On December 5th, God allowed an event to take place in my life that I never imagined I would experience. By His grace, I was ordained into the Gospel ministry. It was truly a sacred, sobering day that I will never forget. I was blessed to have the following men on my ordination council: Jim Phillips (my grandfather), Jack Baskin, Clayton Shumpert, Thurman Wade, Ray Warren, Steve Sparks, Don Prosser, Wayne Sosbee, John Banks, Josh Ayers, Patrick Henry, and my pastor, Derik Lawrence. John Wilkerson (pastor of First Baptist Church of Long Beach), Stephen Benefield (veteran missionary with whom we will be working in Cambodia), Paul Chappell (pastor of Lancaster Baptist Church), and Fred Fies (pastor of McKee Road Baptist Church) all gave a personal challenge to me via video for the ordination service.
Three highlights from that sacred evening stand out in my mind. First, my father's and grandfather's presence in the ordination council was both humbling and stirring. I thank God for my Christian heritage. My grandfather has been, and still is, greatly used of God in the ministry. My father, although not in full time ministry, has been a rock of consistent Christian living. May God give me the grace to give this gift to my son and daughter.
Second, the fact that my pastor has been involved in my life since I was thirteen years of age is a priceless gift. Pastor Lawrence was my youth pastor throughout my middle school and high school years. I was saved under his ministry. I was called to full time ministry under his ministry. He has seen me in spiritually tumultuous times of rebellion, and yet showed great love and understanding. And now he is my pastor and mentor in my adult years. What an honor and blessing. (Just a side note: I'm not the only kid from his youth group that is serving the Lord. There are dozens of "kids" who are married and serving the Lord that were in his youth group. That says something about his leadership.)
Third, hearing my wife's testimony during the ordination service- a testimony I have heard many times- ministered to my heart as if it were the first time I had ever heard it. The fact that Linda is willing, and not only willing, but eager to go to the land from which her parents fled- a land in which three of her older siblings perished- speaks volumes to me of her love for the Lord and her commitment to Him. I have never wondered if Linda was completely supportive of our going to Cambodia. I thank God for Linda.