Usually about this time of year I start getting ready to make the annual trek that my wife and I have for almost nine years now. Every January/February since the early 2000’s have made the journey to Jacksonville, Florida for the annual Pastor’s Conference at First Baptist Church. On the whole we have categorically enjoyed it.
This will be a different year. In the late spring of this year, a wonderful thing happened to me that will hinder me from this annual trek. A very sweet couple, who I have had the privilege to pastor, came to my office with an immeasurable gift for me, and my wife. I had the privilege of being with the man when he came to know Jesus as his Savior, just a few months prior. Without going into the long story of it all, the Lord worked a wonder in the heart of a man, that has now captured the attention and affection of our entire community.
In the late spring of this year, they came to my office, and asked me if I had ever been to Israel. I shared with them that I had not, but always wanted to; when you are raising four children financial priorities put extended travels on the bottom of the list. I felt like that was a loaded question when they asked, and it sure was. This kind couple had arranged for me and my wife, (although my wife will not be able to go) to travel to Israel this January. The trip is a “Timothy Tour” for pastors who have yet to get to go to the Holy Land. Their kindness was much undeserved. I have not even gone yet, and the gratitude that I have for their action is without measure.
That being said, my trek to Jacksonville will be out this year. I was somewhat disappointed with the new schedule format, but it would not have been a deal breaker for me. I do look forward to reading and hearing about how the conference goes, and pray that it takes a turn back toward the days of old.
Lord willing, unless I am kicking up gold dust on the streets of glory, this January I will be looking at, and learning from the streets of Jerusalem, and the hills of Israel. I have always heard that no real pastor is the same again, and so I am looking forward to a change in me worth making.