The Blog of Pastor Mike Wilkins
"The long run" referred to in the title of this blog is, in the first place, the many years Mike Wilkins served as West London's solo pastor, and then its Senior Pastor, since he and his wife Deb moved to London (and this church) in 1984.
In these past few years (beginning November 2011,) Mike's various health challenges, particularly a serious and ongoing case of cancer, has added another layer to the "long run" metaphor, and lots to blog about. Mike is currently on an extended Sick Leave, but generally worships with the church family on Sunday mornings.
With the publication of a book he wrote in 2016 entitled "Glory in the Face" (now available electronically and in paperback from Amazon.ca, and other online venders), Mike has just launched a new website, which will serve as a sort of scrapbook for readers of the book, with relevant background photos, for example, of That Last Final Solo Canoe Trip in May, 2011, as well as additional information about the book, and--coming soon--a new set of blog posts, mostly about the peace of God and the joy of the Lord and the face of Christ and the strength to face anything. You'll find the new website now at www.gloryintheface.com.
Dec2MonDecember 2, 2013
My original 1982 list of "Five Dead Men" included Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892): the stunningly influential pastor and preacher of the real London's Metropolitan Tabernacle, and he has survived every one of my tweaks to my list of long-gone mentors. That is how inspiring he has been to me for all the years I have been a pastor. More recently, but still for quite a few years now, I have generally started every day with the appropriate Morning Reading from his book "Morning & Evening" [which is readily available online, for example, here.]
And so again, yesterday, I read the entry for December 1st, which is based on Psalm 74:17. "Thou hast made summer and winter." KJV
Here's a portion of it:
"My soul, begin this wintry month with thy God. The cold snows and the piercing winds all remind thee that He keeps His covenant with day and night, and tend to assure thee that He will also keep that glorious covenant which He has made with thee in the person of Christ Jesus… Winter in the soul is by no means a comfortable season, and if it be upon thee just now it will be very painful to thee: but there is this comfort, namely, that the Lord makes it … He is the great Winter King …"
Yesterday morning, as is often the case, Spurgeon "had me from Hello," but this year, his reference to God as the "Winter King" was an unusually powerful "Gotcha:" last Sunday being the one and only Sunday we've ever cancelled the Worship Service(s) because of the snow, and yesterday being the launch of a sermon series we are calling "The King of Christmas." So there I sat in my usual brown chair, my usual black coffee in hand, reading with an unusually open and attentive heart.
"… Losses, crosses, heaviness, sickness, poverty, and a thousand other ills, are of the Lord's sending, and come to us with wise design. Frosts kill noxious insects, and put a bound to raging diseases; they break up the clods, and sweeten the soul. O that such good results would always follow our winters of affliction! How we prize the fire just now! How pleasant is its cheerful glow! Let us in the same manner prize our Lord, who is the constant source of warmth and comfort in every time of trouble. Let us draw nigh to Him, and in Him find joy and peace in believing …"
Once again, I thank God for the heart and mind and words of Charles Spurgeon. This first Sunday of this challenging December, he strengthened my conviction that I am in very good hands, that is, the hands of "the great Winter King," who according to his "wise design" has sent me my "losses" and my "sickness." He above all is the One I should "prize:" my "constant source of warmth and comfort in every time of trouble."
As I begin this eighth month of my adventure as a cancer patient -- with the prospect of continuing to fight this life-and-death fight for all of the winter months ahead, I am strengthened to follow the instructions of one of my most influential "Dead Men," who incidentally died when he was two years younger than I am just now. I am glad to be instructed to "draw nigh" to Christ who surely is "the King of Christmas." Morning and evening, month after month, I am finding "joy and peace in believing" in Christ as my king: my ruler and my defender. And as a preacher and pastor of one of the churches of "the unreal London," I whole-heartedly encourage you to do the same, whatever might be making this winter an uncomfortable season for you.