Two weeks ago, I was praying around this building
when I found myself reading the bronze plaques out
front listing all the men of God that He has sent to lead
this congregation for almost 300 years. I stopped in my
tracks and was immediately overtaken by a sense of
awe and humility as the Holy Spirit revealed to me the
incredible legacy that He had now entrusted to my care.
My sins and failures of the past came to mind and I
suddenly felt very inadequate. It left me breathless and
overwhelmed. For you see, just like you, your new pastor
was born a sinner and has committed sins, and just like
you needs God’s mercy and forgiveness through the
death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and
needs to humble himself before God every day and if he doesn’t, he flounders and fails, just like you. Right there I began a constant daily prayer vigil asking God for wisdom for what I consider the capstone appointment of my life. So as we set a new benchmark today in the life of this church and this servant, I want to take just a moment to offer some acknowledgments and a pledge.
First and foremost, I thank Almighty God, who in His sovereignty, clearly orchestrated all of this, and the brothers and sisters of Egypt C.C. for all the warmth and courtesies you have extended to us from the start. Randy and Dave, thank you so much to both of you for being here today and challenging us from God’s Word.
I want to thank our kids for being here and for making us very proud as parents. Our oldest son, Jonathan and his beautiful wife, Rachel are having our third grandchild in August. Our middle son, Matt, is here. He and his beautiful wife, Renee provided our first grandchild a year and a half ago. Caleb is the little guy with the big goobery smile in the picture I showed you last time we were here. And our beautiful daughter, Lauren Pearson and her husband have their little son Cooper here. He has some pretty good lungs! We may hear from him at some point during the service. I love you guys!
Two of my three sisters are here as well. Karen and her husband Wesley Spangler came all the way from Laurel, Maryland to be here today. And our baby sister, Holly Garrison brought our mom up from Baltimore to be here. Thanks guys! I love you!
Hi Mom! Thank you for being here today but so much more thank you for teaching me about faith. You see, when I was a small child I had life threatening health issues that almost took my life on more than one occasion. I watched Mom pray our family through one crisis after another and I watched God honor her prayers. She would tell me that God saved me from death because He has something for me to do. She also taught me about faithfulness in the loving way she took care of Dad. Thank you, Mom! I love you!
I wish Dad could be here today but on November 18th, God called him home. So he has an upper balcony seat today. We miss him so much! I was very blessed to have a father who was not only my dad but when I grew up, became my friend. He was always proud of us. He and Mom were very proud when I finished my doctorate two years ago. Today I am wearing my doctoral robe to honor his memory. Dad taught me to be a man, to work hard and keep your word. The apostle Paul told the Colossian believers (3:23) “Whatsoever you set your hand to do, do it with all your might, as unto the Lord.” My other sister Evelyn Irwin very fittingly eulogized Dad when she said, “There are three kinds of people: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened. Dad was the kind of man who made things happen and never did anything half way.” When the day came that I told Dad I wanted to be a pastor, he told me, “Well then you be the best pastor you can be!” He was already teaching me that by the way he lived. I wish I could say that I’ve always lived up to his example. I never could fill his shoes. Literally…he wore a 10 ½… I only wear a size 9.
Finally, there is another person whom God has used profoundly to help mold and mellow me into the servant He wants me to be. And just like you, that is still a work in progress. My precious wife of 43 years this June, Martha, has always supported me in my decisions but told me privately when she thought I was wrong. And I haven’t made it easy for her because I “used to be” pretty bull headed and I’ve always been “somewhat” opinionated. Right now my kids are probably groaning, “Seriously, Dad? Used to be…Somewhat?” Hey, everybody has a right to their opinion, right? Well, Martha has often had to make me realize that I was acting like EVERYBODY has a right to MY opinion. But we have learned through the years together that we don’t have to always agree in order to be of the same mind. Paul told the Philippian believers to be “…like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.” (Phil 2:2) Simply put, I would not be the man I am today without her loving companionship and influence. Thanks Hon! I love you.
So then, brothers and sisters of Egypt Community Church, as we begin this new chapter together, this is my pledge to you: By the grace of God and the power of His Spirit, this servant will be humble and accountable, faithful to speak God’s truth in love, and earnestly seek to be of one mind with those whom he serves, to the glory of Almighty God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Pastor Brad Roth