Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year!

It's New Year's Eve. Time for a little reflection on 2005. No doubt, this has been one of the strangest years of my life. It began in about the worst way a year could begin. My previous employers decided to give the Rosses a joyful holiday season last year by terminating me. So, my 1st sermon of the new year was a farewell. There is so much I would love to bring to light about the way things were conducted, but that is water under the bridge. The Lord has a way of taking care of things, and so it is better left with Him.

After the experience I had there, I began 2005 with serious doubts about myself, my preaching and whether I should even remain in ministry. I began considering other possibilities. Ironically, Jeff Jones (a deacon and incredible man from the Decatur Church of Christ) had asked me to come preach on the following week. So, my 1st week as an unemployed preacher found me preaching in Decatur.

I began putting out resumes and contemplating my future. There was a lot of time for that. I talked to churches in Tennessee and Colorado and all over Texas. At the time, I just did not want to consider Decatur. I was so gunshy from what had just happened to me that I wanted to make sure that the next place I served was one of integrity and love.

Finally, after several weeks of discussions and ups and downs, Beverly and I agreed to come to Decatur. As we now come to the end of this year, I am so incredibly happy for the decision we made. My reluctance has been turned to sheer excitement. We have never been a part of a more affirming, more truly loving group of Christians as make up this community of believers. And having been there for 8 months, it is safe to say that my observations are not those of someone still stoked because they are in the "honeymoon" period.

So, we look forward with great anticipation to what the Lord has in store for 2006. I had many moments in 2005 in which I wondered where He was and what He was doing. We went months being anxious about selling our house -- wondering why it was taking so long. All the while, He was putting the pieces together for things to work out in ways that we couldn't have written a better script for.

I learned a lot in 2005. About myself. About the faithfulness of my wife. About the Lord. I want to continue to learn and grow in 2006, but I sure hope the Lord choses something easier this year:).

Blessings to you all! And Happy New Year!


Beverly Ross said...

Wow! It's a year I never would choose to relive but, like you, was taught so much through the fire. Thank you, Rick, for not giving up on yourself as a minister of the Lord. He is using you in so many ways to bless His name and bring many to Him. What a fruitful ministry you have in Decatur! The aroma is so sweet! I love you and I treasure our walk together! May we walk faithfully to the One we choose to serve!

Paige said...

Happy New Year! I am so happy that you are didn't leave your calling. I love your family and am blessed to have met you.

Joel Quile said...


I am so sorry for the way your 2005 began. I know that God used your pain and worked through the trial to grow you, but I'm still sorry. I'm glad you have healed to the point that "it is water under the bridge" and doesn't define you.
I am also so thankful that you found a church that is "one of integrity and love"
I, along with Beverly and Paige, am so grateful that you didn't give up on your calling. Paul tells us in Ephesians that Christ gave the church some gifts - one of which is pastors. You are a gift to the church Rick! Never forget that brother.
I said earlier that God worked through your trial...I believe that wholeheartedly. If your previous employer had not decided to give you a joyous holiday season, my wife and I would not have had the tremendous blessing of meeting your wonderful daughter and son-in-law. Their partnership in the gospel is a blessing for which I am eternally thankful.
I love you and will continue to pray that your strong desire to bring to light the way things were conducted will continue to stay under the bridge.
Happy New Year brother! May God grant your wish of the easier path to growth and learning for '06!

Josh Ross said...

That was the hardest time our family has been through. I am so excited for you and mom. I love you both. Keep your heads up...God is working through you.
Thanks Joel for your comments.

Jeff said...

We are blessed that God directed you to Decatur. I know you went through some hard times but I still look back and know God was at work putting a minister and family who were hurting and needing love with a church who was searching for a loving minister and wife. I look forward to 2006. I believe changes are in store and that those changes will bring about a spiritual growth in the life of our church.
Thank you for the kind words.

randy said...

It's become increasingly and painfully clear to me that I'm unable to tell the difference between events that bless me ultimately those which are not good for me. Here's looking to increased growth in faith in 2006 in Decatur.