Standing at the Crossroads of Life’s Transitions

Standing at the Crossroads of Life’s Transitions

It was 2am.  After hours of packing and cleaning, my wife and I sat alone on the floor of our oldest daughter’s nursery, exhausted from a long day, preceded by an even longer week, and something happened that had rarely occurred in our 4-year old marriage – I began to weep.  As I sat in the house we planned and had built, the room we lovingly painted and furnished just over a year prior and considered all that had occurred in three years in our West Virginia home, the excitement of a move to St. Louis was overshadowed by the strange grief of change.  What had at one time been only an unknown future hope was now a package of past memories tenuously stored in our minds and hearts, as we set off on our next adventure.

Three states and six homes later, I’m increasingly aware of the simultaneous grief and joy that lie in the crossroads of life’s many transitions. 

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Signs of Life at the Dawning of Spring

Signs of Life at the Dawning of Spring

As the calendar flips from February to March, I have noticed that the city of Raleigh has begun showcasing signs of life.  Even on a cold, rainy day like today, the landscape is dotted with the white flowers of pear trees, the first wave of the promise that winter will soon give way to spring.  Soon, the white flowers will give way to green leaves and the dancing of daffodils will not be far behind.  Soon, daylight will hang on a little longer until one day I’ll look at the clock on my phone and see that the sun remains at 8pm.  Soon, the 40 degree days and nights will bow to more consistent warm temperatures.  Soon, the forest that looked like the death of winter will sing with the new life of spring.

As I look with eager anticipation to the promise of spring, I’m reminded that in many ways, Calvary Presbyterian Church is on the precipice of a new season, the hints of which have been evident for quite some time.  In His mercy, God has been pleased to bless our church with signs of life.

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3:21 Refresh Week of Prayer and Fasting

3:21 Refresh Week of Prayer and Fasting

(Note: The contents of this blog post were originally posted during the 3:21 Initiative in November 10, 2017.)

The elders of Calvary PCA have called for a week of prayer and fasting February 18-23, leading into the 3:21 Refresh commitment Sunday, February 24, as we pledge our gifts to the 3:21 initiative.  We have asked members of Calvary to set aside one day this week, dedicated to prayer and fasting that we might seek His will and not our own.  Click here to confidentially register for a day of prayer and fasting.

We are asking that the Lord would enable us to operate out of a position of our freedom in Christ, rather than out of a position of compulsion, duty, or fear.  As you pray and as you seek God’s wisdom for how He would have you contribute time, talent and treasure to the 3:21 initiative, remember that in Christ you are those who are:

  • Free From Bondage to live as those who are truly free (Gal. 5:1)
  • Free From Condemnation to live as those who are accepted by God (Romans 8:1-2)
  • Free From Fear to live as those who are the sons and daughters of God (Romans 8:15)
  • Free From Results to live as open-handed servants of God (1Peter 2:16)
  • Free From Selfish Desires to live out the great commandments of love for God and love for neighbor (Gal.5:13)

May God give us grace to pray, live, and give as those who are set free in Christ!

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Standing For Life: What Do We Do When Outrage Doesn’t Work?

Standing for Life: What do we do When Outrage Doesn’t Work?

We live in what many have called an outrage culture.  My social media feed is filled daily with posts expressing shock, anger, disdain and often disregard for those whose opinion differ from that of the one posting.  Often we reduce people down to lowest common denominator of the views they hold with little regard for the fullness of who they are.  The reality is that Christians are as guilty of these things as anyone else.  Yet, outrage-fueled posts have no effect on transforming the minds and hearts of those whose views do not reflect our own.

But what are we to do when the only rightful response to an issue or idea is righteous anger?  What must a Christian do when outrage doesn’t work?  This question has been on my mind since reading over a week ago that the New York state legislature passed a bill permitting abortion at any time up to the birth of a child.  Subsequent comments by prominent political leaders have left me saddened at the reality of sin in a world in rebellion against the God who has created human life in His image and likeness.  Perhaps like me, you have wondered what are we as Christians called to do.  While I do not have all the answers, I do believe the Scriptures would lead us in at least the following ways:

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And Yet, We Wait…

It’s beginning to look like Christmas at the Wilks home. Earlier this week, we trimmed this year’s tree with ornaments collected for our children and family over the years. Our hedges are decked with lights, two small lit trees welcome guests on our front porch, and a wreath is shining on our door. The enthusiasm of our three children has been palpable from the moment the music came on (after Thanksgiving dinner of course), to the process of decorating our home.  There is greater-than-usual excitement, as the promise of Christmas morning stares them in eye each day, and yet, we wait.

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In Appreciation For Faithful Men…

In Appreciation For Faithful Men who Entrusted to Me What they Had Been Taught

This morning I was looking through a few old pictures on Facebook.  It’s funny what one will find in looking back.  Old memories flood my mind like a tidal wave, reminding me of long-forgotten joys, oft-remembered pain and much appreciated people whose presence in my life have left an indelible mark.

One particular photo has elicited in me a spirit of incalculable gratitude.  In this picture, taken the occasion of my ordination to pastoral ministry over 7 years ago, I’m surrounded by three pastors – faithful men who took particular interest in passing to me what they had learned through years of following Jesus and serving his church.

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What Time is It?

What Time Is It?

“Daddy, what time is it?”  With little concept of the reality of time, my youngest daughter asks this question on many nights.  “It’s 9pm” is the equivalent to “it’s 7pm” to her.  It’s simply an answer from her daddy in which a meaningless number is attached.  But when I say, “It’s bedtime,” she knows it’s time to spring into action – brush teeth, get dressed, read a book, sing songs, say prayers, and go to sleep.  Without my specific reminder of just what time it is, I don’t know if my youngest child would ever go to sleep.

I wonder how many people walk around with no idea of just what time it is.  Oh, we know the time on our smartphone and the date on our Google calendar, but do we really know what time it is, and does it spring us into action?

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Presence is Better than Presents

Presence is Better than Presents

“Did you get the presents for my birthday yet?”  Even before, “Hello” or “Good Morning,” this is the question with which my youngest child greeted me moments after springing from her bed earlier this week.  Never missing an opportunity to meet audacious questions with silly answers, my response was, “You always have my presence!”  “Dad!” she replied in confused tone, “You know what I mean!”  After a few minutes of circular exchange, I said simply, “Sweetheart, presence is always better than presents.” 

For the record, of course we got presents for our child’s birthday, but as I’ve reflected on this playful conversation this week, I’m struck by how often I have the heart of a soon-to-be six-year-old child, as I think about and communicate with God in prayer. 

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Warm Welcome for Wary People

Warm Welcome for Wary People

“Welcome!”  This is the greeting we received today, as we walked our youngest child into her kindergarten classroom to meet her teacher for the first time.  As we looked around the room at parents and children, we were impressed by the warm welcome given to wary students, as they entered this strange room ready to embark on the beginning of many years of first days of school.  From the name tags on the tables, to the personalized cubbies, to the packets left for each child, everything in the classroom communicated, “Welcome!  We’ve been expecting you, and we’re glad you’re here.”  By the time we left, our daughter felt so comfortable and welcomed, she gave her teacher a giant hug, joyfully declaring, “See you Tuesday!”

All of us know the feeling of walking into unfamiliar territory for the first time.  Whether it’s a new classroom, job, city or neighborhood, we have all experienced the wary feeling of being a stranger, wondering if we will be accepted, welcomed and embraced.  This is especially true in the local church, where relationships among members are tight and where the language and culture may be unfamiliar.  This is why those who belong to a church must make intentional steps to communicate, “Welcome! We’ve been expecting you, and we’re glad you’re here.”  But where does this begin?

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5 years – 5 Prayers of Thanksgiving for Calvary PCA

5 Years – 5 Prayers of Thanksgiving for Calvary PCA

When I first stepped into the pulpit at Calvary five-years ago this week, I could not possibly have imagined the joys, sorrows, challenges and triumphs that lie ahead.

I could not have known that my family would live in three homes, that one of my children would be enrolled in three schools in as many years, or the extent to which we would be loved by a congregation seeking and praying for God’s renewing grace in their midst.  I could not have known the names or faces that would come and go, making an indelible mark on our family and church by bringing joy through friendship and sorrow through loss.  I could not have known who would make a midnight phone call, seeking comfort in the midst of crisis, or who would pull me aside after church to express their delight at the news of a new job, new life, new relationship, or new opportunity.

I knew that pastoral ministry was a beautiful, difficult calling, but the details of what we would face together in the coming years were a mystery, just as what lies ahead for us in the future is unknown to all but God.

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