Almost 12 years ago, I sat down with Pastor Tim at a small restaurant in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. At this point in my life I had fallen deeply in love with the Word of God, but was still struggling with the idea of working in church. Like many pastors’ kids, I saw the best and worst in the local church. I knew all too well those “well-intentioned dragons” who would tell me if I didn’t shape up, I would be a disappointment to my father. They thought putting my father’s reputation on my shoulders would somehow force me to obey better. Like many who grow up in the church, I had an endless list of good and bad experiences. At that point, personally, all I seemed to think about were the negative experiences in the church. So there I was sitting in that small restaurant with Pastor Tim. Tim had just been through a difficult church struggle, and to top it off, just lost his son to cancer. By God’s grace, his son David kept the faith and honored the Lord until he stood before Him in heaven. Like a war veteran Pastor Tim bore the scars of ministry… literally in the trenches doing the work of Christ. I realized in comparison I had nothing to complain about, and that night I finally figured out why men like my dad, pastor Tim, and others continue to fight for truth in the midst of spiritual warfare. Through tears, Tim shared about all the struggles he had been through and how all of it was worth it just to give hope to one more person seeking truth. Tim never tried to paint the Christian journey to be easy, but he did show me why it was worth it. Isn’t it amazing how a mentor can change everything? I am eternally grateful for those who have poured into me. I will never be the same because of it. So to those who have gone before me, thank you. For not just speaking truth, but for demonstrating it, lived out right in front of me. You all truly are heroes.
This week we begin to look at the book of Titus. Paul, a spiritual war veteran, writes to his disciple Titus. He encourages, teaches, trains, and empowers him to take on the call with tenacity. I want to encourage you to read the book of Titus from the context of a battle scarred war veteran talking to a young man who’s now on the front lines. You may just notice more than you ever have before.
I know many churches seem to dumb down or mask the teachings of Scripture to become more relevant. Like I have been taught by my mentors, what the world needs is truth, and that is the heart of Trinity: we are not a seeker-sensitive church, we are a church in hot pursuit of truth. If we truly are soldiers of Christ, we need to be prepared for battle so we can stand strong. This week we begin the book of Titus. A real, transparent, and honest look at an amazing book of instruction.
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