Sherman wrote:You mentioned pastoring a church, an independent church. How's that going? How are the members of your church reacting to you embracing UR? Do you teach what you believe on UR openly? Did you plant the church? How old is it? Please do share more about yourself and your church.
Hey, Sherman great to meet you and everyone else, sir. All good questions. Well, my wife and I moved to Lima, OH (as in the bean not Peru) back in 2001 after I transitioned out of the Corps. We are originally from Michigan. I ministered at the local homeless shelter here for over 9 years. It was about half way through my tenure ministering at the shelter that God revealed to me His plan to save all. Needless to say, it revolutionized my life, I felt like I had been saved all over again! It was hard to contain and well, I really didn't
It was at this time that I developed a good working relationship with a local church. I would often be called on to fill their pulpit when the pastor was away. Eventually the pastor went away permenantly (he didn't die, just went to another church
)and we felt God calling us there so we responded. (So no, we did not plant. We will some day though, I believe it's in my "DNA"!) We've been pastoring this flock for nearly 2 years now. Things are going really well on most fronts. Many of the believers are soaking up God's Word like a sponge, which to a pastor is everything you could hope for.
As far as being open with UR I am sad to report I am not completely, at least not from the pulpit
Please believe me, I struggled greatly with this at first because idealistically I felt that when I would eventually leave the homeless shelter I would be leaving one place that was UR resistant to a place that I could share freely; at least that was my hope before being offered the position at our church and I nearly turned down the job for that reason. But God wouldn't let me turn it down! As most weak-faithed individuals do just to be sure, I made a "deal" with God. That "deal" was, I would tell the church board what I believed concerning UR and if they still wanted me after that I would stay. Well I told them, and apart from expressing some concerns which were all inconsequential, and others admitting they had never even heard of it, we accepted.
The church is only about 5 years old. We have a good cross section of age groups. I am a young guy so I think I have been drawing a few of the younger ones in which is always healthy. Our people come from many different denominational backgrounds so as you could imagine we have a "bridge mix" of beliefs. Personally, I am a partial-preterist, Calvinistic (don't hate me
) Universalist, so I think as far as differences are concerned I fit right in. I've pushed on everyone here pretty significantly in regards to doctrine here of late and most have taken it in stride. So I am encouraged! I may not be able to share openly right now but a few things are for sure: 1. I am in a better position now then I was a few years go! 2. God is settin me up so I can preach this freely in His time! Hallelujah, excited for what God is doing!