Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Time Flies When... 10 Years at Greater RI Baptist Temple

"Thou hast given him his heart's desire,
and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah"
(Psalm 21:2)

Today is Tuesday, October 15, 2013.  It was exactly 10 year ago today that Christy and I began serving at Greater RI Baptist Temple.

It's marvelous to look back and see how God has led us, taught us, grown us, and blessed us over this past decade.  So many changes, so many experiences, so many memories!

My, how time flies!

1. Time flies when...you're busy for the Lord.

It's hard to answer the question that is all-too-often asked of me, "What exactly do you do?"

"Well," I have often replied, "I oversee the youth and music ministries of our church."

Then I begin to think through all that I did that day, most of which had very little to do with youth or music.

If not youth and music, then what?  Was it Angry Birds or Words With Friends?  [Proudly, an assuring "No!" can be inserted here.]

Planning activities, phone calls, answering emails, discipling new converts, studying for sermons, counseling troubled teens (or, more often, their parents), putting up the sign on Greenville Avenue, setting up cones in the ball field for a made-up teen activity later that day, reading books on theology and practical ministry, trying to figure out which comes first, faith or repentance, witnessing to a group of young men on the basketball court, pulling weeds by the flagpoles out front, praying, planning upcoming activities and sermon series, playing Wallyball, paintball, or kickball, making an emergency run to BJ's for big bags of candy, and so on...

What do I do, you ask?  I'm not really sure; but what I am sure of, is that over the past 10 years, my life has been busy, to say the least!  And thankfully so!

What a blessing to give your time to people!  Life is all about God first, and family second...but then comes people.  And I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity over the past ten years to give my life to ministering to people.

Christy and I lead busy lives--but that's on purpose!  We wouldn't have it any other way.

2. Time flies when...you're seeing fruit in your ministry.

If only we could count up the number of teenagers who have been saved through our ministry, both in and out of the pulpit...

If only we could know how many times a choir anthem touched the heart of a downcast saint...

If only we could see the rippling effect that one piece of Biblical counsel had on a particular family...

Well, we can't see and know all that God has done through us as His instruments.  But we can read (and re-read) the notes of gratitude we've received.  We can see teenagers who are now living for the Lord as young adults.  We can hear spoken words of thanks from time to time.  And thus we can know that God is changing and salvaging lives through feeble, overrated, "earthen vessels".

And to think that God uses us--we who are mere worms--it makes the fruit of our labor seem so incomparably sweet!

We are grateful to be used of the Lord.  We are nothing.  We have nothing.  We contribute nothing, except a desire and willingness to be used by the Potter.  Despite our many failures, our lack of faithfulness to God and man, our inconsistencies and human frailties...God still blesses those who heart seeks after Him.  And that makes 10 years of ministry seem like a blink of an eye!

3. Time flies when...you're part of a wonderful church family.

We love Greater RI Baptist Temple.  We love the building, the location, the philosophy and demeanor of its spirit...but most of all, we love the people.

We have been treated with kindness, generosity, and love...from Day One!  And to Pastor Crichton, Pastor Amsbaugh, and our entire church family, we say thank you for embracing us, helping us, loving us, giving to us, befriending us, and praying for us!

I'm not sure if our church loves us because we love them, or if we love them because they love us--probably the latter.  But in either case, we are blessed to be a part of Greater RI Baptist Temple.

4. Time flies when...you're [finally] a parent.

The greatest blessing God has ever bestowed upon us happened on January 2, 2011.  ["Oh," one might ask, "Was it some special gift for your birthday?"  Well, it was a special gift, and we did receive it on my birthday, and it certainly did have something to do with someone's birthday...but this special blessing had nothing really to do with my birthday.

Thomas William Krampert, III was born on my birthday, nearly 3 years ago.  While we gave him my name, God gave him my complexion (red hair and blue eyes) and my birthday, marking His Personal signet on Tommy's life.

"But didn't you have to wait for many years before you could ever have a child?"

Yes, we prayed, wept, and tried to have a child for 7 years.  We went from expectant, to assuming, to hopeful, to prayerful, to doubtful, to despair--and just then, at the eleventh hour, in His perfect time, God stepped in!

"Was it worth the wait?"

What wait?

"...but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world." (John 16:21)

The "unspeakable gift" of II Corinthians 9:15 is none other than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for whom we are "unspeakably" thankful.

But, with similar sentiment, words cannot adequately express the depth of gratitude we have towards our Heavenly Father for hearing our prayers and giving us, upon our asking, not a stone or a serpent, but the "good gift" of our son, Tommy.

5. Time flies when...you're loving what you do!

As a boy, I always dreamed of being a professional baseball player.  I wanted to play for the New York Mets. (Of course, looking back, I can't, for the life of me, understand why anyone would want to play for the Mets, but that's a separate subject!)

I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing something that I loved!

Well, 10 years later, I can honestly say that God has allowed me to do what I love.

I love the ministry.
I love studying the Word.
I love preaching and teaching.
I love listening and counseling.
I love making a difference.

Closing thoughts:

King David said in Psalm 21:2, referring to the Lord's bountiful blessings upon his life,

"Thou hast given him his heart's desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah."




"Thank You, Lord, for giving me my heart's desire, and for not withholding the request of my lips."

They say, "Time flies when you're having fun."  Well, they're right!

God is faithful.  His way is perfect.  He knows best.

Have there been difficulties, afflictions, sufferings, and trials over the past 10 years?  Of course.

But, strangely, I don't seem to remember them all that well.  

Time has gone by so fast.  But in this whirlwind of life, I'm so glad that God has, by the hand, led me all the way.

    Some day life's journey will be o'er.
    And I shall reach that distant shore;
    I'll sing while ent'ring heaven's door,
    "Jesus led me all the way."

    If God should let me there review
    The winding paths of earth I knew,
    It would be proven clear and true -
    "Jesus led me all the way."

    And hither to my Lord hath led,
    Today He guides each step I tread;
    And soon in heav'n it will be said,
    "Jesus led me all the way."
    Jesus led me all the way,
    Led me step by step each day;
    I will tell the saints and angels as I lay my burdens down,
    "Jesus led me all the way."

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed reading this! Praise the Lord for how He was worked in your life!