While I Was Away

A new blog post could be found here every day from the end of last October until one month and one day ago. And then, without any warning, it stopped.

It really wasn’t good timing. I had just participated in the First Annual Blogging All-Star Challenge. I had just been hated on in the kindest way possible. I had been asked to take part in some pretty neat things including several guest posts.

And then…..nothing. I simply went away.

What happened? Where were you? What’s been going on?

I will get to that, but first I want to dispel a few rumors associated with my absence. Here are a few things that I haven’t been doing during my break from blogging:

1. Recovering from liposuction/plastic surgery. One of my few nicknames is Big Ugly. I believe it got started by either my friend Larry (the Deuce) or my other friend David (Shiney). They aren’t my only friends, thankfully. I complained to them about not having a nickname like they did. I suggested “Thunder;” one of them suggested “Big Ugly.” As the name suggests, I am big and I am not the most handsome gentleman around. But I didn’t have liposuction or plastic surgery. Not yet.

2. Plotting my revenge on Jon Acuff. The team that I was on (Team Ricky) was ahead in the Blogging All-Star Challenge. Until—until the dastardly Jon Acuff sent out a tweet about it. That’s when all of his Acuffites jumped on board and turned the challenge into a beat down. Even though it was soul-crushing, I haven’t been plotting any revenge. However, if I ever have the opportunity to administer a no-holds-barred noogie on him, you better believe that I won’t be a quitter.

3. Building a better mousetrap. From what I understand, if a person is able to accomplish this feat then the world will beat a path to his or her door. I haven’t been doing this. First, I am not much of a builder having graduated from the School of the Mechanically Declined. Second and more importantly, I don’t want the world to beat a path to my door. At least not without calling to tell me that they’re coming over first. Us Cannons like to clean up and put on airs (whatever that means).

4. Thinking about the manifold complexities of The Green Lantern. Thanks to my decision to watch this movie I now have an answer if some asks me about the worst decision I have ever made that does not involve eating a Krstyal hamburger. Dave Ramsey should have spoken out against spending money to watch it. To say that it is a terrible movie does a disservice to the word terrible. Ok–I feel better now.

5. Shoop Ba-Dooping. An essential part of doing something is knowing what it is you are doing. Even though Salt ‘n’ Pepa or TLC or one of those groups sang about it years ago, I still have no idea what it is. So I have not been spending my time away doing it. I have also not been chasing waterfalls.

Now that those rumors are out of the way, let me share with you the real reason for my absence.

I needed time.

Time to ponder.

Time to pray.

Time to listen closely to God.

Doing this led me to a difficult decision.

On July 24th I resigned as pastor of Stoney Point Baptist Church.

Following God isn’t always easy and this was certainly the case with my resignation. I did not make the decision lightly and I hope the best for the Stoney Point going forward. Please join me in praying for them.

I do not have a current place of service. But the place of service is not as important as who I am serving. The One who I am serving is the King of Kings.

I was privileged to preach at two different churches the Sunday after resigning and I am preaching during both services of another church this coming Sunday. After that it is wide open so far.

Please be praying for me and my family during this time of transition. Please be praying for open doors. Please be praying that God is glorified more and more.

To those who have expressed concern for me while I was away–Thank You!

And please–be praying.

What is one of the most difficult decisions you have ever made?


60 thoughts on “While I Was Away

  1. Will definitely be praying for you and your family. I believe God has great things ahead.

    Difficult decisions? Hmmm, I think I’m kind on in one now. Just searching for jobs and about possibly moving in the future. Still a bit premature, though.

    P.S. glad to have you back!

  2. Thanks for the update Matt. Been praying for you about this and other things. difficult? There are a few but putting them on social media is not the proper thing to do since they involve the church I pastor. 🙂

  3. Brother, it is good to hear you’re ok. About a week ago it hit me that I had not been seeing your posts. As a fellow pastor, I began to worry. Of course, why worry?

    I’ll be praying that God will make it very clear what your next step should be. If you are ever in Chattanooga, please look me up. If you come through on a Sunday, I’d even give you the pulpit for a service. Just give me at least an hour heads up so I can prepare.

    God bless.

  4. I will be praying for you, friend. I will pray that your steps are ordered. My most difficult decision was to divorce my first husband. I never thought in a million years that I would end up in a divorce. But after years of abuse and pain, I had to make a decision for the sake of my son. God was very good, and walked me through the valleys of consequence never leaving me alone. He isn’t a respecter of persons, I know He’ll do the same for you.

  5. Definitely good to see you back, Matt. We’re proud of you for following the Lord’s leading even in a tough decision.

    One of my toughest was similar to yours but in a secular context. I was put in a position of either committing long-term to a steady employment or continuing to pursue our own business (which wasn’t really generating anything), but not both. After a lot of prayer, I felt like the steady job was not the direction God had for me, so I put in my resignation. It wasn’t the obviously wise decision, leaving something for nothing. But it was the one that the Lord wanted me to make. And we’re called, as Charles Stanley likes to say, to “Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him.” Remember that, brother. And you know if you’re down in the neighborhood of Charlotte, NC to come by and say hello.

  6. I’m glad to hear you’re not touring with TLC, but instead getting down with JC (I promise I’ll stop now).

    I have made some pretty difficult decisions, one to move back to my hometown. I’m so glad I did that, in the end, but it was a tough one.

    • Thanks, man. Team Ricky for life. Sending a message from the dentist’s office shows your dedication to your team. That’s good leadership.
      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

  7. Thanks for sharing a bit of your continuing journey, Matt. I’ve prayed several time for you since our last conversation. I am quite confident, as I know you are, that God has much in store in His plan for the next steps. I pray you continue to remain sensitive to His leadership.

    I would say one of the most difficult decisions I have made over the years are the times I have come to realize God was moving me. There haven’t been a lot of those, but it can be a difficult transition…emotionally…leaving relationships, the adjustment to new places and situations. But God is always faithful!

    • Thank you for the encouragement and for lifting us up in prayer. Making moves in ministry is so difficult–but as you noted–God is faithful.
      Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

  8. I’ve been wondering where you were. Glad to hear you took some much needed time off. I will definitely be praying for this new season in your life. I know what it’s like to leave a church you’ve been a part of for years when God is prodding you on to something else (without really knowing what that something else is yet). I think that was my toughest decision as well.

    I know it may be a bit scary, but enjoy the transition of the seasons of life. It will definitely be a growing period.

  9. Glad you are back! Missed your wisdom and the chuckles you blessed me with. Difficult decision? It wasn’t the decision that was difficult but dealing with the consequences. THAT is difficult.

  10. Not my most difficult, but certainly a tough one, was shutting down the ministry of Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship at SLU. God had called me there two years earlier to start the ministry, and I was sure it would last until someone else took over. God called me in a different direction that required the ministry be shut down, so I did, although begrudgingly. Now, three years later, He has taken me further than I ever imagined possible!

  11. Good to have you back here Matt. I missed you. I’ve been praying for you and your family. God will do great things.

    Hardest decision? I stepped down from a co-pastor position at my church. The shoe didn’t fit. It was surely the right call. I’m still there helping and working for the Lord, but not with the title.

  12. Leaving a church I’d been committed to as a devoted volunteer for 12 years was the hardest decision my husband and I ever made. I can’t imagine how much harder it would be to do so as the pastor. We were gun-shy for a long time, jittery and unable to trust people in leadership as readily and easily as before the circumstances leading to our departure. A long, slow path…may yours be shorter, faster, and lead you to joy and greater confidence in our Savior than ever before.

  13. Glad you’re back, bro. Seriously glad you’re OK despite the challenge.

    My most difficult decision seems to have been following Christ. If I had known the path He would put in front of me, I probably wouldn’t have done it.

  14. Dude, you’ve been on my mind a lot since you’ve taken your break. Thanks for opening up and sharing with your community. I’m excited for this new season and what comes next. I’ll be praying for sure that God gives you clarity on the next steps.

    It’s great to have you back here. Looking forward to hearing about what God does!

  15. I’m in your corner.

    Praying your next step will be perfectly, absolutely congruent with the person God made you to be. So you will be fully alive, thriving in Him.

    Recently read Courage and Calling, by Smith. I read it once, then read it again taking notes. I learned a ton.

    10 tons.

  16. Been there and done that, Matt – not once but several times in our ministry lives. The last one was leaving a cushy staff position after being in a Mega church for 13 years. Leaving because it was the right thing to do for our marriage and life together – it was more important than the position – but we were broke and not knowing if we would make it. But we did – and we know it was God. Hang in there – you’re not alone – God will provide. Praying for you.

  17. As always, enjoyed your blog, especially the humor. I understand the serious parts, too, and know you will listen for His guidance day-to-day. Love you, Kristy, and the five little Cannon’s a big bunch!

  18. um…welp, as i myself have been out-of-the-loop and am *just* getting caught up today to my favorite blogs…i had no idea you had gone missing. oops.

    so, um…welcome back! 🙂

    second, THIS IS SO EXCITING! i love it when people of the (table)cloth make a move like this. so liberating! while i don’t know the reasons you left, i have no doubt you are following god the best way you know how. (btw, i don’t endorse or condone or believe it’s the right thing for pastors to, you know, up and quit…i’m endorsing the part about following god outside the gates if, in fact, you are following him.)

    CONGRATULATIONS, matt! i for one am proud of you. looking forward to hearing more about your journey.


  19. Matt, been praying for you. Know it’s not easy, but God will lead you where He wants you to be. First and foremost, of course, is under the shadow of His wings.

    Welcome back!

  20. Matt,

    I resigned from my church in June. The primary reason was in order to finish seminary. Like you, I am not serving anywhere right now and can completely relate to the frustration, wondering, and questioning of where and when the next step will be revealed.

    Until then, we can only trust bro.

    God bless

  21. We had a bit of a transitional month, as well. Another missions door was rather unjustly closed, and played a part in us leaving the church we had been at for 2 years. But we’ve joined a new one and are feeling really good about it.

    Glad you’re back.

  22. WOW! I did not expect to read that news at all. I quit my job in June for a few reasons but at the top of the list is that I was losing my sense of who I was. So now I’m writing and babysitting to pay the bills. I freak out when I think of the financial piece of this decision but then I calm down. It was absolutely the right and best decision for me- God has made it clear. I’ll be praying that all works out for you and that you have continued affirmation of your decision.

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