Some of you may know that I am an avid basketball fan. March Madness is my 2nd favorite time of the year (next to October and the beginnings of Fall).
Specifically, I am an avid University of Louisville fan. I really enjoy watching the Cardinals play basketball games and watching the players develop over the course of a season. I love the TEAMWORK in the game and the strategy involved in winning.
For 54 years, the Louisville Cardinals, my favorite team in my favorite sport, have played in the same arena called “Freedom Hall” in Louisville. It’s an arena built for horse shows and the like, but they played basketball in it every season and made the best of an arena not designed for basketball. Fruit was produced by the U of L teams over the last 54 years – 6 Final Fours, 2 National Championships, and 82% of home wins at Freedom Hall. Louisville is one of the top 10 programs in the country overall in many categories in their storied program.
On March 6th, the Hall was closed to basketball as the Cards went out of the stadium with a bang! They beat the #1 ranked team in the country in their final home game – finishing strong in front of many legendary coaches and players of the program. No longer will the Cards be playing there next season. They are taking their game to a brand new arena.
I did not realize the parallel until yesterday that on March 7th, I stepped down officially as pastor and member of Clay Christian Fellowship. I preached my final sermon there and finished the book of James. It was the end of a short era in my short life. It was sad in many ways just as Freedom Hall’s closing was sad. Yet it was hopeful in the sense that we are moving to a new place to do ministry.
As UofL changes venue, the game will not change for the Cardinals. Likewise, the ministry God has called me to will not change for me. We both are simply moving to a new “venue” with fond memories of the past and thankfulness to God for His fruit produced during that span of time.
Currently, we are serving 4 churches and 1 ministry through Truth in Love Ministries. The ministry and my family are seeking the Lord to lead us to a new faith family that embraces TIL and wants to further this ministry with leadership we can submit to and support that gives the ministry more stability.
It’s an exciting time for the ministry to see what the Lord will do. Unlike UofL, we do not have a church home yet.
What provoked me to write this blog occurred at the end of the last game at Freedom Hall. The tv network gradually turned off the lights inside the building eventually fading it to black. It was an incredible picture of the end of the era. Likewise, yesterday, as my wife turned off the lights inside the CCF building, I had the same swell of emotion as each section of lights in the church gradually faded to black. The similarities were amazing.
The era of ministry at CCF has ended, but the era of ministry elsewhere is just beginning by God’s grace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 reminds us of God’s purposeful and providential time for everything under heaven:
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 2a time to be born, and a time to die;a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 3a time to kill, and a time to heal;a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4a time to weep, and a time to laugh;a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6a time to seek, and a time to lose;a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7a time to tear, and a time to sew;a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8a time to love, and a time to hate;a time for war, and a time for peace.”
-Mark (in His Grip)