Sunday, June 4, 2006, I stepped into the pulpit of First Baptist Church of Mulberry Grove for the first time as her pastor. My prayer on that day: “Lord take us somewhere special together.” In ways it seems like yesterday. And in others, it is hard to remember those days when we weren’t family together.

Yes, I remember my years growing up, inviting Jesus to be my Savior in a little east Texas church at the age of 6, fully surrendering to Him and to ministry service at the age of 12, and walking (sometimes stumbling) down that road of my calling that led through several states, and countries, different languages and cultures, and even different assignments. Even so, it’s hard not to see that I am not your pastor, your brother, your friend.

That is what makes me love you so. You are my family. Sometimes we laugh, sometimes we cry, sometimes we celebrate, sometimes we disagree (and I pray that we will always do that agreeably). That is also why I pray for you. I pray for your hurts and your healings. I pray for your needs and your feelings. But mostly I pray for your souls—that you will grow, that you will hunger for Christ, and that you will follow Him fully. As with my own personal prayer—“Make me more like Jesus than ever before”—I pray that each of you will grow closer to Him and become more like Him today than you were yesterday.

And now, on June 5, 2016, this is my prayer: Thank you Lord for FBC Mulberry Grove. Take us where you want us to go!”

“’For I know the plans I have for you’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11)