A few Life Reflections – By the Grace of God

I have had the privilege of serving on the board of a seminary for the last 10 years. Recently the President asked one of the staff to obtain profiles of the board members. The idea behind this request is a practical one – a prospective student will want to know who is actually watching over the mission of the school. I don’t fault that – I would encourage that, in fact, because as the board goes, so does the school. The President charged the staff member with asking six questions of us board members; I thought that perhaps you’d like to see the questions, because they may stimulate some thought, praise, prayer, and maybe even conviction for you like they did for me. Here they are:

  1. Your achievements in life and business –and don’t be timid.
  2. The biggest challenges in your life
  3. The biggest lessons you have learned
  4. What ministries are you involved in?
  5. Are there individuals or events that have profoundly shaped you?
  6. Your dreams for MISSIO (the name of the seminary).

Since I limited space in this blog, I will share briefly part of my answers. (much more could be said for all of these – but space is limited)

1. Achievements. This was probably the most difficult to answer – for it is hard to rate these things in terms of ministry. I think the apostle Paul put it well in 1 Corinthians 15:10: “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” Here I was convicted – I did work hard, but I knew others that worked harder! One thing I could list here was having the privilege of watching God build a church from a small group, and then merge it with another church which had a beautiful facility and gave it to us.

2. Biggest challenges. Loving a wife in the way she deserves, and raising three children in a godly home. Changing careers at age 43 from pastoral ministry to Headmaster of private school. In all settings, assisting people in their faith journey to maturity.

3. Wow. Where to start? Let the scripture teach you before you teach the scripture. God loves a cheerful giver. Listen to everyone. Be willing to be broken for imperfect people. Etc.

4. At this season of life, the Lord has directed me to serve on a number of boards, both in ministry organizations, and secular. In addition, teaching Biblical World View to teens and young adults.

5. Much to say here, especially with gratefulness. In addition to my parents and my wife, I will mention my first years as a Christian – age 17 – 21 – I attended churches that emphasized teaching more than preaching, one on one and small group discipleship, missions, and prayer. I didn’t realize how those two churches “imprinted” me until I unconsciously was reproducing those emphases at my first church.

6. I’ll skip this since it is specific to the seminary.

The staff member was very patient with my rambling for nearly an hour as I verbally gave her my thoughts. Going through this exercise caused me to praise God for His work in my life, to pray for more light from the Holy Spirit, and some conviction due to not learning from some lessons in the past!

And so, what about you – how would you answer these questions? I’d encourage you to take the time to do so – and see what the Lord does in your own life as a result. – Blessings – Pastor Jim

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