My heart is full! After gathering with the pastors and spouses from across the Kentucky District for our annual ministry retreat, I’m overflowing. The Lord made Himself known to us as we prayed, worshipped, and was ministered to through God’s Word. It really was an inspiring time of spiritual revitalization.
I’ve heard back from several pastors expressing a deep sense of renewal since our time together. I am very grateful when we are able to come together for times that’s been set apart to meet with Jesus. We always leave better than when we came. To walk in the fullness of the Holy Spirit we must seek intentional times of Sabbath. It’s not an option; it’s a command.
I am also thankful for Rev. Tim and Jamie Kellerman, and Rev. Terry and Melissa Wright for making this time together very meaningful. These ministers led our retreat and were very sensitive to the moving of the Holy Spirit. Thanks be to God!
The day after I left the retreat we celebrated our son, Jake, joining Emily Elizabeth Monterroso, as they united in marriage. It was a beautiful gathering of family and friends. Once again, God made Himself known. Dr. Gustavo Crocker, General Superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene, performed the ceremony (he is Emily’s uncle). He did a wonderful job describing the significance of the covenant made between a man and a woman as they unite in Holy Matrimony.
It was an honor to be Jake’s best man. I was nineteen when he was born, too young to have a kid, yet ready to be the very best dad I could be. Today, I can honestly say that Jake is my closest friend. He has taught me more about myself than anyone I know. He’s helped me become more patient and understanding. I’m a better man today because of my son.
Saturday, October 7, 2017, marked the beginning of something new for the Powell family. We didn’t lose a son; we gained a daughter in Emily Elizabeth. Not only did we gain a daughter, we united with another family: the Monterroso’s.
During the ceremony, Dr. Crocker pointed out that four unique cultures were merging: a North Carolina culture (Powell family), a Hispanic culture (Monterroso family), a northern Kentucky culture (Kimberly Monterroso’s family), and an Asian culture (our two adopted daughters, Kacey Xing-Yu & Lilah Shu-Nu).
He also spoke of how marriage between a man and a woman is the foundation of civilization. In fact, the first thing God did when He created mankind was performed a wedding ceremony: “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
Dr. Crocker elaborated on Jesus’ first miracle at Cana of Galilee when the Lord Himself was a guest at a wedding celebration. At that gathering, Jesus turned water into wine after the host ran out. He illustrated that when a couple first gets married the “wine” of attraction, romance, excitement, etc. is overflowing. Then, after some time, we tend to “run out of wine.” However, if we keep our commitment and invite Jesus into the marriage He will produce “better wine” as we grow old together. In fact, when we are faithful, the best comes last.
As I interacted with everyone at the wedding the Lord reminded me of how much we need one another. We need each other more than we’re willing to admit. We need our families, and it’s a blessing when they grow. We need old friends and new ones. We all need the connection that comes through genuine relationships.
We really are better together, and the more the merrier.
Today I thank God for my new extended family: the Monterroso’s. I thank God for my North Carolina family. I thank God for my Kentucky District family. I thank God for my wife and kids. I thank God for the connections He’s allowed me to make throughout my life, and the ones I’m making now.
I’m reminded of the words of the Ecclesiastes writer:
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).