*You can follow Jonathan on Twitter HERE
To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV)
I have had many seasons in my 34 years of life. Let me share with you some of the seasons that I have endured. Maybe they can encourage, help, or inspire someone who reads this today.
I can remember back to 1996 when my father sat our family down and shared with us that he had cancer. I remember the next three years as he did his best to stay strong for the family as he had numerous treatments and surgeries in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Texas. This was a tumultuous season for me as a 14-year-old boy. Two weeks before my High School graduation I remember sitting in Mr. McDaniel’s Trigonometry class and hearing my name called over the class intercom for me to come to the office. I knew in my heart what it was. April 21st, 1999—my father was healed of his cancer. I am thankful for the 17 years that I had with my father, but I wish that season would have lasted longer.
If you press fast-forward on my life just three more years a new season began. I met the love of my life. A pastor’s daughter who could sing, was beautiful inside and out, and she was in love with Jesus. Being young, foolish, and in love—we eloped. Throughout our early years of marriage there were tensions because of our decision to elope, and my lack of knowing how to be a husband. We made it through by the grace of God. But this season turned dark. My wife miscarried our first pregnancy. I had no idea how to help her through it, or how to even react myself. Again there were tensions in our marriage. Again by the grace of God we made it through. We made it through four more miscarriages before this season was over—but praise God, that season is complete.
The next season was a whirlwind. We were pregnant again, and this time we told no one; then our physician told us that everything was as it should be. Nine months later we welcomed our first child—and named him after my father. Soon after that God was still at work in me and my wife and we felt God calling us to the middle of nowhere Kentucky to complete a ministry degree. So off to Clear Creek Baptist Bible College we went—on faith. This season was much better than the last couple of seasons. It was during this season that I read, signed, and endorsed the Traditional Statement. Little did I know that God was putting things in place.
After graduating from Clear Creek I was called to my first pastorate (which I am still currently serving). It was during this time that I was approached about becoming the editor for SBC Today. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. This season was quickly filling up. We welcomed two more sons into our family and I graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. This season has taught me so much. The two greatest lessons are:
-Being a pastor is hard work. There is no class that is available—anywhere—that will prepare you to be a pastor. I love my church and the congregation that God has for me here. Though it is very hard, it is also very rewarding. Seeing people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus, and to hear them call out to Him is wonderful.
-Being an editor is hard work. It takes a lot of time, effort, patience, and of course—work. Though it is very hard, it is also very rewarding. Seeing the emails and comments from those who have benefited from an article is truly a God thing–and I am glad that I played a part.
Since August 2014 I have had the honor and privilege to serve as the Editor for SBC Today. In these two years I have been able to meet many of my heroes in the faith such as: Dr. Steve Gaines, Dr. Paige Patterson, Dr. Jerry Vines, Dr. Adam Harwood, Dr. David Allen, Dr. Malcolm Yarnell, Dr. Norm Geisler, Dr. Steve Lemke, Dr. Chuck Kelly, Dr. Matt Queen, and many others.
With much prayer, counsel, and consideration—I believe that it is time for me to step away as editor of SBC Today. This season is coming to a close. It was a very tough decision, and one that I did not make lightly. I will finish out my time as editor through August 31st.
I want to take this time to thank Connect 316 and all of the board for their confidence in me to fill such a role. I want to thank the many writers and contributors of SBC Today—you are all amazing. I also want to thank all of those who take time to engage in the blog’s comment stream. Whether you are a Calvinist, non-Calvinist, or whatever label you take, thank you for your contributions and comments. To all other faithful readers—thank you.
The newest season of my life has begun and I am excited to see what God has. While my family was in St. Louis for the SBC my wife informed me that God has a sense of humor—and that we are expecting our fourth child! I plan on pursuing a doctorate and I plan on staying right where God has me planted at Mt. Zion Baptist Church. It’s an exciting season and I am going to use this season to focus on becoming a better husband, father, pastor, preacher, and soul-winner.
I am thankful for my time as editor, the many lessons that I have learned, and people that I have met. More importantly I am thankful for the seasons that God has placed in my life even though sometimes they are hard to go through. May God continue to bless you and keep you.
A Whosoever Will,