What the Lord has been doing…

30 10 2010

 I want to share with those who are interested what the Lord has been doing in the Malin family. As many of you know the past several years have been a whirlwind for us when it comes to our ministry. We settled in South Haven, Michigan two years ago and I became the Pastor at Bethel Baptist Church. The Lord has blessed in some tremendous ways since we’ve been here. We’ve seen 11 people follow the Lord in believer’s baptism, several salvation decisions, over 20 have joined the church in membership, we’ve completed a $40,000 remodel of our building which included expanding the sanctuary, we’ve been able to start an AWANA ministry, the Church’s youth ministry has almost tripled in size since we first arrived, and we’ve had 2 missions conferences, started a faith promise missions program, and increased financial support for several of our missionaries while taking on 7 new missionary families. God has been so gracious in enabling us and sustaining us through a season of growth.  

      About a year into our time at Bethel I was contacted by Cornerstone Baptist Church in Lakeland, FL (where we attended for 13 years and I was the youth pastor for 5 years). They informed me that they were beginning a search for a senior pastor and asked me if I was interested in submitting my resume’. I was torn as to whether or not to submit my resume’ to them. After waiting and praying for a little over a month Robin and I decided that it was an opportunity that we at least had to see if the Lord would open the possibility. I submitted my resume’ in early January of 2010 and we continued to go about our ministry in Michigan while praying for God to make His will clear in regards to Cornerstone. I received a call in April from Cornerstone informing me that they were interested in having an interview about the position. We had a skype interview in mid April. A few days after the interview I received an invitation for me and my family to come down to Florida to “candidate” for the pastoral position. We accepted the invitation and went. We spent 6 days with the people of the Church with various meetings taking place along with several Q & A’s to determine if the Lord was moving us in this direction. On the sixth and final day of the process I did not have peace about following through with the process and allowing the church to vote. There were several reasons for this which I won’t go into, but suffice it to say I withdrew myself from consideration. My mind was made up and my heart was set in stone. I did not see God’s fingerprints on my being the pastor at Cornerstone. We returned to our home and ministry in Michigan. That was in mid May.

       Through mid June there were a number of people that tried to get me to reconsider my decision to withdraw from consideration. I genuinely believed that if I was outside of God’s will that He could change my heart. I never believed He would change my heart. For the next several months the church in Florida moved on considering other applicants for their position and I moved on without questioning my decision. My heart was steadfast until the morning of Tuesday, September 14th. I don’t know why but that morning I began to think once again and to reconsider Cornerstone and my decision. I prayed that morning during my devotions and then had a conversation with my wife about Cornerstone and whether the Lord would possibly reopen the opportunity. We prayed together. At this time I knew that they were considering another applicant for their pastorate. Our prayer was that if my change of heart was of the Lord then the Lord would have to change Cornerstone’s heart about the applicant they were considering. We didn’t contact anyone in Florida..we simply prayed. I prayed the next morning. Shortly after my prayer time that Wednesday morning I received a phone call from one of the assistant pastors at Cornerstone. He informed me that the previous night their search team had unanimously decided to not pursue their applicant. Furthermore, they wanted to call me and ask me if I would reconsider my previous decision. Little did he know that I already was reconsidering. I firmly believe that the timing of my change of heart in conjunction with their decision to not pursue their applicant and to ask for my reconsideration is more than simply an odd coincidence. I believe that He who sways the hearts of kings and rulers swayed my heart and swayed their hearts and that this was the fingerprint of God on the situation.

      To make a long story longer…I continued to pray for another week and a half and the search team at Cornerstone prayed as well. We had another skype interview on a Sunday afternoon and they invited me to come back down on a weekend in mid October to preach and allow the church to follow up with me and Robin. We did that this past weekend, October 23 & 24. I have resigned my position at Bethel Baptist Church effective November 15, 2010 and firmly believe that God has shown us that this is His will. This has been difficult for us in one sense…leaving our church family in South Haven whom we have grown to love and care for. It has been exciting for us on the other hand…to see God answer prayer in ways that to us are unmistakable.

      Our family has been through a lot of transition over the past several years and we know that some may not understand all of these moves. However, at the end of the day we must follow the Lord and what we firmly believe to be His will for our lives. We are looking forward to what we hope will be 25 to 30 years of ministry with the people of Cornerstone Baptist. Thanks for your love and prayers for our family!



2 responses

30 10 2010

Powerful stuff Jeff! What a testimony to “peace be still”. Truly God works miracles in our lives everyday while we are to seek, obey and trust in His will.
While it is sad that your season is up at Bethel, God will of course continue to do amazing things with them.
Cornerstone is blessed to have your family join and grow their ministry again. All the while it sounds as though you are blessed to have been a part of both of these ministries also!
God truly IS Good ALL the time!

1 11 2010
Rich Todd

A powerful testimony of a faithful follower who is willing to go where the Lord leads – even if it is a difficult decision to make!! I really can relate with you on how God moves people in making or responding to decisions we make for serving the Lord. This is similar to how the Lord confirmed in my life to serve Him in full time missions service. I know the Lord will lead you and provide abundantly for you and the family in Florida. If there is anything we can do (pray,etc.) please let us know. May the Lord bless you richly on your journey with Him!!!

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