It had been several months since a friend in the northwest suburbs of Chicago had written to ask if I would consider coming to his church as their pastor, a.k.a. full time Christian worker.
I had wrestled with my answer. I was serving as a youth worker with Greater Vancouver Youth for Christ in BC, Canada. Such a move would be a major upheaval for my wife and boys. And I wasn’t sure I was suited for the job.
Eventually I told my friend I would come if the congregation was in favour. So the elders flew Joy and I down to meet them and to preach that Sunday in church.
After meeting with the leadership of the church in the home of one of the elders, I went into the bedroom with a growing sense of apprehension. “What are you doing? You can’t handle this!” a little voice in my head whispered.
Feeling quite inadequate for the road ahead—and frankly a bit scared—I sank to my knees with my Bible on the bed. Randomly I turned to Isaiah 66 and started reading.
It started out, “This is what the Lord says.” That got my attention. He continued by reminding me of who He is, that He sits on the throne of the heavens with the earth as His footstool.
As I read, I was struck by a sense of His majesty. Then I suddenly stopped reading. This almighty God was asking a question… “Who is the one that I esteem?”
I paused for a moment, because at that moment I was feeling pretty shaky and unworthy of His calling. I had a feeling that the next words I would read were going to have an impact on my state of mind and heart. I was right.
Tears welled up as I read further… “These are the ones I look on with favour: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2)
I remember saying to myself, “I might not possess the qualifications I think I need for the job, but I can try to be that kind of person—and trust God for the rest.”
I went to bed that night with a sense that an adventure was about to begin. I was right.
That Sunday morning I stumbled through my sermon. During the week I received word from my friend. The congregation wanted me to come. A short time later Grove Community Church had their first pastor.