Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pochek's Accept Call to NC

On Sunday, May 17, 2009, the people of God at Raleigh Road Baptist Church ( extended a call to me to serve as Senior Pastor. The story of how we came into contact with each other and what led us to accept the call is long...but I will give the "Reader's Digest" condensed version.

In early 2008, I began to experience an uncomfortable amount of conviction about whether I was truly using the gifts and abilities God has invested in me to their fullest capacity. In part this conviction was spurred along from a morning devotional reading of the parable of the talents (Mt 25). I began to pray through whether God wanted me to lead Lighthouse to another level, or whether He might desire to call us away to another place of service. About six to eight months or so into the process of wrestling through this, God seemed to make it clear that He would be moving us at some point. We did not know when or where...but were pretty sure that it was to happen. Yet, nothing transpired. So, we waited, continued to serve faithfully at Lighthouse, and to pray.

When a year passed (Jan 2009), and we remained in Nashville, I started to question whether I had heard God clearly or not. I met with several trusted friends to seek their advice. One of the most poignant meetings was with Pastor Fred Winters of FBC Maryville. Fred and I had lunch at a little Mexican restaurant just down from the church he served. Over that lunch Fred confirmed that, in his opinion, it was time for me to consider a move to more fully realize the potential that God had put in me.

Shortly after that meeting, we were contacted by several churches, each indicating that I was in their final group of candidates. All of the churches we had contact with during this stretch were represented by wonderful groups of people who sought to discern the Lord's will, just as we were seeking to do. Ultimately, we respectfully withdrew from a number of those searches, not sensing the Lord's leading to continue forward. Again, all of those churches are doing great things and we enjoyed meeting teams from each one of them.

In late April, we were contacted by the search team chair at Raleigh Road Baptist Church indicating that God had led their team to me as their primary candidate. You can read some of their testimonies at their website: A visit was set up for Susy and I May 1-3. We made that visit and both we and the search team felt led to continue forward. We were then invited to visit the church in view of a call May 15-17. Susy and I prayed and asked the Lord for a clear confirmation that we were to accept the call, if it were extended and it was His will. He more than spoke as the church overwhelmingly (97.5% affirative) extended a call to us.

I would be remiss if I did not say how difficult this process has been. We have been in Nashville for 12 years and have many dear friends here. We have, literally, watched children grow up before our eyes...indeed, I'll be performing a wedding ceremony next week for a young man who was in grade school when we first got here! As we have become fond of saying: God seldom calls us to the path of least resistance! Yet, we have great excitement over what is ahead for us and for Raleigh Road Baptist Church. Please keep us, RRBC and Lighthouse Church in your prayers. We are all about to enter a phase in which our comfort zones are stretched significantly: us as we adjust to a new church and area; RRBC as they adjust to a new pastor and his eccentricities; and Lighthouse as they begin a time of transition. I am confident, however, that out of our comfort zones is exactly where God wants us!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Calling or Comfort?

This Sunday at LCC, we will be examining what the story of Daniel in the Bible as we think about our disposition toward our circumstances. Daniel (and his friends) had much to complain about. They were carried into a foreign land as prisoners, they were put on a restricted diet of foreign foods, re-educated in the history and philosophy of their captor's country. They were even renamed - had their very identities taken from them. The question we want to think about is: What attitude should we take when it seems like all of life is stacked against us? Should we simply recoil into a shell? There is the very real danger of becoming "paralyzed" by the circumstances of life that are beyond our control. We can begin to adopt an "it doesn't matter" attitude toward what we do, believing that nothing will change. But, God has made us for more than that kind of attitude.

Now, Sunday is also Mother's Day. Could there be a much better day to examine such a question? Godly moms know the challenge of having to put their plans on hold for the benefit of their children. Godly moms can make that sacrifice knowing that motherhood is a calling from God. When God calls us to serve him he rarely calls us to a life of ease and comfort. Rather, he calls us to a life of great sacrifice and, often, suffering - but he gives joy in the midst of it. Sacrifice, suffering, AND joy? Yes. That is the biblical picture of a great and high calling. Sacrifice and suffering are involved because God calls us out of our comfort zones into a life of radial commitment to Him. That commitment means that we put ALL on the table and offer it to Him to use as He wills. Another way to think about it is this: the way of the cross is not found along the path of least resistance! As a general rule, if it is the easy choice; if it is the choice the is most pleasing to self; if it is the choice that requires the least amount of sacrifice - it is probably not the choice God would have us make. (Perhaps I should reveal the significant amount of Steve Camp music I listened to as a young Christian -!)

Is God calling you to take a risk for him?
Has God been calling you out of your comfort zone for the sake of his kingdom?
Have I said to much here...what kind of "but's" are you thinking of?