06: spiritual leaders

Today I am thankful for the spiritual leaders God has placed over me. The shepherds He has called to lead His flock, the friends He has called to lead this sheep. As I have reflected on the spiritual leaders in my life, it occurs to me that I must really be a mess because this sheep needs not one, or two… but three shepherds to keep her on course!  And that doesn’t even count all of the Pastors that have impacted my life over the years!

I am thankful today for Seth Alexander. Seth pastors my home church (FBC Bicknell). I am thankful for the educator that he is. For the passion he has for the Truth, even when it’s uncomfortable. I am thankful for the visionary leader he has become, taking our little church from a completely inward-focused, keep-our-members-comfortable-and-happy mode of operation to an entirely outward-focused, find-the-lost-and-show-them-Jesus approach to doing church. I am thankful for the way he has challenged each of us to become disciple-makers, reminding us that it’s our job to reach this lost and dying world, and that if we don’t do it… who will?  My heart rejoices as we continue to see the streets of Hell depopulated! Just today we witnessed the 45th person step into the waters of baptism since we began the push to reach the unchurched in our community! Forty-five people! That’s a big deal, folks, especially in a community our size!  God knew what He was doing, Seth, when He called you to lead us. And He knew just what I needed when He called you to be my friend

I am thankful today for Kathy Stephens. Kathy teaches a Bible Study in her home on Monday nights that feeds my spirit and has encouraged me to seek the deeper things of God.  Her humble spirit finds confidence in God to say things that challenge the American mindset and encourage us to trust a God who warns us that it will not be easy, but promises that it will be worth it. Her spiritual insight into the Scriptures continue to amaze me… taking me deeper and deeper into passages that I have sometimes read a dozen times… and never thought of it quite like *that*!  I found myself at Kathy’s Bible Study many years ago, just as I was really beginning to hunger after God… and it was there that I learned how to read Scripture, and hear God’s voice. What a gift! She took me from spiritual milk to meat, and continues each week through the power of the Holy Spirit to confirm, challenge, and convict me. Kathy, you are a mighty woman of God, and the work you do in your home is truly Kingdom work- reaching across denominational barriers and gathering us together as one Body!

I am thankful today for Dusty McCandless. Dusty pastors the New Life Community Church in Haubstadt. I only met Dusty about seven months ago, but he has spoken so much into my life that it seems like it must have been longer than that! Since that time I have regularly attended an intercessory prayer service their church hosts on Saturday evenings.  Over and over again, Dusty has spoken things to my ears which were directly from the throne room of God.  He has encouraged my ravished heart to be ever more sold out and radical for my God.  His passion for Jesus is contagious (and I think some people very near and dear to me are catching the fever too!) and His love for God’s people is written all over his heart and his actions. Dusty, I thank God for the way he has used you to speak directly into my spirit. I thank you for the encourager you have been to step confidently into the calling God has placed on my life.

How lucky am I? How blessed? To have these three individuals to guide and mentor me. How thankful am I that they said “yes” to the call to go and make disciples! And how humbled am I by their example… which is ever and always to point to Jesus. To shine a light on Him. Never accepting glory on their own name, but always lifting a banner up in Jesus name!

I don’t do a great job of letting each of you know how precious you are to me (I was even a Pastor Appreciation Month Failure)… so let me take this time to say thank you from the depths of my heart for who you are and for the gentle care you have taken in nourishing my spirit.  

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