Thursday, April 04, 2013

Going to Chilliwack 

After much thought and prayer, Saturday March 16, I accepted the call to become the pastor of the Heritage Reformed Congregation of Chilliwack.  I know the Lord is calling me to go to Chilliwack and leave Tasmania but it is still quite hard for me to grasp.  The word that keeps coming to mind is surreal.  

It seems strange to be leaving now.  We have two new elders.  Some of the things I have been praying about since arriving here have begun to come to fruition.  Apart from the burden of the Lord to go, some would consider it foolish for me to leave.  

I asked a good friend for counsel and he thought I should stay in Australia because no place needs the Reformed faith more and I would never have nearly as much freedom (in my work and approach to the ministry) as I would have in Australia.  He is absolutely right.  But the Lord would have me go to Canada and where He sends is where I need to be.  But why do I need to be in Canada?  Why would the Lord call me there? and how do I know the Lord is calling me there?  

As I have sought the Lord three main things (there were many other things as well) stood out powerfully to me.  The first was how our congregation has developed here.  Things have just begun to reach the point of development I was praying for (as I mentioned earlier).  I prayerfully envisioned these advancements in a more mature and developed state but they have begun in principal.  I trust the Lord will send a teaching elder to continue the work here but with the elders that have been ordained and installed have the gifts to continue developing the work here. 

The second main thing has been developing relationships with like minded churches in Australia.  By "like minded" I mean other denominations we hold very similar convictions with regarding worship, subscription to the Westminster standards, and even shared history.  Particularly our relationship with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.  

The Evangelical Presbyterian Church was the denomination the Southern Presbyterian Church split from in 1986.  During my time here there has been growing personal and denominational reconciliation.  Hard feelings have been overcome.  Estranged families have reunited.  There are denominational differences but at least now we can talk together as denominations and consider the possibility of working together.  I am very thankful for these developments.  I would encourage further development between the EPC and the SPC but any further steps should be taken by indigenous SPC folk.  

Third, I felt the Lord was calling me to Tasmania because it was in greater harmony with my gifting and challenged me more to depend on the Lord.  As I sought the Lord I found that my gifting and the challenge was now in Chilliwack.  

As I pondered these reasons, and searched the Word, a few Scriptural themes were driven home to me.  The first theme was that the work of the ministry in Tasmania and the SPC, and especially the future, was in the hands of the Lord and not me.  Even before the call came Psalm 119:126 "It is time for thee, LORD, to work:for they have made void thy law" was a pleading ground for me.  As I pondered the call Psalm 119:126 became even more of a burden.  The second theme was waiting.  All of Psalm 25 became precious and encouraging.    The third theme was obedience to the Lord and His calling, particularly from I Samuel 15:22 "Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice" and Luke 9:62 "And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."  

In light of the above reasons and strong impressions from His Word I was convicted that we have to go to Chilliwack.  I shared these thoughts with Martha.  We prayed together.  The whole time I was considering the call Martha was open, and willing, to go wherever the Lord called.  

Though we cannot imagine leaving Tasmania the Lord has opened the doors powerfully and clearly for our move to Chilliwack.  Ezra's US passport, and Julia's passport renewal, worked out despite challenges.  Plane tickets for Chilliwack have worked out well.  We hope to have a moving consultant come and give an estimate in early April about moving.  

It maybe surreal to leave Tasmania but we must go and the Lord is opening the doors.  

Please continue to remember us, the Southern Presbyterian Church, and the Heritage Reformed Church in Chilliwack in prayer.  

The Lord be with you, 


1 comment:

Jenny Jansen said...

Dear Pastor Terry and Martha...

Just read your blog. We are so thankful to the LORD for directing you in His amazing it is that after all those years you will be coming back to us. We thank God for sending you and Martha and the family, and look forward to your arrival. Praying all will go well with the preparations, and the journey. Praying for God's strength as you must bid your dear congregation Farewell! It is not easy to part with good friends.

Hoping to meet you all soon,
with love in Christ Henry and Jenny