Be Still

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Be Still

Let me set the scene for you. Pastor Chip walked into my office and closed the door. This is one of those moments in life that I'll never forget the details. I said to him, "Is this it? The moment where you fire me?" He smirked and stared out my office window, searching for words for what felt like the longest minute of my life; he began to share that he was being called to First Baptist Jackson as their 23rd Senior Pastor. One of the funniest details about this conversation was that he was telling many of us individually, so he whispered the entire conversation so as not to be heard. My heart started pounding so hard in my ears; I barely heard anything else he said. I congratulated him, fired off a joke, and as abruptly as the conversation began, it ended. 

For the next several days I began processing this news with a wide range of emotions, from crying at home during lunch by myself to playing Bad Blood by Taylor Swift as loud as possible in the office, in hopes he would catch a lyric or two. (Don't judge me for this. Sometimes I just don't know how to handle my emotions.) 

As I reflect on the last six years of my time working with Chip, I found one word that sums it up: grateful. You see, God used Chip, Tom, and this church to change my life. They took a risk on 23-year-old me, who at the time had no experience working with a church, outside of my limited part-time youth work in Macon, MS, to be the Media Associate. Because of the risk they took, I not only started a career, I fell in love and married my wife Savannah, and we started a family with the addition of our son Robby. None of this would have happened without them inviting me to join the team at FBC. Although I'm scared and excited for the future, I'm filled with gratitude as I reflect on the past.

I came to this realization because of the song Be Still by Hillsong Worship. Here are a few of the lyrics from it: 

Be still and know

That the Lord is in control

Be still my soul

Stand and watch as giants fall

I won't be afraid

If You are here

You silence all my fear

I won't be afraid

You don't let go

Be still my heart and know

I won't be afraid

Be still and trust

What the Lord has said is done

Find rest, don't strive

Watch as faith and grace align

I won't be afraid

If You are here

You silence all my fear

I won't be afraid

You don't let go

Be still my heart and know

I won't be afraid

I won't be afraid

My story is one that many of you can relate to at FBC Starkville. God has used Pastor Chip to be an intersector in so many of our lives. As we enter this next season as a church, I pray we will BE STILL and know that the Lord is in control. This morning as I write this, I'm reminded of the numerous times Chip has referenced his favorite book of the Bible, Joshua, on a Sunday morning. The story in chapter 4:20-24 is one of my favorites and perfect for today. The people of Israel just crossed the Jordan River to enter the promised land, and God had Joshua stop and send twelve men to collect twelve stones from the river to create a memorial.  

"It was there at Gilgal that Joshua piled up the twelve stones taken from the Jordan River. Then Joshua said to the Israelites, “In the future, your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’  For the Lord, your God dried up the river right before your eyes, and he kept it dry until you were all across, just as he did at the Red Sea when he dried it up until we had all crossed over. He did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the Lord’s hand is powerful, and so you might fear the Lord your God forever.”

I pray that the story of the 12 stones memorial is a reminder for us to remember God's faithfulness in the past in order for us to look to the future and know that He will be faithful yet again.

I want to close by saying thank you to Pastor Chip and Sandra for leading us these past 12 years and allowing God to use you to make a kingdom impact here in Starkville. You have truly lived out your last sermon series Bigger Than You, and the main point that "God has a purpose for your life that is bigger than you that requires a power that is bigger than you." I know I speak for all of us when I say, thank you for loving us well.

 
Bobby D'Alessandro