Brothers & Sisters in Christ,
The author of Ecclesiastes (likely Solomon, the man of wisdom) tells us in chapter 3 that there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven. Each of us will experience various seasons as we go through life. Individually we will and we are experiencing some if not all of the following even now: a time to rejoice at the birth of a child, a time to meet death, a time to weep, a time to laugh, a time to break down, a time to build up, a time to embrace, a time to refrain from embracing, a time to keep and a time to cast away, a time of challenges to our health, a time of crisis that we did not anticipate, a time to be helped by friends, and a time to help friends, a time to listen and a time to speak. Though not exhaustive, these seasons and their time for each of us are appointed by our King.
We are told to rejoice in all that He brings to us no matter how these events seem to us as He declares in Romans 8:28 “And we know for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose”. James tells us to “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
At this moment there are those in our congregation facing trials of health, trials of housing, trials of family issues, and many more. This is a time for those of us who are not under such trials at this time to reach out and to help our friends, and more accurately our family, with prayer and assistance as we live life together.
In this season we are all facing the same trial together as we work through the emotions and the sudden impact of the loss of our senior pastor. As the initial shock wears off there is increasing evidence within the congregation that we are seeing the wisdom given to us in Romans and in James above. Our faith and our trust are to be in the Lord who is sovereign over all and the primary cause of all that occurs. We are compelled that He who has blessed us with powerful, accurate, and compelling Biblical preaching for 43 years will not fail to continue to do so as we seek Him and submit our desires and our will to Him in prayer.
To this end, the pulpit committee you have elected is diligently seeking God’s guidance in finding the man that He has appointed for this work. Each of our meetings is opened with a meditation from scripture which encourages us in this task, and a time of prayer that He will apply His Word to our hearts and lead us in this search.
At a recent meeting, we read through Genesis 24 in which Abraham sends his most trusted servant on a quest to find a bride for his son Isaac. There are many parallels in this passage to the work of the pulpit committee which we will explore here:
Abraham sends his most trusted servant even as WPC has commissioned by vote their best choice for pulpit committee members
Abraham requires his servant to take an oath to find a bride from his people (Semites in Ur), not from the Canaanites, as the committee has been charged to find the man God has chosen who is faithful and committed to the Word in its entirety, and who desires to be a servant-shepherd.
Abraham’s servant questions if he should take Isaac back to Ur if a wife will not come back with him to this land. Abraham indicates that as God has led him to this land then he trusts that God will keep Isaac there and provide for him. We too trust that God has founded this church and will provide the right man at the right time. We will accept no compromises or exceptions to a candidate’s faith of and in the Word or to the constitutional documents of the PCA.
Abraham’s trusted servant traveled on a lengthy journey investing substantial time and effort as will be required of the committee. The committee must be prepared to travel on this journey, investing whatever time and efforts are necessary as we faithfully seek God’s will and trust in God’s timing.
Abraham’s servant prayed earnestly that God would grant him success and asked for a specific series of signs to confirm God’s choice for Isaac’s bride. The pulpit committee members are asked to be in prayer every day for God’s leading and are developing a matrix of “signs” by His leading that will be matched against the candidate’s desires and gifts to seek God’s confirmation.
God answers the prayer of Abraham’s servant as he humbly and sincerely seeks God’s will by meeting every sign that has been requested and even more as Rebekah was Abraham’s kindred. The committee trusts that God will be as faithful to Westminster if they and the entire congregation bathe this search in prayer and implore Him to give us discernment and wisdom.
The Lord had prepared the hearts of Rebekah and her family as they all agree that this is the will of God and she departs with “a stranger” to meet her husband in a faraway land. It is essential that God also prepare the heart of the man he has chosen and the hearts of his family so that the calling is confirmed by both parties as God’s will.
Therefore let us all join in prayer for those in our congregation that are facing trials that God will strengthen their faith and cause them to count it all joy as they seek His will for them, and as we come alongside them. Pray for the pulpit committee as they diligently seek God’s will for the next pastor of Westminster. Pray for the diaconate as the deacon candidates are interviewed by the session. Pray for the session as the workload they are under is substantial. Pray that God will strengthen us all against the attacks from the evil one that we may stand in faith, strengthened by the Holy Spirit.
Give thanks that God has provided Stephen as an intern at WPC months ago giving us the blessing of his labors declaring the Word as he just recently passed his licensure tests before the Credentials Committee of the Presbytery. We look forward to his formal licensure exam on the floor of Presbytery at a meeting to be held soon hosted by Westminster Presbyterian Church.
This season in the life of our church has the potential to be one of blessed and precious closeness as we join together in love, seeking to serve one another and to enjoy the amazing bond that can only be experienced in Christ. Your session is committed to lead us on this journey together as we have for many years as we trust in God to light the path.
Grace, Peace, and Love
Art (For the session)