For we walk by faith and not by sight! (2 Corinthians 5:7)
On New Year’s Eve 1971/1972, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior and at midnight was baptized in the Atlantic Ocean.
The ministry now called Fellowship Christian began the second weekend in March 1972. Almost fifty years as a church, and I was the Senior Pastor for 49 of those years.
Below I reminiscence about 50 years as a Christian and 49 years as a pastor.
God fulfills promises.
The thousands of promises in the Bible can be summarized in three verses: Philippians 4:7 (peace), Philippians 4:13 (power), and Philippians 4:19 (presence). Every promise inspired in scripture can be summarized in 7, 13, 19.
Through 50 years, I give testimony that God keeps His promises.
I call this the password to being filled with God’s Spirit – 7, 13, 19!
Walk by faith not by sight.
Every time I started a new adventure with God, I felt inadequate and beyond my depth. Every time, a few people told me that I was in error and not following God. Every time, after listening to this discouragement and then questioning God’s will, someone trumped the negativity with a word of encouragement that restored my faith!
Through 50 years, I admit there have been mistakes, but I would rather try and fail than not try at all. Yes, someone told me that once!
Great leaders have followers; great influencers build teams.
In the later 1700s, the powerful orator, George Whitefield, had followers, but John Wesley developed teams and his influence is still felt on many street corners in America through the Methodist Church.
The greatest leadership skill is understanding who you can work with to build a team.
Confess quickly, then move on!
Most mistakes are recoverable if a leader admits his error, takes responsibility, explains what happened, gives a plan, and humbly asks for help.
Crisis management by humility can be excruciatingly painful (think Jesus on the cross or public confession). Great leaders, and the organizations they lead, can then thrive through difficulty.
Constantly check your foundation.
The foundation of your faith is literally a rock – Jesus.
Upon that foundation, build scripture, prayer, fellowship, and discipling/evangelism – the four foundational disciplines of the Christian faith.
I give testimony that I have started most mornings during the past 50 years by reading my Bible and then praying to a living Lord.
As a Christian for 50 years and pastor for 49 years, I encourage you to be faithful. By God’s grace, grow in your relationship with Jesus, walk in His calling for your life and keep commitments.
Temptations abound, excuses seem plausible, but only bitterness comes from not following our Lord and Savior.
For 50 years, I continue to confess Jesus.