One Step at a Time

May 6, 2001

Several people have asked about my personal future as pastor in light of the proposed expansion program. Put bluntly, they want to know, Am I planning to stay or to leave or what am I planning to do? Let me say frankly that my staying as your pastor has nothing to do with the expansion program. I won’t stay longer if we build it and I won’t leave earlier if we don’t. This program is far bigger than my tenure as your pastor. Every time I look at the timeline in the Dining Room, I am reminded that I am the 12th pastor of this church. Many fine pastors served before me and I believe many godly pastors will serve after I am gone. It’s hard to believe that in August I will celebrate my 12th anniversary as your pastor. When I came in 1989, I never thought or expected I would stay this long. Every day is a new record for me personally. And back then no one asked me to make a long-term commitment. It was just day by day, week by week, month by month, and year by year. That is as it should be. I came as your pastor because God called me to Oak Park. There is no other reason for me to be here. I came in obedience to God’s call, not knowing (or even dreaming) what would transpire over the next 12 years. Much that has happened has surprised me, some of it has humbled me, and much of it has made me stand back in amazement at what God has done. I can assure you that I didn’t have a master plan in mind when I arrived. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen or why God had sent me here.

All of you who have listened to me preach know how I often return to this basic principle: The way to know the will of God for tomorrow is to do God’s will today. Just take the next step in front of you, and in the taking of that next step, God will reveal the step after that. Life unfolds for all of us the same way. I don’t have a crystal ball to help me look into the future. I don’t know how long it will take us to raise the money any more than I know when the Cubs will finally win the World Series. But I’m rooting for the Cubbies to do it this year, and come to think of it, I don’t have any plans to leave, and if the Lord has plans for me to leave, he hasn’t told me about it. I hope that answers any questions you have about me. I don’t know what else to say except let’s all join hands and move forward by faith, trusting God to lead us into the future one step at a time.

Do you have any thoughts or questions about this post?