First, if you haven’t visited Dr. Ray Pritchard’s website, CLICK HERE.
I got an email from Ray. I don’t think he’d mind me passing part of it along to you…
Thanks again for a tremendous time today. When the service was over, Marlene said, “I felt at home there.” And so did I. I like to write a report on my blog after I visit a new church. I started to do that tonight and ended up writing something else. I will write about WABC tomorrow but my highest compliment is that what I wrote about tonight was prompted by my visit today. I think you’ve got something good there—wonderful, really. Marlene and I could sense the joy among the people, the obvious affection you have for them and they for you, and the people sang with great gusto this morning. I could see you settling down and staying there for 20 years and with God’s help building WABC into a powerhouse for God. All the ingredients are there. As we both know, nothing good come easily or quickly but I liked what I saw this morning.
I appreciated those kind words about you, the people I love and serve with! In the same way parents like hearing compliments about their children, pastor’s love hearing compliments about the church they serve. Thanks Ray!
Yesterday was a blessing as Ray and Marlene Pritchard worshipped with us at WABC! Even though we were down a little in attendace due to spring break, the worship was joyful work (That is good! I may explain that thought in another blog later). But there were two other things that made yesterday specially wonderful for me. And I must admit both of them sound quite selfish as I think about what I am going to write.
First, I LOVED hearing live, sound, practical preaching. Ray Pritchard is (To put it bluntly) a preaching machine! It was great to sit in a pew… open the Scripture… and hear a man of God expound upon the great Biblical doctrine of forgiveness. As one who either preaches or teaches three times a week (Sunday AM, Sunday PM, & Wednesday PM), it was a blessing to be the one hearing instead of speaking. I’m going to be listening to the message several more times to get as much as I can from what Dr. Pritchard said. As I’ve told my kids, preaching is kind of like writing three term papers every week. But yesterday I was able to just sit back and receive a blessing. I thank God for being able to do that.
Now for the second blessing. I can say it in three words… Ray and Marlene. It was awesome to just sit and fellowship with two people who’ve been through things similar to what Pam and I have been through. It was wonderful to laugh, cut up, and talk with them. They are both gracious, genuine, and just plain fun to be around. As I reflected on our lunch together, I realized that was a little slice/preview of heaven! It IS heaven to enjoy the company of people that you don’t have to be on your guard with… people who love the same things you love (God, Jesus, The Church)… people who are fun… and those who make you feel better when you’re with them. That would be a description of Ray and Marlene Pritchard. And that was a great blessing to me.
Here’s the really good part. What I just described about Ray and Marlene is true of many people at WABC! I am blessed that the congregation I pastor is full of people who love fellowship… have kindred hearts… genuine care for one another… and a mutual love for the Lord. In that way I am blessed because many pastors don’t have what I do in the congregations they pastor.
Conclusion. Make it a point to find, enjoy, and do two things. First… enjoy the teaching and preaching of God’s Word. Second… enjoy the fellowship of brothers and sisters in Christ. Both are previews of heaven. Both will encourage you. Both are things I believe will last forever.