Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ordination and Future Plans

Tonight I had the wonderful privilege of being ordained to the ministry of the Gospel. After going through a rigorous ordination council which challenged every part of my theological perspective and understanding, the ordination service was the official culmination of the process.

I cannot express how gracious everyone was with their thoughtful expressions of kindness and appreciation. The only disappointment of the evening was that my dear friend Steve Kreloff was unable to be present because he became quite sick with a high fever and flu-like symptoms. However, I fully understand that he was wise to stay home and rest in order to recover.

My good friends, Dr. Jim Smith and Jack Jenkins, were the two speakers who delivered the ordination messages. Jim was a long time classmate of mine at Dallas Seminary’s Tampa extension, and we continue to study biblical Greek together each month with a group of our fellow students and friends. Jack has been like a brother to me throughout the years, including many during which we labored together in ministry at Lakeside.

Many people have asked me whether or not my ordination means that I am leaving Lakeside to go into the ministry full-time at another church. Let me state categorically that I do not intend to change anything about my current ministry unless the Lord decides that He will do such. My only purpose in pursuing formal ordination was the measure of credibility that it gives me in certain circles.

The Lord has afforded me the opportunity to speak at Christian law enforcement conferences and prison chaplain conferences around the nation and invariably, I am asked by someone whether or not I have been ordained. It doesn’t seem to matter to them whether or not I have clearly taught God’s word; rather, it only matters that I have been formally recognized as being qualified to serve as a pastor. Therefore, formal ordination removes that barrier by giving me credibility in the eyes of those who see it as essential for those who teach the word at such conferences.

I know the day will come when I will officially retire from the law enforcement profession. As of this writing, I have a maximum of four years and eight months to go before I must retire. I plan to finish that entire period. During that time, I will keep on teaching and serving the Lord at Lakeside. But He may choose to change my plans through any of a number of unforeseen ways. I learned a long time ago that God may sovereignly choose to change my plans to accomplish that which He desires in my life. But even after I retire, my plans are to continue teaching God’s Word, wherever the Lord may direct me at that time.

I hope this answers those who have asked me what this ordination means for my immediate future in terms of ministry. Thanks again to everyone who came and to those who participated in planning and coordinating the details of the event.

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