Friday, September 1, 2017


When my children were young I used to give them notice before a transition.  “We will be leaving in ten minutes, so be sure to say your goodbyes,” or “dinner will be ready in fifteen minutes so please start cleaning up.”  These warnings helped make those moments of change easier for them to accept and prepare for.  Almost a year ago, our church family was provided one of these warnings.  We all received THAT letter from Pastor Jim that warned us all he would be retiring.  Since I read THAT letter I have been trying to wrap my brain around the fact that this big change was coming.  I have yet to successfully do that, and now the time has arrived.  I simply cannot believe the year, that seemed like such a long time away, has just about come to completion, but indeed it has.

In the church office, some are handling things better than others.  There is no doubt that seeing Pastor Jim’s office become increasingly more scarce is difficult.  The knick-knacks he has acquired in 11 ½ years have slowly been making their way home.  The bobble head Jesus that has sat lovingly on his desk, is no longer in that pole position to greet us as we enter.  The large tuba that rested in the door way, has found its new home.  The changes are slight in some cases but still difficult to absorb.

When Pastor Jim graduated from seminary his sister calligraphically penned him a note, that was found in the office of an African pastor who had been martyred for his faith in Christ.  It has hung on his office wall ever since.
I'm a part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I'm a disciple of His and I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.
My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure. I'm done and finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living, and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be right, or first, or tops, or recognized, or praised, or rewarded. I live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by Holy Spirit power. 
My face is set. My gait is fast. My goal is heaven. My road may be narrow, my way rough, my companions few, but my guide is reliable and my mission is clear. 
I will not be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed.
I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice or hesitate in the presence of the adversary. I will not negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won't give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ.
I am a disciple of Jesus. I must give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes. And when He does come for His own, He'll have no problems recognizing me. My colors will be clear!

These beautiful words were titled “My Commitment As A Christian.”  Pastor Jim has kept his commitment.  He retires knowing his walk, his Christ guided journey, is not through, simply changing.  And now so must we.  As a church family we must embrace this change and look forward to it as Christ would want us to. 

“Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6  

God has promised.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:” Ecclesiastes 3:1  

We must look ahead with anticipation for the wonderful things God has planned for us.  Things change, people come and go, but our heavenly father is unchanging, and he has us wrapped safely in His loving arms.

My heart is a little heavy, and I can’t say that I am looking forward to walking into the church office on October second, but I can say I am looking forward to the future. God’s word is perfect.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.”  Philippians 4:6-8

Pastor Jim, we will miss you dearly, your absence (your short absence) will leave a void.  We look forward to the future when you can join us again.  But in your absence we will embrace God’s plan for our church, although your final service will have ended, we will go out and serve the Lord.  Thank you for leading us, according to His will, we love you.