george hancock stefanA number of months ago, I was on the West Coast with my sisters. One of them attended the Franklin Graham Decision America event in Seattle. She mentioned that it has been a fantastic gathering and that I should do my best to attend when it was in my state. I promised her that I would try and I placed it on my school calendar.

In my Wednesday morning Bible study, a participant told me that a whole bus of people from Ocean Grove would be going to the New Jersey Decision America Rally. They organized the event during the summer and they were all looking forward to going together to pray with thousands of other believers in NJ.

Although I was scheduled to teach in Philadelphia that day, I said that I would try to attend. It would be an extra three hours in my schedule: one for the event and two for the round trip. I left immediately after my Bible study to attend a campus meeting at 10:00 a.m. When I looked at my school calendar, I saw that I had already made another appointment for a 1:00 p.m. meeting. After the meeting, I had a three-hour class to teach, so I did not make it to Trenton for the event. I was disappointed that I could not attend the event, since I really appreciate the ministry of Franklin Graham.

I find that there are so many wonderful things that I want to do, but they get bumped by other people and things. The day has only so many hours after sleep and other obligations that need to happen. I can get only so many absences from the pulpit, only so many absences from the classroom, so many cancellations of appointments when I double-book myself. On the one hand, I completely believe that we should keep our word once we promise to do something. Thus I rarely schedule any non-church events on Sunday, because I am committed to doing the work of the church. Currently, on Thursday I teach three classes. Each one lasts for three hours and by the end of the day I am exhausted. I am committed on that day to my university and to my students. At the same time, there are very special occasions in which the church and the university will release me from my obligations because the special occasion supersedes what I usually do.

When I consider bumping things from my schedule, I know that I want to spend my time wisely. I want to use my time in the best way doing the things that I am well-qualified to do.  I want to be involved in being enriched so that I can enrich the lives of others on a local, national and international level.


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It would have been great to be in Trenton for the event, but I would have been one of thousands. In my schedule, my colleagues and my students depended on me and, for them, I was the only one. I am so thankful that not everyone was in my predicament and there were more than 2,500 people at the Trenton meeting praying for our nation and our upcoming election.

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Rev. Dr. George Hancock-Stefan

George Hancock-Stefan

Pastor George Hancock-Stefan completed 30 years as the pastor of the great congregation at Central Baptist Church in Atlantic Highlands in 2020. Those 30 years have been a blessed time for him, his wife...