As I write it is Saturday morning and the sun is rising. The sky is clear and the air is cool. It has all the makings of a beautiful autumn day. Last night we drove over to Lake Michigan in the evening and spent some time with friends as the sun set. One of the men built a fire and we talked while the children played.
In the past few months God has reminded Lois and me that Christian discipleship is about radical obedience. It is about yielding of our own will to the will of God. It is not about ease, it is about strenuous obedience born of passion for God and a sense of urgency because of the brevity of time and the uncertainty of life. It is not about safety and comfort, but sacrifice and risk.
I am preaching a series of messages at First Baptist Church right now about Jacob’s adventure with God. What I did not know when I began to write this series is that God would soon clearly call our whole family to a great adventure of trust. I didn’t know that God was preparing us for a difficult assignment and asking us to pack up and go on long trip filled with many uncertainties.
For years we as a family have had a deep, deep burden for the family restoration movement. God has raised up men and women like Jim Dobson, Dennis Rainey, Del Fehsenfeld, Nancy DeMoss, Elisabeth Elliot, Bill Gothard and others to call the church around the world to holiness, revival and family restoration in our time.
Two weeks ago that call became very personal. Our family was invited to begin a ministry to families and to the Body of Christ at large. After seeking counsel and after much prayerful deliberation we have accepted the invitation and will begin full-time the first week in November. The Riverfront Character Inn in Flint will be our home and we will conduct our family ministry from there.
You can check it out here: www.characterinns.org
The family will serve and sing and I will speak in churches and at retreats and conferences. I have been asked to serve as the Director of the Character Inn and the family will live and serve there.
Obviously we can’t be in two places at once. We love Fremont. We love First Baptist Church. We would like to have stayed here for the rest of our lives, but God has clearly led and we are following in obedience to Him.
The pastors and deacons have unanimously recommended that we be sent out as missionaries with the full blessing of First Baptist Church of Fremont. That will be a great encouragement to us. The commissioning service will be on my birthday, Sunday morning November 3rd. We will be responsible to raise a portion of our support.
Last week I took Holly, Heidi and Hannah to Camp Barakel and spoke at their Father-Daughter retreat. On Saturday night Holly spoke to the young girls while I spoke to their fathers. This is one of the stories we told:
A Wise Exchange
By Kenneth L. Pierpont
We are starting a whole new chapter of our lives and God used our oldest daughter Holly in the process. Two weeks ago on a Tuesday morning I took Holly out for breakfast and a talk. We were going to be saying goodbye to her later that day and taking her to the Riverfront Character Inn in Flint to serve in a unique kind of missionary service.
I looked across the table into her beautiful brown eyes and told her how much I love her and how pleased I am that she has chosen to concentrate on serving God without distraction during her single years. I told her that she was going to be a missionary in one of the finest ministries in America today, the Institute in Basic Life Principles. I told her that I would be pleased if all eight of my children gave themselves to serve there.
What I didn’t know at the time was that within twelve hours our whole family would be invited to serve in the ministry there. When we arrived at the Inn in Flint, the founder of the ministry was there in the lobby and he asked us into his office, assured us that he had been praying for us for months and invited us to come to Flint and serve there as a family ministry.
We left Holly there that night a drove home, our heads swimming with what a move to Flint would mean. I would have to resign a church I love, the children’s lives and jobs would all change. We would be way, way out of our comfort zone, living with a family of ten in a sixteen-story hotel in downtown Flint.
I thought Lois would never do it, but she was eager to go. I thought Holly would be eager but she had a question mark in her voice when I called her to ask her what she thought of the idea. I asked her why. This summer she was chosen as the National Baby Food Festival Queen. She told me that if she moved from Fremont, she would have to give up her crown.
Later that night sitting at my desk and praying, a joyful thought came to me. It occurred to me that she would not be giving up her crown at all. The purpose of being involved in the Baby Food Festival was for the glory of God and an opportunity to serve and she would be given many, many opportunities to serve in Flint. I Cor. 9:25 came to my mind. “.they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.”
I told Holly. That crown is beautiful and it is meaningful, but it is temporary. It is a perishable crown. God is not asking you to give up your crown. For a limited time God has given you the opportunity to exchange a crown that will never last for a crown that will never pass away.”
When I told her that, she was eager to make the exchange. Within in a few days the people from the Baby Food Festival assured her that if she was willing to come back next year for the festival she could keep the crown. She will be the National Baby Food Festival Queen for a year, but her reward in heaven for service to the King of kings will go on and on forever. It is eternal.
Kenneth L. Pierpont
Pine Street Parsonage
September 30, 2002