Experiencing God: Reality 1
When a missionary enters a “pioneer” area they tend to think that they are bringing God into a “godforsaken” land. I was a Marine attending a very mission minded Southern Baptist Church in North Carolina when I received orders to NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. In my mind, the north was the realm of atheism and I saw God's hand in providing me an opportunity to bring the gospel to a sinful people.
I was surprised to find Christians in Maryland and a new church start in the community where I had moved. I quickly found a home there and was licensed, mentored and ordained by a people who were mission minded and eager to train a young man with a call to ministry. I learned that God was at work in Maryland long before He arranged for me to arrive.
From Maryland, I went to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. I had pictured myself as a youth pastor in an outlying rural community. Apparently, so had every other ministry student. I found myself, instead, the pastor of an inner-city new church start just outside the French Quarter.
God had been at work in advance of my arrival. There were seminary students who had arrived at NOBTS for reasons unrelated to my church who partnered with me in this God-sized adventure. They were sojourners on a quest for their own God-driven destinies
Looking back I can see how God had been at work in my life and in the life of Baptist Temple to create the wonderful ministry that has emerged. I know that He has been at work carefully selecting who would be a part of the future and who would not. Even now He is developing leaders who will lead Baptist Temple into the future.
God is always at work around us. We must open the eyes of our heart to see what he is doing.