Dearly beloved sisters and brothers:
Back in March, when I was being considered to pastor a new church, my district superintendent asked me to write a one page Statement of Call for the Bishop's Cabinet to have as they were making appointments. The new church turned out to be Covenant -- and I praise God that it turned out that way for me. I thought you might learn a little more about me from reading that statement. It follows:
Statement of Call – David F. Moore
I was baptized as an infant at North Decatur United Methodist Church. My parents and that congregation kept their vow to nurture me in the love and grace of Jesus Christ. So there has never been a day in my life when I did not know that I was loved by God and called to be His servant. I cannot specify a date or a place, but before I was a teenager, the faith that was in my parents became my own faith – a sure trust in the grace of God to save me and a personal acknowledgment that Jesus Christ is my Lord.
I was blessed to have wonderful Sunday School teachers, a strong youth group, opportunities to help lead worship, and the opportunity to attend Camp Glisson many summers first as a camper and then as a staff member. These and many other experiences deepened my faith and expanded my knowledge of the Bible and the truth of Jesus Christ.
Going to college certainly expanded my mostly white, mostly middle class world. I came to a major realization of how rich I was compared to most of the world – rich financially, rich educationally, rich in family, rich in faith, rich in God. And the Bible verse that was impressed on my mind was a portion of Luke 12:48: Every one to whom much is given, of him much will be required. At the age of 19, my response was to accept the call to ordained ministry that had been brewing in my heart and mind for at least a year. I was blessed; I loved God; I loved the Church; and God seemed to have given me gifts for ministry.
The more I have preached and the more I have lived, I have become more and more convinced of the importance of scripture, the Word of God, in the life of the Christian. As Paul says in Romans 1: The gospel is the power of God for salvation. But the Bible is not only the Word of God for our faith, but also for our practice. In other words, the truth of scripture should shape our worldview in every area of life – marriage, family, personal finances, business, recreation, government and politics, arts, education, public policy, etc. When the Bible becomes our guide for all of life, then church becomes not something we do, but something we are. So my call today is to teach, preach, and live the truth of the Word of God – the living Word, Jesus Christ, and the written Word, the Bible. I want to help every person come to faith in Jesus Christ and then mature in their faith so they will no longer be blown here and there by every wind of deceitful, cunning teaching, but will instead learn to live and speak the truth in love (see Ephesians 4:12-16). Then individuals can enter into the fullness of life, churches can serve God with passion and effectiveness, and our society can be a place where all persons can thrive in the life God has planned for them.
I am a Christian today not because my parents are Christian and I was raised in the church. I am a Christian because Jesus Christ is truth and Christianity is true.
I encourage you to think over that last sentence.
I am honored and blessed to be your pastor.
And now for the joke:
Teacher asks the kids in spelling class to tell what one of their parents does for a living, and spell it.
First kid says, "My daddy's a baker. That's b-a-k-e-r. He makes bread and lots of sweet goodies to eat."
Second kid says, "My mom's a banker. That's b-a-n-k-e-r. He makes lots of money, buys us lots of toys."
Next kid says, "My mom's an aesthetician. That's e-s-t-e. No, no, it's e-s-t-h-e."
Teacher interrupts, saying, "That's okay, Rayford. Think about it and we'll come back to you."
Turning to Little Johnny, she says, "You're next, Johnny."
Little Johnny says, "My daddy's a bookie. That's b-o-o-k-i-e, and I'll lay you odds ten to one Rayford don't ever spell aesthetician."