My Unshakable Confidence For The Coming Year

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. PS 138.8

Against my will I majored in art education in college. I didn’t want to teach art, but my parents wisely made me take something at which I’d be able to make a living. I really wanted to be a rock ‘n’ roll star. After I became a Christian I wanted to be a Christian rock ‘n’ roll star. I didn’t put it in those terms but when I told my mom I wanted to make a living playing Christian music she bluntly told me it was a pipe dream and I needed to get a teaching job. So against my will I became an art teacher. Little did I know that after a couple years of teaching the first pastor of our fledgling ragtag church would suggest I had a calling on my life and I’d be dumb enough to believe him. So at age 30 and nine months into my marriage I quit my steady job to come on staff as a pastor-in-training. Nine months later I was ordained. A year later the pastor informed me he would be relocating to work with a ministry that was helping us and I was going to be the next senior pastor. So there I was, senior pastor of a bunch of young believers, and none of us knew what we were doing, especially me.

But here I am 35 years later still pastoring the same church. We’re not a bunch of ragtag believers anymore, though it’s still questionable if we know what we’re doing. But God has established, sustained and grown us. He’s been incredibly merciful and faithful to us. This past Christmas Eve, tears filled my eyes as our children’s choir, a number of whom are grandchildren of friends who have been with me all these years in our church, sang for us.

God has built our church. I still don’t feel like I know what I’m doing. In fact I regularly tell people the fact that our church still exists after all these years with me as senior pastor is proof there’s a living God.

The fact that our church still exists after all these years with me as senior pastor is proof there’s a living God.

When I was in college I never could have imagined God would call me to be a pastor. I could never have fathomed his plans for my life. Could never have imagined the wife and children and grandchildren he would give me. Could never have envisioned all the things he would take me through. Could never have guessed how he might use me.

None of us have any idea where we will be this time next year. Or if we’ll even still be here. We have no idea what God will bring into our lives this year. But for those of us who know Jesus we can be certain that God will fulfill his purposes for us. His ultimate purpose is to bring himself glory and to make us like Christ. And he will not fail to do that. That gives me unshakable confidence for the future.

So trust in the Lord. He has a purpose and plan for your life. And nothing – not even your failures and weaknesses – can keep him from fulfilling that purpose and plan.

Mark Altrogge

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.