I am uncomfortable being the center of attention. That’s why I have always preferred working behind the scenes, being a good follower to a good leader. I have never liked surprise parties being thrown for me. I remember getting upset at my wife for giving me a surprise birthday party in the earlier years of our marriage. I am an introvert by nature.
However, last Friday, many of you came out to church and gave me a (not- so) surprise birthday party. It truly touched my heart. Even though I felt awkward getting roasted big time, I deeply appreciated all of you and your sincere hearts. I am still processing what took place on Friday because there are so many lessons to be learned.
Lynette, our first son Enoch, and I arrived in Houston on Saturday, December 3, 1994. Lynette was five months pregnant with Caleb, our second son. We drove a Budget rental moving truck with our white Honda Accord LX in tow from Boston. It took us four days and three nights to get to Houston. December 4th was my first Sunday serving in this church. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost twenty years.
All throughout the birthday celebration, I kept thinking, “I can’t believe I am fifty years old.” But what struck me more was the fact that I have been serving here at Seoul Baptist Church/New Life Fellowship for the past twenty years, and I couldn’t help but praise and thank God for this. I hear from different pastors that their church ministry is very stressful. Some leave after two or three years, hoping the next position will be better. Others hang on longer without experiencing much joy in ministry.
I have been very blessed to be here these past twenty years. Besides fulfilling my daily and weekly pastoral responsibilities, I got to baptize many new believers, officiate numerous weddings, dedicate dozens of precious babies and conduct a few funeral services. Looking back at all of these memorable experiences, I ask myself, “If this is not God’s grace, what is?”
Thank you, New Life, for giving me such a warm and heartfelt 50th birthday party! You are my joy and crown! Please continue to pray for me that I may become a better pastor in the years to come.
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