The call came at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 14, 2013. Chad passed the oral defense of his final project at George W. Truett Theological Seminary and will graduate in December with a Doctor of Ministry degree. Much has happened since Chad began the first semester of doctoral seminar classes three and one-half years ago. During this time, he has continued his ministry at Sienna Ranch Baptist Church as the Pastor of Teaching and Missions. He has led trips to Senegal, Africa, to work with the Mankanyan people. Their church has sent a group four times a year for several years. About a year and a half into the seminary program, Chad began dating Lori. They dated, married, were blessed with the birth of Ryen, and Chad adopted David. It has been amazing to watch Chad commit to what was best whether it was marriage, fatherhood, church or school. He determined his priorities and managed them well.
I talked with Chad by phone about an hour before he was to defend his final project and reminded him that I would be praying for him the entire time he was meeting with the committee. While praying, I pictured him sitting at the end of the table with the questioning professors around him. The more I prayed the more obvious it was to me that he wasn’t there alone. I knew that God was with him because He had promised He would be. Then I “began at the very beginning a very good place to start” and thanked God for sparing and blessing Chad and Brad’s lives many years ago when they were born two months early. And the thoughts continued to come as I remembered and was grateful for so many people who have ministered to, invested in and loved Chad through the years. I thanked God specifically for people who have invested in Chad’s life…family, friends, the nursery and childcare workers at church, Sunday School teachers, pastors, choir teachers, RA leaders, preschool, children’s and youth ministers, camp sponsors, basketball coaches, school teachers/professors, roommates and friends at college and seminary…the churches who have offered him the opportunity to grow, minister and serve…Tallowood Baptist; First Baptist Lake City, Colorado; First Baptist Brownwood; Shiloh Baptist in Crawford; Trinity Baptist in Missouri City; and Sienna Ranch Baptist Church…and some of the events and experiences that have helped shape Chad’s life…sitting in the car with Larry, on the street by Grace Presbyterian while Scott was at baseball practice, and asking Jesus to be his Savior, having surgery on his eyes after fourth grade that allowed him to see in focus, Camp Tallowood, mission trips all over the world, the Sunday night at church after the conclusion of the World Youth Congress when he said “Yes” to Jesus’ call on his life to serve Him in ministry, choosing Howard Payne University for college and then George W. Truett Theological Seminary for his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees…being blessed by choosing Lori to be his wife and David to be his son, and then being blessed with the birth of Ryen.
So when Chad was sitting in that room, he was not there by himself. He is a product of the people who have loved, taught and invested in him through the years, as well as the experiences, places and events that have been part of his life.
“Lord, thank you for your love, faithfulness, provision, blessing on and presence in Chad’s life. I’m grateful for the people, places, and experiences that continue to help shape him.”
The end of a matter is better than its beginning,
and patience is better than pride.
and patience is better than pride.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15
I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 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.