On May 9, 2011 Dee's ministry at Berea First Baptist Church came to an end and our family began the "Unexpected Adventure" of building a bridge to a new future. Through this blog, we invite you to share this journey with us.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Preaching at Parisview

This Sunday morning, I begin preaching at Parisview Baptist Church, Sunday mornings (10:30 a.m.), Sunday evenings (5:30 p.m.), and Wednesday evenings (7:00 p.m.)  These good folks have asked me to help them with preaching and pastoral care in June and July while they seek God's guidance in the longer-term needs of their church.  The spirit among their deacons was sweet and strong, so I look forward to getting to know the entire church family.  If you know anyone who is searching for a church home, this is a place you need to visit.  The facilities are beautiful and well-kept, the music is inspiring, the ministries for youth and children are growing, and the love of Christ is strong. 

Some folks have asked me if I would offer counseling to members of my former church.  I will help anyone I can, especially those with whom I have already establishing a counseling relationship.  Please call me at home (864) 610-9770 or leave a message at Parisview (864) 232-1838.  I'll be glad to hear from you. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Joy from Your Song

A couple of years ago, I invested in an inexpensive version of a Fender Telecaster electric guitar.  I have often seen that guitar on its stand in the corner of our bonus room while I was working on a sermon, a funeral, or a wedding at my computer.  Recently, I've had more time to pick up that guitar and spend some time enjoying the music it makes.  Those musical moments have taught me a spiritual lesson.  When life is going well, your song flows out of your joy.  On bright and beautiful days, the heart of a believer overflows with the joy of loving God and gratitude for his countless blessings.  In more recent days, as so much of my life has been turned upside down, I have found that my joy and my song are still connected, but in a different way.  Right now, my joy flows out of my song.  My memories of God's mercy, my testimony to His faithfulness, my confidence in the grace that has "seen me safe thus far," are like a treasure chest where I can go and find everything I need.  I can sing the Lord's song in a strange land.  By singing it, I can find strength and hope.

On every sunny day filled with God's blessings, sing His praises!  Worship Him, hear His Word, count your blessings, let your song flow out of your joy.  Then, when you find yourself in a strange land, when life has taken so much away from you, you will still have your song.  And from your song will come your joy.  May you have some time with your Telecaster today.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What Are You Doing Now?

Since ending my ministry at Berea First, I've become surprisingly busy. 

From June 5 until July 31, I will preach and give pastoral support to the Parisview Baptist Church.  These good folks are at a transition time in their lives too, so I look forward to sharing faith and friendship with them while we all seek God's guidance and grace for the future. 

Beginning August 22, and until December 5, I will be teaching at North Greenville University's T. Walter Brashier Graduate School.  I'm researching and designing a new course for students in the Master of Christian Ministry program, a course to prepare local ministers and staff members to counsel people preparing for marriage and those facing marriage problems.  If I ask Linda to list all of the things I've done wrong as a husband, I'll have most of the course planned. 

Between now and September 15, I am writing adult Sunday School lessons for Lifeway Christian Publishing.  These five lessons on the Sermon on the Mount will be studied by churches in September of 2012.  I love to write Bible study material and could not have been offered a better text to study and teach, so this project will bring me a great deal of joy. 

More important than any of these, Linda and I have enjoyed time to talk about our lives, our marriage, our values, our faith, and our future.  Dreaming again has drawn us closer to each other and to the Lord.  I look forward to seeing what He will do.  In the meantime, I'm blessed to have so many good things to do. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Moment of Gratitude

Today the good folks at Parisview Baptist Church invited me to preach for them in June and July while they seek God's will about the longer-term needs of their church.  When I accepted their invitation, I realized how thankful I was for the opportunity to lead in worship, to share God's Word and my heart with others.  I also realized that I have taken that honor and privilege for granted. 

I was reminded of a telephone call I received many years ago from a friend and church member who asked me to come to her home as quickly as possible.  I knew that she had been very ill, suffering from cancer and its treatment, and feared what might have happened to her.  When I got to her home, she invited me inside and said, "Dee, I need you to lead me in a prayer of thanksgiving.  Today, Carolyn brought me some potato soup and it tasted good.  That soup was first food that has tasted good to me since I began chemotherapy." 

Tough times became a gift of gratitude for my friend.  The food she had eaten and enjoyed on so many days, she would never again take for granted.  I don't know what the theme of my message will be on June 5, but I know that the song of my heart will be thanksgiving. 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Place to Keep in Touch

As many of you know, on May 9, our family set out on a very unexpected adventure.  After twelve years, my ministry at Berea First Baptist Church suddenly came to an end and Linda and I were left to discover what the next chapter of our lives and our ministry would be all about.  This change not only touches my ministry as a pastor, but also Linda's ministry as a GED instructor in a class housed at Berea First.  She has been robbed of the ministry she has used for eight years to change lives in our community for the better.   

Many friends have told us that they hesitate to call or even email us because they don't want to wear us out with talking about the painful events of the past few weeks and the uncertainty of the future.  Please know that we have not been worn out by your concern.  You have given us much strength through your calls, cards, emails and visits.  Your experiences of sudden life changes has encouraged us and challenged us to believe that God can use something as bad as what we've suffered to bring something wonderful into our lives. 

Still, I'm created this blog, the first I've ever done, to give us an easy place to keep in touch.  Visit whenever you'd like to see how the Vaughans are doing.  We'll try to keep it up to date. 

People often ask how they can pray for us right now.  Let me share a few specific requests.

Pray that we, in God's good time, will find the freedom that will only come from forgiving those who have hurt our family so deeply.  We want to move forward and know that we can't travel very well if we're carrying the burdens of the past with us. 

Pray for our children, as each of them deals with this disappointment in his or her own way.  Pray that they will know that God's church is much bigger than what has happened at one church by a few misguided people. 

Pray for Elizabeth and her husband Josh as they soon will move to Monetta, SC for Josh to serve as pastor of Bethel Baptist Church.  Pray for their first child, Liam, who is to be born in late July.  Pray for the people of Bethel church that they will be ready to begin a wonderful new chapter of their ministry.

Pray for our son, Josh, as he continues his very demanding studies at Elon University.  Pray that he can be free from worry about his parents and free to continue to do his best as he prepares for a career in physical therapy. 

Pray for our son, Andrew, as he grieves the unexpected and undeserved loss of his church family and as he prepares for his senior year at Travelers Rest High School. 

And pray for Linda and me as we strive to turn our hearts away from the past and toward the future God is preparing for us. 

I hope that you'll use this blog as one good way to keep in touch.  Know how much your friendship and prayers will always mean to us. 

Ronald D. Vaughan