I was out shoveling the driveway after the latest storm when I noticed a brand new, crisp copy of a Benny's circular in the walk. I stared at it in disbelief. Where had it come from? It was clean and looked like it was hot off the press.
I couldn't believe it because anything that had been out in the snow would have looked worse for the wear. This was brand new like it had floated down from heaven. It was almost as if someone had walked by while I was shoveling and set it there for me to see.
The thought hit me that it was a sign from God to tell me that Benny's had everything I needed to clear my walk and driveway from the snow. Get your shovel's snow blowers, extension cords, gas cans, lock de-icer at Benny's now. I laughed and was reminded how God often gave wonders and signs to the prophets in the Bible. Moses had the burning bush. Gideon had the wet fleece. Elijah had the fire from heaven. John the baptist had the dove descending from heaven. I had the Benny's circular.
The truth is that God often will give us a dream, a vision, an unlikely coincidence to tell us that he is with us and wants us to do something. Most of the time we ignore it. Every once in a while it is so clear that we have to pick it up and see what happens next.
That happened to me last fall. I received a letter from a pulpit committee in Westerly, Rhode Island and it struck within me that I had to check out. In the following weeks it became clear to me that God was calling me and I needed to respond. The events that unfolded brought me to the place I stand today. This past week I gave my notice to the members and friends of the First baptist Church that I was leaving. My last Sunday will be March 6, 2011. I will answering God's call to become the next pastor of the Central Baptist Church of Westerly, Rhode Island on March 9th and begin my walk with them as they enter the season of Lent.
It has been my good fortune to serve the people of First Baptist and of greater Norwich for the past quarter century. I consider myself the most fortunate man on the face of the earth. I thank God for that and I thank all of you.
As I did on that day when I was shoveling snow, I saw the circular, made note of it, and went back to the work I was doing. So now I do that with ministry. For the next two months I will celebrate and enjoy the work God has given us to do here and then move on as we both begin a new chapter in our worship and service of God.
In his service,