church 1 1/2 years into my call here.
~ I have seen people return to the Lord and new disciples enter the community.
~ I have met some great friends and colleagues.
~ Dealt with conflicts.
~ Grown in my faith.
~ Welcomed my little girl into the family.
~ And God willing, planted some seeds.

I never could have imagined what God was going to do with me here and I can hardly wait to see what else God has in store.  I hope it is here at Salem and Belmont for many more years but everything is in God’s hands.

Thank you to the Salem and Belmont for your love and willingness to serve.

Thank you to the community of Jackson for making this a great place to live.

Thank you to my colleagues in the Jackson Ministerial Association for being great servants to serve with.

And thank you, God, for your faithfulness and grace.  You are an awesome God and I am excited to being serving you in the body of Christ here in Jackson.

All Praise and glory be to God forever and ever!

The pastor -|—