Tuesday, March 18, 2014

This is the day that the Lord has made!! Reflections on a month of blessings.

These past three weeks, of which I have failed to post at all, have been immensely busy for me and our world. There's been the Olympics, Russia taking over the Crimea, Fred Phelps was excommunicated and thats just the world news. Theres lots to report from my own life, as well as reflections on those events which I hope will help you in your life.

Two weeks ago it was announced that I would be appointed to the Homer United Methodist Church in Midland, MI effective 7/1/2014. This will be my third appointment in the United Methodist Church and one that I a very excited about. I am, however, very sad to be leaving the church family we have here in Onaway and Millersburg and even asked my DS if it were possible, like a football coach, to bring with me some of my choice staff to help implement our game plan, of which he laughed and said no. I'm very grateful to the people of Onaway/Millersburg UMC for their love and support and their grace and patiences as I learned more about my call, gifts and trade. I was a 29 year old Seminary graduate when I came to Onaway and I showed it often. I really appreciate this collection of saints who helped refine this young pastors call. They will always be in my heart.

As significant as a new appointment is,  probably the most significant thing that has happened professionally to me over the past 3 weeks is the approval of the Board of Ordained Ministry for commissioning as a Provisional Elder. This was a life time of preparation, even though I have not been a Methodist my whole life and I have been an Ordained minister in another tradition, I feel as if everything I have experienced up to this point was leading to the completion of this goal. I actually begin the journey in 2007 by joining the First United Methodist Church of Sallisaw, Oklahoma. I can really even go back a bit further to a conversation I had with Dr. Jack Harnish, who would tell you that he gave me a "kick in the pants" which motivated me to get going on my call to Ordained ministry.

The countless hours of work, worry, fear, doubt, joy, elation and the confirmation of the Holy Spirit, plus the countless amount of saints who have been there supporting me and encouraging me and showing me grace has all culminated with this one event...so far. Last Tuesday I met with the Board of Ordained Ministry for a round of interviews which went wounderfully. The interviews were encouraging, formative and a form of holy conferecning. The next day I received a call from a member of the Board informing me that I had been approved for Commissioning as a Provisional Elder. I felt weak in the knees and I cried, in fact the board member, a good friend of mine, told me to breath and relax. It was such an emotional moment I wasn't sure how to respond. I'm certain now that the only proper response is one of gratitude...gratitude to God and to the gracious saints who held my hand and made this possible.

Now as great as all that is I also found out recently that the baby my wife and I are having is going to be a girl!! After three ruckus and rowdy boys it'll be nice to have a sweet little baby girl. We have already decided to name her. Her name will be Sophia Elizabeth Blanchard. Elizabeth is a tribute to the Advent story of Zachariah and Elizabeth's surprise baby...John the Baptist. Sophie was a surprise to me, not an intentional pregnancy, but she will be great in the eyes of God and do great things in for God's kingdom.

I'm overwhelmed with blessings and I'm grateful. My heart is filled to the brim with gratitude and thanksgiving. I'm so happy to see so many of my life's goals coming to fruition and I know this is really just the start of more of life's challenges, but for now I will sit in the sun and absorb it's warm rays and enjoy the day, for this is the day that the Lord has made. Amen.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Josh

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