Wednesday, April 11, 2012


"From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." (Luke 12:48)

Five months ago I decided that I would not pursue ministry as a profession. I had come to grips with never preaching again, but then God breathed John 21 deeply into my soul. In this passage, the Risen Christ gathers with his disciples and has this intimate moment with Peter.  Peter had blown it!  He had turned his back on Jesus when Jesus needed his friendship the most.  I am positive Peter felt like a failed disciple...he was! Jesus, always in the business of resurrection and restoration, intentionally asks Peter, "Do you love me?!"
"Of course I do!"
"Then feed my lambs!"
Jesus again, "Simon, do you love me?"
"Jesus, you are God's son, you know everything and the answer is 'Yes!'"
"Take care of my sheep, okay?"
Jesus for a third time (Hmm, seems like Peter did something three times), "Do you love me?"
"Come on JESUS! You know I love you!"
"Feed my lambs!"

Jesus, by calling Peter back to ministry three times is clear to point out, "I acknowledge that you betrayed me but I STILL want you to minister to my people!"  I believe this moment with the Risen Christ empowered Peter to a new and more effective ministry!  He went on to be one of the greatest preachers and leaders in Church history.

I, in no way, compare myself to Peter.  I cannot touch him with a ten foot pole except for one area: I also failed and I too have felt Jesus asking, "Charlton, do you love me?" 
"Yes, I do!"
"Then feed my sheep!"

I felt this whisper from Jesus through many who love me, through a raging fire in my heart that won't quit burning, and through a new friend and mentor Tim Woodruff. Tim looked at my heart, chose to believe in me, and served as my Barnabas.  Thank you, Tim! Jesus is calling me back to ministry. And so this summer my family and I will be taking the long trek north to serve alongside an amazing congregation in Trenton, MI: Trenton Church of Christ. I believe wholeheartedly that God is intertwining our stories because he is up to something redemptive in Trenton and the surrounding area. Here are some of the few things I already love about TCOC:
  1. Mark Frost, their Senior Minister for 30+ years, has loved them and pastored them well.  He is a man of God who has shaped an amazing community of faith.
  2. TCOC has loved Mark Frost well! They have taken care of their ministers.
  3. Philip, Mary, and Jema...three new co-workers who love God and dream God's dreams for TCOC.
  4. Four elders who are passionate about shepherding and empowering their flock.
  6. A passion to reach a mass of unchurched families in the area (65% of people in the area have no church affiliation).
  7. A community of people who have already begun to love and accept my family.
  8. Relocating to an area of the country hit hard by the recession that seeks redemption on so many levels.  We have a good message for that!
  9. A community that takes seriously the leadership of women and their Spirit-given gifts.
  10. A faith community with lots of kids.
And there are many more.  I am humbled and honored to have been invited to join stories with TCOC. I'm so excited to see what God has in store. The following statement sums up my thoughts as my family and I enter this new phase of life and ministry:

I have less confidence in myself and my ability than I have ever had in my life, but I have more confidence in God than I have ever had in my life. 

Here is a video my family put together to introduce ourselves to our new Church family:

 "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." (Luke 12:48) His favor keeps me on my knees with my head bowed...I better get busy!

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