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Student Ministry - December 2022

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Dear Church Family,

This will be my last newsletter article as one of your pastors. To say that this time of life and ministry with you has been a blessing is a vast understatement. It is with sadness and excitement that we step out in faith to what God is calling us to. If you have not heard yet, I have accepted a call to go be the Senior Pastor at Second Baptist Church in Angleton, Texas. This is a calling that God has put on my life, and being a senior pastor is the direction I have felt God pulling me for many years. But it is now that He is saying, “it’s time.” So, Kayla and I would be doing a disservice to Second Baptist, to Oakhill Baptist, to ourselves, and to God if we did not obey His call. Thank you for supporting us as we seek to follow the Lord.

With that said, it will not be easy leaving Oakhill. You have been our church home for a long time, and our family has grown exponentially since coming here. Our children have been so blessed by you, and so has my wife. For that I simply want to thank you very much. I could not
ask for more than for a church to love the Lord and love my family.

I would be remis to try to list everyone whom I need to thank for loving my family. But I do want to call attention to just a few; first, I want to thank Mike Schloss and Nick Kessler. These two men are our lay-Elders, and they love the Lord and this church. They and their families have blessed my family and me more than they know. We love them and are very thankful for them. Next, I want to thank Matt Virgin, Paul Willett, and Todd Linn. These men are my friends whom I trust. These are men who push me to pursue God’s will for my life. They are men who love me and care about how I live. They are iron sharpening iron. There are many people who have played this exact same role in my life, but I want to thank these men publicly for their love and support as I have been seeking God’s will. Everyone needs people like these men in their life to help disciple and encourage toward God’s will.

Third, I want to thank Bryan Gotcher. He is my friend and co-laborer in the gospel ministry. He is my workout partner, sounding board, and counselor in the ministry. I have learned so many things from just working side-by-side with Pastor Bryan. He is a man who loves God, loves the church, loves his family, and works hard to love God and serve His people. I am forever his friend and partner in the gospel ministry.

Finally, I want to thank Pastor Alan. He is very much a father in the faith… He is literally old enough to be my father! But seriously, he is one of the major reasons I came to Oakhill in the first place. I knew he would be a man I could look up to and learn from about how to be a good and faithful pastor. That proved to be true. I have been so blessed to know him, work with him, and learn from him. He loves deeply and cares passionately. He desperately loves the church, but he more desperately loves the Lord. I know that God will bless him in whatever he does, because he will do everything for the glory of God.

I pray you will listen to these men. I pray you will have people like them in your life. I pray God’s blessings on this church and on your life. I pray we all meet again in the near future.

Trust the Lord. Read His Word. Love Him. Love others. And make Christ primary in your life.

Posted by Brian Van Doren with

Student Ministry - November 2022

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Dear Church Family,

How can we know God’s plan for our lives? The short answer is that we cannot know it for certain, not in advance. We can only live it day by day, step by step. The key to walking according to God’s plan and following God’s direction is faithfully obeying His word. This means that as we have good and natural desires in life, and as circumstances of life come our way, we must act upon them as God has directed us to act in His word. We trust that what He says is right and brings about the desired outcome; His good plan for our lives. And it is as we, by the grace of Christ, trust God and are faithful to do what He says that we find Him to be glorious and amazing. We find that God is our greatest good in life, and it is only beside Him and through Him that we live out His good plan for our lives.

But what this means is that there are many times we will have to obey the word of God, trusting in His promises, without fully knowing exactly how things will all end up. Sometimes as circumstances or desires arise, obedience to God’s word will require drastic change. Sometimes it will cost us comfort. Sometimes it will push us beyond our limits and abilities. Sometimes we won’t like it. But in those moments we have to ask ourselves who we truly trust.

Psalm 119:105-112 has always been such an important passage of scripture to me. Read it carefully and see if you can tell just how much the author loves God and trusts what He says.

 

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.
106 I have sworn and I will confirm it, That I will keep Your righteous ordinances.
107 I am exceedingly afflicted; b Revive me, O LORD, according to Your word.
108 O accept the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, And teach me Your ordinances.
109 My a life is continually in my hand, Yet I do not forget Your law.
110 The wicked have laid a snare for me, Yet I have not gone astray from Your precepts.
111 I have inherited Your testimonies forever, For they are the joy of my heart.
112 I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes Forever, even to the end. 

Notice how the human author recognizes that God’s word is what gives him direction without showing him the entire road ahead. Notice that he is in dire straits, but he will not stray from following God’s path and obeying His word. He knows God is his greatest good, so he has prioritized obeying God above everything else in life. It is in doing this that he will end up where God wants Him, when God wants him there. Many times we worry so much about where God wants us to be many years in the future that we fail to do what God wants right now. We need to reverse that mindset and be more like the author of this Psalm.

So what are ways you need to be faithful to God right now? What are some changes you might need to make to be more in line with His word? If you purpose within yourself to pursue obedience to (which is really just a whole hearted trust in) His word, then you will live out His plan for you. So don’t worry too much about being faithful tomorrow, just focus on being obedient today. God will take care of the details of life for you if you simply trust and obey.

Posted by Brian Van Doren with

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