Donald and Jared were from a congregation on the island called The People’s Church. My first encounter with them (they may forget) was their questioning why I was giving them a additional textbook since they already had one for church history (I went through and distilled the book to bring out the most important people, events and dates). Well I told them to help them take notes. They ended up thinking that was a great idea, thought it was great of me to think of it and right off the bat we hit it off. One of the things that I try and stress throughout the entire course is the Biblical truth that God blesses his church when the gospel is the center for all of life, ministry and mission. I talk about how the church at large and individual people throughout church history were constantly “recovering the gospel” and impacting the church in great ways. It turned out they and several in their church were “rediscovering the gospel” as well. They were learning from teachers and through their personal experience that we are not nearly as good as we think we are and that the gospel is incredibly more deep than we imagine. I particularly remember how they were very encouraged when I shared with them a story that Rose Marie Miller used to tell about speaking at a conference at one point and standing up and saying: “My name is Rose Marie Miller and I am a recovering Pharisee”. One of them (I can’t remember) shouted out “That is what I am a recovering Pharisee! Now I know what I really am”.
Well we struck up a friendship that sadly could only be carried forward on Facebook and via email. That was until the next year when the People’s Church invited Eleuthera Bible Training Center to teach their two year curriculum on Spanish Wells. That I meant that in 2008 I was asked to return to Eleuthera and teach Church History on Spanish Wells.
Again it was a great two weeks with me establishing new relationships. I was able to renew some of those relationships today as I headed north to catch the ferry to Spanish Wells to worship with them. Jimmy Buffett (most of you know I am a big Buffett fan – one of you who helped finance this trip actually sold me a Buffett CD once at a local store in the ‘Boro – and I have found that Buffett definitely sounds better in the Tropics) has a song entitled “I Have Found a Home” about living in the islands and he says: “The days drift by, they don’t have names”. That is certainly true here and there are times I have to figure out what day it is. That did not happen today but the time is always hard for me to figure out. The clock on my computer is central time, I set a clock for eastern time (the time in Eleuthera) but the electricity goes off so often here that the clock is often wrong. I was planning on attending worship but did not plan on going to Sunday School. After all I am here serving the Lord and need some time off!
Well somehow I got there and hour early. I really don’t know how that happened. As I replay the morning I cannot figure out how I left an hour early but it was clear after getting there that our Father wanted me there for Sunday school. Sunday school was on the Jesus. Nothing new, nothing novel just a gentle reminder of who Jesus is and what he did for sinners like me. No matter how many times I am reminded of the fabulous truth is never enough. Donald taught Sunday school and tried over and over to remind all of us there that Jesus is always enough.
Then for the sermon it turned out that Donald was preaching as well. Donald is what Presbyterians would call a ruling elder but the church is without a pastor and so on many occasions Donald is taking the responsibility for bringing the Word. He preached very courageously from Colossians 2 on the uselessness of man made rules and regulations for sanctification. He stated several times that Jesus is sufficient for justification and for sanctification. Spoke to and encouraged my heart. If you look at the sign you can likely figure out that Jesus is the antidote for religion. So it was a great Lord’s Day on Eleuthera and Spanish Wells. Returned to the center to eat supper with a group of young adults from a church in Greenville who are here on a short missions trip helping with outreach to Jame’s Cistern. It was a great time of food and fellowship.