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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Walking in Truth

Having just arrived home from a trip out of town, I must confess that I took this Sunday off! There will not be a sermon to download this week as I did not preach. And the devotion on Monday will be late. But before I am off to bed I want to share with you some of my thoughts about this weekend spent in West Texas.

It is more appropriate than perhaps we know that this week I will begin to cover Ephesians 4:17-32 in a series of devotions titled Walk in Truth. I say this because I was reminded this weekend of 3 John 4:

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

This verse came to life in my sight this weekend. Let me explain as I try to shorten a very long story.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.....

the Doctrine Wars erupted. I was attending a seminar as a teenager and while on break met another teen and his even younger brother in the lobby. I don't remember now how it was that we were introduced, but the discussion became very serious very quickly. We argued doctrine!

An arrangement was made wherein the older of the brothers and I would write letters back and forth to continue our heated debate. (Yes, this was before email and we had to mail letters that took several days to be delivered). We wrote back and forth for months - perhaps it was several years. I still have those letters somewhere. And through the course of that time he and I both came to a better understanding of Scripture. A true friendship and brotherhood grew out of those debates as we discipled each other. We really did start to discuss rather than debate - all with the purpose of knowing God and His Word better.

That teen was Brian Hedges. And our friendship grew to the point that I spent most every spring break throughout college staying with his family in West Texas. I won't bore you with the details of our weeks. But I thank God to this day that by His grace and providence our paths intersected - and in the years since we have seen grace upon grace.

Brian's dad Ronnie officiated at Renee's and my wedding. We spent countless hours at their house and with their family, seeing true hospitality lived out. God used the Hedges family to minister to us and He used Renee and I to minister to them. Brian's brother's, Jason and Andy, became like brothers to me.

As time moved on I was called to pastor the church where Ronnie's parents were members, his father serving as a deacon. And they both were a great encouragment this young preacher boy and his wife. Now they remain a godly couple, have become great grandparents, and are as always people who love God and His Church.

Then in 1997 I was called to Round Rock. Since then I have pastored our church. And we have not been back to West Texas in all that time. Until this weekend. Nine and a half years had passed and while I had seen Brian and Andy on a few occassions, these visits were few and far between. But then....

Andy got married to Alissa on Saturday in Lubbock. It was a beautiful Christ centered wedding. And as the ceremony started this verse from 3 John hit me. There was Ronnie, standing to officiate. There was Andy of course, the groom. And the best man Brian, and with the groomsmen Jason. And there among the bridesmaids, Anna, their younger sister (who just had a birthday and is now officially a teenager herself). With mom Gloria looking on from the congregation there was this family.

All of them walking in truth. All of them being used of God somewhere in ministry and service to Christ and His people. All of them together examples of a true Christian family.

I thought that perhaps this verse had entered Ronnie's mind as he surveyed the scene, too. I failed to ask him this weekend, but he did on a number of occassions remark about how good and gracious God is. That and verses he kept quoting about the joy of grandchildren :) as Brian and Jason have kids of their own now.

We were blessed to worship with them this morning, to sing praises to God, to pray together, to hear the Word of God preached clearly and without apology by a young man, Brother John, newly exercising his gifts and calling in the church where Ronnie pastors! And we of course had a good preacher to preacher to preacher theological discussion after church. All in an ongoing pursuit of truth.

I am convinced that I waited much too long before a visit to this family that is so dear to me. And I am sure we will see them again soon. In the mean time I will be praying for them with renewed commitment and love. Remembering that there are those out there who are never in the spot light but who never fail to preach the truth and faithfully feed and lead the sheep!

And today I rejoice and give God all the glory, that by His grace a godly pastor named Ronnie Hedges is able with the greatest joy to proclaim that his children walk in truth.

Amen.

1 Comments:

Blogger John said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip! It was a blessing to meet you and your wife, and we pray that the Lord will continue to bless you.

9:44 AM  

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