May 5 2013

New Beginnings–Again!

AD2471Right before leaving Pikeville a dear friend gave me a stone that had engraved upon it the words “New Beginnings.”  This time in my life truly is a period of new beginnings.  I made the move to Henderson, Kentucky, this past Tuesday. I started my new job at the First Christian Church of Henderson on Wednesday. This morning it was my privilege to share my first message with this congregation as their new pastor. Although new beginnings can be very stressful and scary, I am excited about where God has brought me and I look forward to what is ahead.

AD2408I’m glad that my new beginning has coincided with the season of spring. Spring in many ways represents a new beginning for the earth. I was reminded of that a few days ago as I took a walk in nearby John James Audubon State Park. The wildflowers bursting forth from the ground and the countless shades of green in the trees reminded me of the scripture where God declares that He makes “all things new.” (Rev. 21:5) This afternoon I saw a robin feeding its chicks. Once again there was the reminder, “I make all things new.”   Wherever I seem to glance this time of the year this is the message that presents itself to me.AD2480I see behind both my own new beginning and the signs of new beginnings in nature a God of grace and mercy. I see a God who finds delight in offering us a new beginning every single day. In the third chapter of the Book of Lamentations we find these beautiful words: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (vs. 22-23) How awesome it is that we get a chance to start over or begin again every day of our lives! It is even more awesome to know that the God of all Creation is with us on this journey and provides us with both His presence and love constantly.

When you wake up tomorrow, make sure to offer thanks to God for the gift of new beginnings. And then do it again the day after that.  And the day after that…

–Chuck

(I took the three images shown here this past week at John James Audubon State Park in Henderson, KY.)


Mar 10 2013

God Did Provide

“All I have needed thy hand hath provided–great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.” –Thomas O. Chrisholm

John Audubon SP sycamore treeOn January 13 I posted a blog here called “God Will Provide.”  That was the date I resigned my position as pastor here in Pikeville.  When I resigned I had no other job waiting.  I simply knew it was time for me to leave here and felt I could trust God to provide me another place of service when the time was right.  This afternoon I received a call telling me that I have been selected to become the new pastor of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Henderson, Kentucky.  I will begin my work there in May.  I am so very grateful for this opportunity and want to offer my heartfelt thanks to my heavenly Father for being the God who does, indeed, provide.

I am not going to say that I have had no anxious thoughts the past couple of months; my faith is not always what it should be.  Still, I can honestly say I knew that God would eventually open a door for me to serve elsewhere.  Both of God’s books, Creation and the Bible, point to a God who is faithful and good.  I cannot remember a time in my life that God has let me down.  I had no reason to believe He would now.

_DSC8247For those of you who don’t know, Henderson is in the western part of Kentucky.  It is located right across the Ohio River from Evansville, Indiana.  The geography there is quite different from what I’ve been used to the past twenty-four years.  For almost a quarter of a century I’ve lived and served in the hills of Appalachia.  I love these mountains immensely and will no doubt miss them.  Still, I look forward to exploring the natural areas in and around Henderson.  John James Audubon lived in Henderson for a while and there is a state park there named in his honor.  The area is also on a major flyway for migrating birds.  I have a feeling I’ll be doing a good bit of bird photography in the years to come.  Not far from Henderson there are a number of other state parks and a national forest.  There will be no shortage of places and things to explore on my days off.

One of the exciting things about moving to an area that differs geographically and naturally from the one you are used to is that it affords new opportunities to see God in His Creation.  Since I will be exposed to things there that I cannot see here, it only makes sense that I’ll obtain knowledge about God and Creation that I might not know otherwise.  Without a doubt, God is to be found as much in the rivers, lakes and sloughs of western Kentucky as the hills and valleys of the eastern region of the Bluegrass State.  I look forward to sharing with you what I discover there.

John Audubon SP lakeIn the meantime, I encourage you to be aware of God’s presence wherever you happen to be.  Whether you experience God through Creation, the Scriptures or any other means God chooses, I hope you will always remember that He truly is the God who provides.

–Chuck

(I took the three pictures above at John James Audubon State Park when I was working on my book, Kentucky: Unbridled Spirit and Beauty.)