Last June I retired from the full-time pastorate after 36 years as a senior pastor. For the next ten months I preached on Sunday at various churches. I had the opportunity to preach 72 times over a period of ten months. It was a lot of fun going to a different church each week doing mostly supply preaching. I have to admit that even though it was an enjoyable experience, it was starting to get old. I was ready to settle back down as a pastor, but I didn't want full-time. A few weeks ago, God gave me an opportunity to preach at a small rural church that had been without a pastor for about two years. Up to that point, I had pastored three churches. In each case, me and my wife knew within minutes of our arrival that God was calling us to the church. Happened just like that with this rural church. Six weeks after first speaking at the church, I was called to be the bi-vocational pastor. There is no doubt that God called me there. This coming Sunday will be my first official day as pastor. God used this church to wipe my slate clean from the ideas I had about many small, rural churches. At one time, I felt they were all dead, or at least on life support. I didn't want to have anything to do with such churches. I discovered that there is at least one small, rural church that is starving for pastoral leadership and that wants to impact its community for Jesus. The church has basically said to me, "You show us where to go and we will follow you." I preached for the church for 4 Sundays before they called me. I pulled no punches about leadership and about why they were nearing extinction. I tried to make them mad. I figured if they didn't get mad at me, that in itself would be an indication that God was confirming my call. If I had to guess, I would say that God has saved the best until last for me. I feel so energized and have already begun to work on a vision statement and on restructuring the Sunday School. The challenge is great, but our God is greater. I can hardly wait to see from week to week what He is going to do.