Dr. Dew's Monthly Articles in the TIE
The TIE – January 2019
Spilman Memorial Baptist Church
Change – by Dr. H. Powell Dew, Jr.
A philosopher once said, “The only thing that stays the same is … change!” Years ago, while attending Tanglewood, my Sunday school teacher (Teresa O’Neal) asked the class, “How many of you like change?” I was probably the only one in that classroom that raised my hand. Little did I know what kind of changes God had in mind for me. The years that have transpired since then have brought about A LOT of changes. Some of the changes have been good ones … while others were very painful.
It is hard to believe another year is here! It was just “yesterday” when I was at a New Year’s Eve party at a friend’s house in High School. It was only “yesterday” when I graduated from UNC – Chapel Hill. It was just “yesterday” when my daughter was born. It was only “yesterday” when Sharon and I got married.
Now that I have less hair and what I do have left has turned white, I have also begun to use the phrase, “I remember when…” more often. “I remember when” my grandmother cooked my favorite dessert. “I remember when” we went to the mountains every October. “I remember when” we would go to the old country store every Saturday afternoon and get the largest ice cream cones.
But as with everything, those yesterdays became history and those special times I loved so fondly are now a precious memory. Most of us do not like to embrace change because it means the loss of something special and meaningful. It means we will have to adapt to a future or reality we did not plan or sometimes did not want. This can happen in our lives with changing financial situations as well as health related issues. Changes can also happen in the life of a church as well.
I consider myself blessed to be a part of Spilman Memorial Baptist Church and to serve as your Interim Pastor starting this month. There is so much history and pride in what has been accomplished by its members and Pastors over the years. Members and friends of Spilman have faithfully supported the mission and work of Spilman with their time, talents, and treasures. The Lord has brought so many good Pastors that have been present during those important events that occurred in church members lives – the good changes and the painful ones.
Mike Cogdill (a former Pastor of Spilman and my professor at Campbell) has often said to his students, “It is worth a life to serve the people of God and be at the cross roads of life with them day in and day out.” I am glad to be here at Spilman during this crossroad.
We live in a world that is rapidly changing – socially, technologically, medically, morally, ecumenically, and politically. Spilman is and will experience changes because its members and the community we are placed in is changing. Our response to these changes should be one grounded in the One that never changes. We should not take our eyes off our purpose and goal – to Glorify God. Our response should be based on the timelessness of God’s Word where we find the words of life, forgiveness, and grace.
We may be tempted to ask ourselves, “Where is God?” in a specific situation in life. However, I have found this to be true in my life, “He was right there beside me, even when I couldn’t see or hear Him. I can attest to this truth: His presence never left me alone.”
Let us enter into 2019 with the assurance that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be with us, guiding us, nurturing us, and molding us into His likeness, until He calls us all home to live with Him eternally. In a constantly changing world, that is Good News!
As we enter 2019, let us be reminded He is Lord of Creation and He is Lord of our lives. Let us together, embrace what God has prepared for us in the coming year – the good and the painful. The Lord does work ALL things together for good.
Members of Spilman, I want you to know, I am glad to be with you on the journey the Lord has prepared for Spilman!
In His Service,
Dr. H. Powell Dew, Jr.
The TIE – Spilman Memorial Baptist Church
Transitions and Thanksgiving – by Dr. H. Powell Dew, Jr.
This past week, our Pastor Dan Cromer, submitted his letter of resignation and retirement. As the letter was being read to the congregation on Wednesday, October 24th and Sunday, October 28th, there was a hushed silence and sadness in the room. Many eyes were moist with tears and hearts were heavy with realization that cancer had overwhelmed Dan’s body and he was no longer able to continue to serve as Spilman’s pastor. I have spent many hours talking with Dan and know in his heart, if his health would have allowed it, he would have continued to serve our church with great enthusiasm and joy.
Transitions …. For Dan, this is now a time of focusing on his medical treatment, spending time with his family, speaking words of encouragement and love to Lisa, Alena and his family. It is my prayer that God will add many days, weeks, and months to this time of focusing on those important tasks.
Transitions … For Spilman it is also a time of transition. Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to fill in in Dan’s absence during Wednesday night Prayer Meeting and Bible Study, and led in in worship on Sunday mornings. This time of transition has enabled this congregation to embrace the ministry of nurturing each other while Dan was unable to be with you during those critical doctor visits, medical tests, and hospitalizations. It has allowed the leadership of Spilman to step up and assume the mantle of leading, guiding and nurturing the mission and vision of Spilman.
As Spilman enters a more formal transition in the search for a new pastor, please be in prayer for the nominating committee as they select a pastor search committee. Be in prayer for the deacons as they continue to nurture the members of the church in the Family Ministry Program. Be in prayer for the upcoming decision related to the ministry opportunity of partnering with Hope Preparatory Academy. (As you know, this was a passion of Dan and Lisa’s.) Be in prayer as this church searches for the next shepherd of this great congregation.
I am reminded of the many transitions in my life. Some were planned and others were planned for me. The same is true for a church. Some transitions are planned, others are planned for us. Yet in the midst of the good and not-so-good transitions of life and church, we need to turn our hearts towards giving thanks to God.
Thanksgiving … We give thanks for the ministry that Dan and Lisa have brought to Spilman Memorial Baptist Church. We give thanks for the impact he has made on so many in such a short period of time. We thank him for his love for God and his enthusiasm and desire to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ under the inspiration and prompting of the Holy Spirit. I am thankful for the way this church has assisted and honored its pastor during this difficult time of tests, procedures, surgeries, hospitalizations, and treatments. I know this church will continue to be as supportive as it can be in the days, weeks, and months to come.
Thanksgiving … We can give thanks that God has planted Spilman Memorial Baptist Church in Kinston to be a light in a dark world. We can give thanks for so many that have invested their time, talents and treasures in building up the Kingdom of God. We can give thanks for the many pastors that have served Spilman. We are thankful for how their ministry calling has been joined with the lives of the members of Spilman. We give thanks to those that were once a part of Spilman and are now continuing to serve our Lord and Savior in the new places they live and serve.
As we gather with our family and friends this Thanksgiving season, let us give thanks unto God for the transitions in life and in church. Help us O Lord to have a thankful heart – today and for all eternity!
Thank you, Dan, for being my pastor!
Your Friend in Christ,
Dr. H. Powell Dew, Jr.