Where I Didn't Plan To Go


Our family recently chose Isaiah 26:3-4 as a family verse for this next phase of life.  We want to focus on God and trust in Him because He is an everlasting rock.  He has always helped and sustained us, especially during these last 4 1/2 years.  And we look forward to what He has for us going forward.

Sunday night Trinity Baptist Church voted to call me to join the pastoral team as associate pastor of children ministries and Christian education.  I am very excited about this specific opportunity, especially after three years out of vocational ministry.   We are very thankful for the prayer and encouragement from so many different people.

Four years ago (August 2017), we moved to Grand Rapids for a ministry.  

Three years ago, (August 2018), the ministry we moved here for didn’t work out.  

From the summer of 2018 to the summer 0f 2019, for many different reasons, I struggled with what was next for me.  This was evidenced in many different posts and journal entries, including - Be Here Until and A Letter to Those Struggling in Ministry.  A Paul Tripp quote that has really stuck with me is "In grace, he leads you where you didn't plan to go in order to produce in you what you couldn't achieve on your own."  I have been reminded of the truth in that quote so many times over the last 4 1/2 years.  

During the second half of 2019, I began the process of even more aggressively searching for a ministry.  

And then 2020.  Not sure if you knew this or not, but most things in 2020 did not go as planned for everyone.  The ministry search didn't really go anywhere as churches were working through how to get the lock-downs and so many other unique problems.  

The amazing thing is that through these transition times and a pandemic and so much more God has shown Himself faithful and loving.  While there are many ways He showed this, I want to share two.

  1. A job I didn't plan for at an amazing place.  I would have never thought I would have worked in a warehouse for almost three years.  But I did and during my time there I was able to listen to a lot of audiobooks, pick up some new skills, and make some great friends.  I have told my InOnTime co-workers and others that while I did not want a logistics/warehousing job for these three years, I am so thankful for time to work at In On Time, a great company and great people.
  2. A church we love being part of.  After visiting some great churches in the surrounding Grand Rapids area, we began attending Trinity Baptist Church in October 2018.  It was great to be cared for by a church that has great Bible teaching and caring people.  We got involved in different ministries.  I served as an elder.  AND NOW, after almost 3 great years at Trinity Baptist Church, I have the privilege and opportunity to serve here as pastor of Children's Ministries and Christian Education.  I have had tremendous opportunities to do ministry while not in vocational ministry.  I pray I would bring lessons I learned like ministry is not a formal position, it is a mindset to this new role at Trinity. 
I have learned so many things over this time - ministry lessons, differences and similarities between ministry & vocational ministry, Biblical lament, forklift skills, Zoom-etiquette, and especially God's faithfulness.  

Here is the sermon I preached this Sunday for my candidating weekend.  Romans 1:16 and 17.


Brief Family Update & Made Holy - Tuesday

First, I thank my God for the opportunities, blessings, and challenges over these last several years.  Second, I thank Him for this great ministry opportunity to serve Him and Trinity Baptist Church as part of the pastoral team.  

I must say I am very excited about this great ministry opportunity.  It is my hope and prayer that people will see this not as my opportunity to serve and minister to the church but rather an expanded, even more focused opportunity to serve and minister to the church.  Trinity has been such a blessing to my family and me over the last three years and I pray that we have been able to bless and encourage others as we have served in different ways.  As a pastor at Trinity, I want to help each member and soon-to-be member see the importance of being equipped to and making the most of opportunities to serve.  

I am planning to share a more detailed post tomorrow.  

Here are some thoughts, quotes, and a song to help with the assignment from Sunday Holiness class. 

Learning and meditating on Biblical doctrines, reading and re-reading Gospel-centered books, and listening to songs are great ways to rehearse/remember the gospel.


Sanctification is the ongoing work of God in the life of the believer, whereby the Spirit of God, in cooperation with the believer, brings about holiness in the character, conversation and conduct of the believer. 

Initial sanctification is being set apart from the power of sin and set apart unto God. This occurs at the moment one is saved (1 Cor. 1:2,6:11; Heb. 10:10; Eph. 1:1; Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:2). 

Progressive sanctification is a supernatural process accomplished through the Father (1 Thess. 5:23), the Son (Eph. 5:26) and the Holy Spirit (2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2) and in cooperation with man (Romans 8; Galatians5; Philippians 2:12-13; 1 Cor. 15:10). Progressive sanctification is also an ongoing process (Phil. 1:6) towards the goal of Christ-likeness (Rom. 8:29). 

Ultimate sanctification is when believers will be completely conformed to the image of Christ and free from the presence of sin (1 John 3:2; 1 Cor. 15:50; Rom. 8:23, Phil. 3:21).

Good Books:

The Gospel Primer by Milton Vincent

Saved for Good Works 

Through the gospel I learn not only of the saving works of God on my behalf, but I also learn that one of God’s key purposes in doing these works is to put me to work myself.

The Bible tells me that when Christ redeemed me, He did so in order that I might now be “zealous for good works.” (Titus 2:14)  When God “works” in me day by day, He does so in order to produce in me the desire and the power to “work for His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:12, 13)  Indeed, though I am saved by grace and not by works, I am God’s “workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that [I] would walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10) 

Being naturally lazy, I do not normally thrill at the prospect of work; but the more I embrace the saving work of God on my behalf, the more I find myself embracing the works for which God saved me. And as I am “working hard” at doing these works for the good of others, I experience the truth of Jesus’ words: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:34 - 35)  I also find myself saying with Christ, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work.” (John 4:32 - 34)  Indeed, gospel-motivated works do for the soul what food does for the body. They bring refreshment, enjoyment, blessing, and strengthening to the doer of the deeds, even more so than to the receiver. Hence, the fact that God has prepared such works for me to do becomes a part of what makes the gospel such great news to me. 

Preaching the gospel to myself each day not only reminds me of the love of God for me, but it also reminds me of the love of God for the works that He has saved me to perform. When I see the Cross, I see the premium that God places on the works that He has prepared for me. How valuable all of these works must be if Christ would die so that I might now perform them! And how precious are those for whom these works are done if Christ would die that they might be served!


 Good and Gracious King 


Made Holy - Monday

This summer Trinity Baptist Church's Adult Sunday School class has been an 8-week combined study on Holiness.  I was asked to teach the Week 7 (Made Holy) and Week 8 (Be Holy) lessons.  

I shared the following definition 

a progressive work of God, initiated, empowered, and eventually completed by God, in and with the believer that makes the believer more and more free from sin and transforms the believer more and more into the image of Christ (adapted from Grudem and MacArthur's Systematic Theology).

This quote from J.C. Ryle, who lived from 1816 to 1900, is still very true today.  

"I do not have a desire to make an idol of holiness.  I do not wish to dethrone Christ and put holiness in His place.  But I must candidly say, I wish sanctification was more thought of in this day than it seems to be, and I, therefore, take occasion to press the subject on all believers into whose hands these pages may fall.  I fear it is sometimes forgotten that God has married together justification and sanctification.  They are distinct and different things, beyond question, but one is never found without the other.  

At the end of this Sunday's Adult Sunday School class, I gave an assignment to the class.

  • Remember/Rehearse what God has done for you throughout this past week.
  • Plan to share an encouraging thing you remembered, learned or did.


Find a passage of scripture like the ones we looked at in class (Ephesian 2 and Romans 1) that show the transformation from death to life.  Meditate on the verse.  Memorize the verse.


Find song that sing Biblical truth.  Here is a link to the song we listened to in class - Only A Holy God.