Greeting to my Brothers and Sisters at the Creek,
As we continue in our time of transition together, I desired to share a thought or two regarding my own journey through change and transition while on His mission. I will also work to incorporate a few logistical details, but let me ask your forgiveness in advance for the length of the blog post. It has been some time since we posted due to the holidays and I want to include much, but I must also regretfully agree with my dear brother Chris Siemers who often accuses me of being a talker (just don’t tell him I said so).
At the Creek this Sunday, I heard Pastor John Ewart describe our fellowship as a church standing at the crossroads of a “transitional historical moment of opportunity.” I must confess that my mind initially greeted that statement with mixed emotions, as it has concerning many of the changes ahead in 2020.
The new year has certainly arrived, and much about Yawn family life is changing. First, there were significant changes to the pastorate in the fall of 2019. It is likely I will retire from the Navy in 2020, and regarding our kids, Tina and I began to fully realize that all of our children are no longer kids at all. Even our youngest Nathan is now a college student heading off to things like the Passion Conference in Atlanta with faithful men of God such as Jase Brown. Instead of youth trips, Nate is hanging with the College Ministry — how did that happen? It is like his mom and I woke up and he was leaving. Now, along with his four older siblings, they are all always leaving. Yes they are setting off to pursue God-given opportunities that have been set before them, but they are leaving us nonetheless.
Honestly, in the midst of these historical-leaving moments my brain naturally SCREAMS: “Wait, wait, please WAIT! I am not ready for Change!” And then I hear the word of God from Pastor John, couched in the context of “transitional historical moments of opportunity.” One of the blessings of attending a church that insists on delivering the Word of God to the people of God is that your own unbiblical thinking, like fear of change, is often countered by biblical truth. That goes for Elder Scott, too. I know from the Scriptures that I am naturally resistant to change, as that has been the case for God’s people forever.
The weeping prophet Jeremiah begged God’s people by saying, “’Stand at the crossroads and look. Ask for the ancient paths: Where is the good way? Then walk in it and you will find rest for your souls.’ But Israel was obstinate and said, ‘We will not walk in it’” (Jer. 6:16).
I often find I am much like Israel, but praise God that faithful followers of Jesus Christ are not left to depend upon our own natures (1 Cor. 2:13-14). His Word reminds me that God in His great mercy has put forth a plan, or a mission. Because of His promises, I know His mission is good (Jer. 29:11, Rom. 8:28) and accepting His invitation to “Join (His) the King’s Mission” is what makes 2020 exceedingly more exciting than scary. If only I can fix my eyes on Jesus and not fear! As I sat and considered Pastor John’s sermon, confessed my sin and opened my spiritual eyes, I realized that even before we officially rang in the New Year, there was much to be excited about. Please allow me to offer praise for a few of those things.
First, before 2020 arrived there was a strong season of faithful giving that resulted in a significant blessing to the Benevolence Ministry and to the Lottie Moon offering for missionaries. What is more, as a congregation, we found ourselves on our faces before God in what was the first prayer service, of many more powerful prayer services and other prayer opportunities to come.
The faithfulness of our King and subsequently His people is like fuel for the train ready to leave the station and journey down the King’s tracks. Pastor Jim and others leading our prayer effort are providing fuel for our train by publishing a 30 Day Prayer Guide. I have grabbed one of those guides and I encourage you do the same. Together in prayer we can individually and corporately continue crying out to our King with both praise and petition, eagerly expecting His response (Jer. 33:3). There is much to pray for during this time of transition, but as Pastor John reminded us, everything centers on the King’s mission. Therefore, I plan to focus my prayer on His mission, asking our King to reveal more about His mission and how He intends for Scott, his family and his church to join His mission now and in the years to come. Will you join me?
Also, the train really began to get rolling with a Leadership Retreat this past week, and I want to offer praise and thanks regarding the retreat as well. Pastor John asked the congregation to pray for the retreat, and I am convinced it was the intercession of the saints that paved the way for rich moments of hard work, transparency, reflection and varying degrees of revelation. We challenged one another to be faithful to the Three D’s (devoted to prayer, defined by the Word of God, and dependent on the Holy Spirit) during the retreat. Together we received introduction, instruction, and were inspired to faithfully apply the “discipline of why?” that Pastor John shared in his sermon and in more detail with the leadership. By God’s grace, Pastor John’s faithful teaching, and your prayers we began asking why, who, what and how in regards to God’s mission, Richland Creek, and ourselves. We asked some hard questions and entered a season of assessment, just as many of you are through meetings, interviews, surveys and more. We eagerly await a Congregational Assessment Report that Pastor John intends to deliver on a Sunday morning in February (stay tuned for that announcement).
Brothers and sisters, I am reminded of Jesus’ words to His disciples in the midst of Him sharing via parables; “But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear” (Matt. 13:16). I give Him praise for spiritual sight and hearing! In our front row seats on His train, as we travel down His tracks, if we listen carefully we can hear the still small voice of His Spirit as we approach “transitional historical moments of opportunity” with our eyes wide open. We are making this journey together knowing that He is doing a new thing! Therefore, I pray for you and for me that our minds will be clear of fear and former things of old. That as He begins doing a new thing, we will perceive it fully! (Isa. 43:18-19). Finally, I pray for His love. It is His love that drives out fear, restores a right relationship with Him, and makes possible our devotion to one another.
Your devoted brother in the sweet name of Jesus Christ,
Elder / Brother Scott Yawn