Dreaming Big In Nassau

On Sunday, June 6, I was inducted as the Pastor of St. Andrew’s Kirk in Nassau, Bahamas. This past Sunday, June 13, was my first Sunday in the pulpit as the pastor here. If June 6 was a day of celebration, then June 13 was a day of dreaming. I invited the congregation here to dream with me about what we could become as a congregation.

Our passage was Ephesians chapter 3. Here we are reminded that the Christian Church is part and parcel of God’s grand, cosmic, eternal plan to renovate, heal, and redeem this troubled world of ours. We are reminded that while Christ is present by His Spirit, He is currently absent in His resurrection body. As such, God’s design is for the Church to be the conduit through which Christ continues to function in a physical environment.

This implications of this for God’s people are massive. If we believe that Christ can make a difference in this world, then we are compelled to believe that we can make a difference in this world. But, here’s the key: The Church cannot function on behalf of Christ unless it is connected to Christ.

The call upon the Church then is not simply to try hard. The call is not simply to “do the right thing”. The call is to be entirely animated by another. The call is to be willing conduits for the power of Christ.

What then might we expect? I love how the apostle Paul closes the chapter:

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20, 21)

If Paul had said that God is able to do all that we ask or imagine, we would want to highlight this verse. But he does not say this—he says God is able to do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine”!

To put it another way, God is not limited by our modest expectations. He is not handicapped by my puny imagination.

Believing this, I want to dream big about what God might do in Nassau through the conduit of St. Andrew’s Kirk.

Last Sunday was a special day for me as I began my preaching ministry here. I got the distinct sense that I was not alone in my dreaming. As I looked out into the congregation, I could sense others dreaming as well. It was then my privilege to declare to the people here that we worship a God who can deliver beyond our wildest dreams.

What a joy! What an opportunity we have. I want to encourage you to dream big about what God can accomplish through willing conduits. I want you to dream big about what God might accomplish today, this week, this year—through you.

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You can listen to the message “Beyond Your Wildest Dreams” by clicking below.

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Still Overwhelmed.

I communicate for a living, but recently I’ve had great difficulty communicating.

God is so good. Friends are so kind. We feel so loved in this emotional transition from life and ministry in Toronto to life and ministry in Nassau, Bahamas. I blogged on May 16 about the send-off we received that day from the people of St. Giles Kingsway and The Well. The encouragement continued with a plethora of emails, facebook posts, comments, and messages from well wishing friends. In our final days in Toronto, we celebrated and said “good-bye” with numerous meals with dear friends.

We’re now Day 4 in Nassau. Today I was inducted as the minister of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Kirk and its mission charge in Abaco.  I was also received as a minister within the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (USA). The Kirk in Nassau/Abaco is grateful for the support of the EPC as a denominational harbour while we plan and pray about the formation of a new denomination, The Presbyterian Church in The Bahamas (our long term goal).

It has been an emotional transition—it was extremely hard to say good-bye, and yet, the welcome we have received here has exceeded all expectations…

Day 1: Landing day. Met at the airport by three elders who helped transport our family, luggage, and pets to our new home (the manse). We arrived at the manse to a small army of people who were putting the finishing touches on the yard and house. Welcome baskets for each member of our family, including a basket of goodies for our dog and two cats! From there, the phone rang repeatedly—members of the Kirk wanting to bring words of welcome.

Day 2: Recovery day. Lots more phone calls, and then an invite to enjoy a swim and a BBQ at the home of one of the Kirk elders.

Day 3: Settling in day. Never have I filled 2 grocery carts before. One of the Kirk elders provided so generously for us, helping us to set up our kitchen. In the evening, we had a lovely reception at the home of another one of the elders. It was a fantastic night with great food and inspiring speeches, but for us the highlight was the surprise arrival of three friends from St. Giles Kingsway! It is unbelievable to me that these three flew down to Nassau to support our family during this transition. We are so touched, so thankful, so overwhelmed by all this kindness.

Day 4: Induction day. Today is my first day as the minister here. Members of the Presbytery of Florida (from the EPC) officiated much of the service, but it was my delight to lead the Kirk Session through the reaffirmation of their vows and to officiate Communion. After an hour and a half service, we were treated to what was perhaps the most impressive church brunch I have ever witnessed (I think I’m really going to enjoy the food here!). I hope to soon post some photos of the cakes which were especially made for today’s celebration (we even got to take one home!). Tonight, we’re heading out for dinner with our three friends from Toronto.

Day 5: Not sure what lies ahead, but I do expect I’ll be able to say, “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).

We feel so affirmed in this call. We feel so welcomed in this transition. We feel so loved by a congregation that is just getting to know us.

I marvel at the kindness of so many. I am still overwhelmed.

I recognize that, very soon, I’ll need to push through the emotions of this transition and settle in as the minister here. There is much to do. There is seemingly limitless opportunity for the Kirk to increase its influence and impact upon the surrounding community. I feel so privileged to be a part of that.

On this, my first day as minister here, I’d like to offer a passage to my new congregation. May it inspire you to soar!

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (Isaiah 40:28-31).