I don’t know who came up with the idea of “Pastor Appreciation Month,” but I owe that person a hug and a handshake. More importantly, I owe you, the Bayshore family, a huge debt of gratitude. I have been in full-time ministry now for fifteen years, and I have never felt more affirmed or appreciated than I have in the last few weeks. All through October the Cadenhead household has been flooded with cards, food, and prayers.
I remember one day a couple of weeks ago when my oldest daughter walked through the kitchen with a neighborhood friend, just before dinner time. Pointing to a tray of food one of you had sent she said to her friend, “This is pastor appreciation month at my church. Someone cooked that for us” Her friend responded, “Wow, can I eat supper with you guys?!” We were glad to set an extra place at the table! What a great way to share my church family with others.
I recently had a conversation with one of you in which you joyfully said, “I’ve lived in other places, and I can tell you that there is no other church like Bayshore Baptist.” Though the Bible warns us about the dangers of pride, I think that kind of pride meets with God’s pleasure. We do have a good thing here, and we ought not be afraid to name it and claim it. The nurture and support that we provide for one another is the kind of thing that has the power to change lives.
As I mentioned on Sunday morning, we’ve seen that played out this month with two weddings. Two young women, both of whom grew up in this church, celebrated their weddings in October. As I worked with both couples to plan and conduct the ceremonies, I saw their godly nature come to the surface – certainly in the way they each chose godly men as their mates, but also in the way they wanted the ceremony to be conducted. Their character is a testimony to the shaping and nurturing they received at Bayshore.
The challenge before us now is to ask, “How can we share that with more people?” How do we take the love we have for one another and reach beyond our walls to share it with others? I have heard it said on more than one occasion that Bayshore is the best kept secret in town. My brother and sisters, this should not be! So, now that October is over I beg of you: don’t stop the all that love and nurture you showed my family. Only now, share it with someone else. Do something really crazy. Cook supper for your neighbor when they don’t expect it. Send an encouraging note to a co-worker. Pay for the order for the car behind you in the drive-thru line. Look for the everyday ways to share the love of Jesus. These things have made a tremendous difference in my life over the last few weeks; there is reason to think they will have the same effect on others.
In the meantime, receive these words from the Apostle Paul as though they were written from my heart to yours: “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:3-6)”
Grace and peace,