An Open Letter – March 2018

John Carter – March 22, 2018

When I hear certain songs I am reminded of when Mark Driscoll was at his peak in popularity in ministry at Mars Hill. During that time I was finally completing my bachelor’s degree on a steady diet of John Piper, Mark Driscoll, David Platt, Francis Chan, and Wayne Grudem. This degree took 12 years to complete, I was going to have my fourth son born in a few short months, and I was steeped in fruitful service to my Lord and God- Jesus Christ. That was 5 years ago.

Now, I have had my diet replaced by Schaeffer, Bonhoeffer, Keith Green, and Michael Horton. But even more recently by commentaries on Matthew and Romans. Since 2013 I have completed five semesters of Biblical languages (Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic), moved my family from the West Coast to the East Coast and back to the West Coast. Presently I am sitting in my office at an amazing church in the heart of the county that is known worldwide for its brand of cannabis. Out one window I can see the majestic redwoods. Out the other window, I can see the clouds roll in off the mighty Pacific Ocean.

I hear those songs that remind me of beautiful days past while hearing new songs in the midst of gorgeous days forming around me now. There is an odd sensation when this happens. On one hand, I want to hold close to those days that have past. Why? Because even in the worst of it, they were good and taught me a lot about my God and Savior. Yet at the same time, I have no interest in going to a place that no longer exists. The past is gone. The only place left is the future. I am optimistic about the future. Not because of my ability to plan or preach, but because of the promises of God; the promises that remind me that my greater days still lay ahead. If I hold too tightly to what will never return then I will give up what good fruit God has in store for me here.

Five years have passed, but my desire to disciple others in the teachings of Jesus has not waned. Tested? Yes. Grown? Yes. Battered? Many times. Brother and Sister in Christ, as I serve in my current role as pastor of First Baptist Church of Fortuna CA will you pray for me, this church, and the community we declare the gospel to? Then pray for God to restore the joy of his salvation to you and to show you how the work he has ahead of you is immeasurably greater than the greatest day of your best ministry. Perhaps those songs that bring back a flood of great memories will be replaced by new songs that create a deluge of even greater memories.