Monday, May 05, 2008

To The Texas District, You're Welcome. -Life Tabernacle

My blog has been a little silent lately; I have had so much going on in my life.

Several weeks ago I was given a very important family decision that needed to be made, the deadline was May 1. This past week at school has been the week of TAKS testing in Texas Public Schools and my students and I have been prepping for weeks. I have also been very busy with my mother’s house, trying to clean the pool without it ‘floating’ away. A far more delicate process than I ever thought. I also learned that my principal was moving to another school. I needed to make a decision to move with her or stay at the campus I have been at for five years now.

In the middle of all this, perhaps the most sensitive matter has been that my pastor, the only pastor I have every truly known, has been elected to be the Secretary of the Texas District, which means he has resigned our church. Congratulations to him and Sis. Elms. The Texas District needs to send a large and very sincere thank you card to our church!

Although this is great news, words cannot convey what a burden this has become for me. I feel as if my generation, more than any other, will bear the weight of our choice since it is we who will serve under our new pastor more than any other. I, and those my age, have been praying, fasting, and feeling tremendous burdens for our church.

It seems that it has fallen on those who are willing in our church to assure that things remain the same- I guess that is what happens eventually in life. It is a burden that we accept willingly- knowing and feeling as if it is our time to pick up the mantel and run the race. Our church will be fine; however, up to this point I haven’t discussed my church situation for several reasons.

At first, I was angered that so many people knew before our church knew. They seemed to think nothing of discussing the situation around members of our church or even calling them to ‘let them know’ what had happened. I was hurt and upset that people could be so insensitive to the role a pastor plays in the lives of his church. It infuriated me and all I wanted to do was post something that bitterly attacked anyone reading my blog who might have been a part of something so thoughtless.

Second, I felt as if it was no one’s business. My church is my church; your church is your church, keep your nose out of mine… or at least that is what I wanted to say. I wanted to tell anyone I could that they needed to mind their own business and leave us alone. After all, who did they think they were asking how we were doing or how we were taking ‘the news’? I wanted to respond back with, “How would you take the news- you idiot?” (Maybe I had to include that just to get away with ‘kinda’ still saying it? LOL)

Finally, I guess I just didn’t know what to say? What do you say? My pastor has been the man who has molded my principles for almost 25 years, everything resolute in my mind has Wendell P. Elm’s fingerprint on it. What do you say to something like that?

My great pastor will willingly admit that he does not think himself a great orator or speaker- maybe he is right; but that is not the important thing. The important thing is that my pastor has been the man whose messages have helped save me! In my darkest hour, my times of need, it has been God using HIS words to guide me. Wendell Elms has been the pastor that has kept me saved.

I often think that too many young men go to Bible College to learn to ‘preach’ and not nearly enough of them sit under men like Wendell Elms to study the art and gift of ‘pastor.’ There is a tremendous difference between the two, and only those who have been gifted with a true ‘pastor’ know what that difference looks like. After 24 years, Life Tabernacle knows the difference.

“Empty Altars”, “Bridges That Shouldn’t Collapse”, “The Holy Ghost Said”, “Circumstances or Christ”, “Hearts”; after a lifetime of messages, these are just a few that are forever burned into the fabric of my life. How can you even begin to really discuss the impact of the preached word of God from a watchman to his flock?

A chapter in my life is closing, and it is stressful, painful, and deep down still peaceful in the Holy Ghost. I know those words do not really go together but the things of God, and even God Himself, can sometimes be hard to understand.

It is funny, but in the midst of all of this, our church has had so many visitors. We have had people baptized and/or receive the Holy Ghost almost every Sunday. We are within just days of finishing knocking on every door in Wichita Falls. EVERY DOOR! Every door in our city will have been knocked on in just about four weeks. How incredible is that?!

God is showing us that the promise is sill out there for us to take hold of if we really want it. Thank you Jesus for keeping your promises!

So… I guess I just thought I would say, “We are doing well, thank you for asking.” (We have been pastored by the greatest for so long- what did you expect?)

God is good. This is His church and His will shall be done. The Lord reigns and is still on the throne! Thank you, Jesus! Hallelujah!


Michelle said...

This is a great post Joseph, I can't type anymore without crying. And thanks for listening to God for the Sunday School lesson, it was right on the money.

Linda Elms said...

Joseph, I almost couldn't read this to Bro. Elms for the tears that are falling! I am going to miss you and the saints of Life Tabernacle so much that I almost can't stand the pain at times. I have learned over and over again that "being in the will of God" isn't always "happy at first", but God "has a plan" and we must follow. I know God has you and the church in the palm of His hand and will give you a Pastor who will love each one of you, and will have the passion and vision for revival here in WF. It's hard to leave, but we must go. "God, please circle us all in your arms and let us feel Your strength like never before." The "younger generation" (as you put it) MUST take up the mantel/baton and run with it with strength and power! It is time for the GREAT PASSION for REVIVAL and HARVEST to take control of those who are willing to march into battle claiming VICTORY! We may be a few more hours away, but we will always be part of Life Tabernacle!! Thank you for your kind and heartfelt words. WE LOVE YOU!

Christina said...

Well I will just say that we have not had the privelage of knowing the Elms as long as some, but I can truly say AMEN to this post and know without a doubt that your every word is so true. Glad you shared this post of your thoughts cause I just get a kick out of the things you say sometimes, and some of these thoughts of yours made me laugh but at the same time I'm right with you on these!

Keith and Carla said...

Great post! I have been laughing, but mostly crying while reading it. It was an honor & privilege of ours to have sat under the Elm's ministry. Keith never went to Bible college, but all through his preaching/teaching, I hear Bro. Elms through the words/messages that come out. The Elms have definitely made an awesome impact on our lives.

It was also a great privilege to be raised in a church like Life Tabernacle!!! The people are some of the greatest on the face of this earth! We love you, and the church is in our prayers.

Tammy Bryant said...

WOW!!! More to come when the words come. The feelings and knowlege is there but the words are still waiting.

Thanks Bro. Joseph!!!

And yes, I do see that revival cloud.

Anonymous said...

This post is incredibly transparent and that's perfectly ok. I don't even know how I found your blog quite honestly but have read it for some time now, it is interesting.

A rockin' church on the front range went through a similar situation in 2001 and oh how difficult it is for a church when their beloved pastor is called away. I don't know you personally so will not remotely attempt to bore you with platitudes. However, if I may say, from experience, and a heart/soul that has recovered and received victory through some severe wounding attached to the situation, that your church will thrive, it will prosper and God will honor the faithfulness of his people. Why? Because a good, Godly Pastor and Pastor's Wife, through the Lord's direction, laid a strong foundation. It is a credit to you and your church family to carry the work of God on in strength and faith.

May God help you and his precious people and ministry through this difficult time. My heart has compassion, yet knows that God is forever faithful....

A visiting pk.

Mandy said...

Very well spoken I agree completely! Thank you for exprssing your feeling in such a wonderful way! I know it is very fulfilling to those you write about for them to know the way you feel! You are an awesome person!

Kassie Dutton said...

Very nice post, Joseph. I don't know what else to say....