Today marks a full seven days since the headlines shouted the news nationwide about our pastor and the life changing power of a temptation answered. I woke this morning hearing all of your voices calling, emailing, and asking, ‘how are you both, how is your church body?’. We appreciate your love, concern, and prayers so much. We have truly felt them! I had toyed with writing a story here about the week’s recent events and how God has poured out through the situation but wasn’t sure I could articulate my thoughts and feelings. That has been especially true since each day brings a different layer of emotion and growth to the surface. This morning, I felt it only fair that your concerns for us, at the least, be partly addressed.
Picking up our local newspaper in the driveway with our beloved Pastor and his wife smeared all over the front page, is not what anyone would wish for. Overnight, we had been notified by email that the overseer board had made their decision and Pastor Ted would be relieved of his leadership position. It was a vulnerable moment – sad, shocking, disbelieving, angering. Those feelings were multiplied when it is 4 days before a hotly contested election; the stakes were high and value based issues hang in the balance. I had anticipated this election to carry as much or more weight than any election I have seen in my lifetime. Ted has been a large driving force in at least one of those issues – the Colorado constitutional marriage amendment. His firm stand on that amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman and his Biblical teaching on homosexuality had put him in the crosshairs of a strong gay lobby desiring to see the highly debated domestic partnership referendum pass as well.
We were also in the middle of some stressful situations at home. This semester of Matt’s college classes has been more difficult than any classes he has undertaken over the last 3 years. The government project he has been working on with ITT was put on hold recently, and for about 10 days, we were unsure if he would have a job the next day. God has truly brought awesome results there but that’s another story to be written later. The kids have been undergoing strong, rapid changes in their relationship and were waffling on whether they would continue to live together any longer. Friday morning, as I was picking up the paper in the driveway, the kids were making their heart wrenching decision to go their separate ways.
That gives you a bit of background on how the situation hit us initially. Last Friday was a hard day, for sure! ‘But God’, the Bible says, when there is a transition and God comes on the scene. Yes, ‘but God’. Abba was in our midst as transition came on that fateful day and as it continues in all realms for many of us, spiritually, personally, and politically, He remains. The last week has changed so many lives so drastically, not to mention the probable course of our Nation and the World. Our Abba is a good Father who loves His children and is so faithful to hold them when they hurt and apply His healing balm to their lives, regardless of how they got where they did. It can be by their own decisions that bring hard consequences or by no true fault of their own. He is so faithful. I cannot imagine walking through the challenges of this life without having a personal relationship with Him.
Our hearts are with Ted and Gayle and their family, as well as, our lovely church family and friends. Does anyone truly realize the depth of the price we pay for sin, until it has been paid? We can’t allow even the ‘little’ ones to have seed in our soil. Neither of us in any way condemns Ted for the choices he made; it is only by the grace, mercy, and love of a Heavenly Father that we walk out each day. It has been a sobering time for us but also a great rejoicing time. We personally know the redemption of the Blood of Jesus for our sin; each and every one of them. If we will accept His gift, we are washed white as snow. Ted knows that joy today as well. Halleluiah!
The concise, timely, and wise manner in which the overseer board and staff has handled the very public situation, has allowed the healing process to leap forward. The decisions made for all of us – the continuance of the ministry and the restoration of the family, were conducted with such integrity. We are excited for what God is doing in our midst. There is brokenness, which is actually good, connecting us to our heart motivations and introspection, bringing us along side others and allowing a greater measure of God’s love and anointing to flow through our lives. Through the experience there is a refining, refocusing process that is taking place both personally and then corporately. That is how revival happens, it starts with individuals and grows like a fire. The fire of New Life will continue to grow and burn, affecting the World with the love of Jesus, just as Ted and Gayle have always seen it taking place. The vision looks a bit different now but God always brings beauty for ashes, strength for fears, gladness in morning, and peace for despair when we allow Him the freedom. The restored aftermath of a fire is often more beautiful than what was previously there.
My heart cries out to all of you that we be diligent in our walk with the Lord. Diligent in discipline, diligent to walk in love-it is our greatest commandment, diligent to seek His face at all times and diligent in obedience. The spiritual season has changed drastically. Pride is being dealt with on all levels in all arenas. Don’t let it bring pain into your life. Fall on the sword so to speak, killing the flesh and allowing your spirit to soar. Many of us have prayed for revival in our nation for many years, that we would humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God and turn from our wicked ways. I am not sure we ever thought about what that process would look like, how it would affect us personally or the pain that would be involved as we watched the purification process happen. Now we know. I believe it has begun.
Forgive me; if I sound maudlin, I am not. I am, as I said earlier, deeply sobered. I am rejoicing that we can all have a personal relationship with our Creator through Jesus Christ and that the Blood covenant He made with us is only broken if we choose to break it. The choice for redemption is always ours! I also rejoice that He is our hope and future, He has a plan and a purpose and it is for our good, our prosperity. It is so bright and exciting! The most important and very humbling part is that it starts right now with each one of us! May He make Himself known to you in a whole new way today and give you a further glimpse of the beauty He sees for His plan in the tapestry that is your life. Blessings!