This morning as I arrived a church I ran into a very dear friend that I used to see all the time but because of changes in our individual worship times we haven't seen each other as much. She seemed "shell shocked" so to say. She shared news that our pastor had just announced God calling him away from our church and back to the church he had come from 11 years ago. Over the past year God has been preparing our church for a transition. I look back over the last year on some difficult times that challenged & strengthened not only our church staff but our congregation. As I went into the church I could tell by the faces who had heard and who had not. It was hard to sit thru the sermon waiting for the shoe to drop. Knowing that I would eventually hear with my own ears the news that our Pastor would be leaving. What I wasn't expecting to hear was the challenge he offered up to us. A challenge to keep doing & being all that he had been guiding us to be in the last 11 years.
My family & I joined FBC in 2003 after an extremely difficult year - we'd lost 2 babies to miscarriage, our son's health was declining, job loss, church change, financial struggles and me a big mess. We walked into FBC hurt and bruised. The love of the people & staff at FBC allowed us the time to rest & heal. Time to seek God's plan in our lives without the pressure to serve or share before we were ready.
Today my husband shared that under the guidance of our pastor he has grown more spiritually than ever before in his life. You see our Pastor didn't just talk the talk but he lived out what he taught in every aspect of his life. Even today as he shared what has been a very difficult decision for him and his family he was thinking about us first. He had such an important last message to share with us. It was simply this, "Who are you following?" Do we go to church to hear Pastor Jeff deliver a great speech or do we go to church so that we can hear God speak to us thru those he brings to our church? If we are following the "Pastor" we will only hear a good speaker. But if we are following God we will hear the message of salvation. Not only is it necessary for us to follow God and his plan for our lives but it is critical. People we love will move and some will die before we feel they should. We have to place our hope in someone greater than the people on this earth. You see God will never move away or die on us. He is in it for eternity. He gave his only son to die for us on the cross, a brutal & painful death in order to be the sacrifice for us. Securing for us eternal life. By accepting Christ's sacrifice of dieing on the cross for our sins we are promised life for ever with God. My 6 year old asked me to day if "we will have eternal life forever." Accepting Christ guarantees us "Eternal life forever!"
So where do we all go from here? We keep putting one step in front of the other. We keep doing ministry, we keep meeting & praising & worshiping God, grateful for the leadership we have had under an amazingly gifted man. But remembering that we are ultimately where we are to worship God & share the good news of Jesus with all we come into contact with.