Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious.
Acceptance of Call to Bethlehem Baptist Church From Jason Meyer
... to the Praise of His Glorious Grace
What a wonderful night we had last night! Cara and I are still stunned and speechless. My prayer for this process has been Psalm 109:27, “Let them know that this is your hand; you, O LORD, have done it!” The Lord answered that prayer last night in a way that only he can. We joyfully say, “yes” to this call, but we want to say so much more.
Being stunned and speechless is a good thing because it forces us to turn to God’s word for words. I read four Psalms this morning: Psalms 113–116. I read: “Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down on the heavens and the earth?” (Psalm 113:5–6). I was reminded how high and exalted the Lord is that he even has to look far down on the heavens, not just the earth. It made me marvel all the more that he came so far down last night to lean in on us with love and mercy. What is Bethlehem that you are mindful of us?
I read Psalm 114:7, “Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob.” I did not need this reminder because I was already trembling, but it was good to put my feelings into words and to sense how right it was to tremble.
I read Psalm 115:1, 3, “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! ... Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.” These were sweet words this morning. I have prayed all the way through this process that I would not be the point, but a pointer. Here it was in words: “Not to us, but to your name give glory.” I love the reminder as well that the Lord is not just working out his purpose for Bethlehem, but his pleasure. “He does whatever he pleases.” Yes! We not only saw our Father’s will last night; we saw our Father’s face. His smile was upon us. Nothing else compares.
I read Psalm 116:7, “Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.” Bethlehem, the Lord has dealt bountifully with us. What sweet rest we have in our Chief Shepherd’s leading. I love how he leads! Let us return to our joyful place of rest in his arms. I love how he carries.
I read Psalm 116:12–13, “What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD, I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.” I love the faith in future grace on display here. The Lord has put the cup of salvation in our hands. How can we not lift it up and call on his name for more grace? He has won our trust. I pray that you would hear me say more than “yes” to this call to be the Associate Pastor for Preaching & Vision. Future grace causes me to say, “Bethlehem, it is too small a thing to lift up my voice once to say ‘yes’ to this vote and this call. Let us together cry out to the Lord to do more than we ask or think in the days ahead. Let us look to the future grace of God to do a new work in our city and to the ends of the earth. Our hearts cry out for greater things. We have found a great God of grace who can do more than we ask or think. Let us draw near to the throne of grace together. It is not time to pray less now that the vote is over. It is time to pray more now that we have seen our Father’s smile.”
Finally, I do plan to “pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people” (Psalm 116:13). I can quote these words only because I believe in future grace. I vow to be a faithful pastor. In answering this call, I will always remember that the pastoral office is not my office. It is the office of the people. I am called to serve you as an under-shepherd of the Chief Shepherd. And I will not forget the centrality of his cross. I can only pay my vow to be a pastor because I know the great vow of the gospel: “I, Jesus, take you, sinner, to be my bride, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward … and because I have defeated death, death will never us part.” Let us rejoice together in the vow of the gospel and the centrality of the cross. I am a blood-bought pastor for a blood-bought church. I believe that last night was a blood-bought vote. The glory is his.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20–21).
Pastor (I love the sound of that) Jason