Monday, September 20, 2010

Parting Words

As most of you know, I am resigning from my position at BBC to take a position as the Student Ministries Director at Christ's Covenant Church in Winona Lake, IN. My last Sunday will be September 26.

Last Wednesday, I shared a lesson with the students that I thought I'd give the outline of here on the blog.

In Acts 20, Luke records the story of the apostle Paul leaving the church at Ephesus forever--and the conversation that he has with the Ephesian elders. It gives us unique perspective into how a church leader's leaving should look...You can read it for yourself in Acts 20:17-38.

In sharing this text with our students, my main point was: Relate well to a pastor when he leaves. And there are three ways that I suggested this could be done:

1. Look at his ministry and see the good in it. Paul was upholding the good parts of his ministry (tears, hard work, public and private teaching, confidence, etc.) as work that is to be respected and appreciated. I will not list what I believe to be the strengths of my ministry here on the blog, but I hope that everyone at BBC can look back and see the better aspects of my ministry over and above whatever my weaknesses there might have been (which I am humble enough to admit that there were probably several).

2. Try to understand where and why he is going. Paul shared his reasons for leaving (leading of the Spirit mainly) and his plans for the future. And he expected them to respect his obedience to the Lord in his decision. He obviously had a heart for these people--as evidenced by the tears shed when he left--so he wanted them to understand why he was leaving. The same is true of me. I love the people of BBC and hope that you can understand my reasons for moving on. If you ever have questions, please please contact me.

3. Listen to his parting advice. Paul had strong words of encouragement and challenge for the Ephesian elders. I don't have nearly as strong or profound words to share as Paul (and I can't predict the future like he was enabled to), but I hope that as we have conversations in these last days that we are able to really hear each other out. I will do my best to share my most sincere words of instruction and encouragement in these final days, and I hope that they are useful to the congregation.

I closed with the illustration of Johnny Damon--a guy who used to play for the Red Sox and then jumped ship to play for the arch-rival Yankees. People absolutely murdered him in the press and ridiculed him in the stands. I told the students that I have been grateful to have received the opposite since I resigned: love, respect, appreciation, etc. And I reminded them that I am not like Johnny Damon. I am not going to an opposing team. I will still be serving the same Savior and God that I have here at BBC. Each Sunday, I might be a state away and in a different building, but we will be serving the same Lord.

I have truly enjoyed these few years at BBC and will miss serving here. I will pray for the church as often as possible and hopefully be able to visit and stay in touch during the years to come.

Signing off this blog--perhaps to start another one in the future...

Follow hard after Christ everyone.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Is the Cross More About God or Us?

I ran across this quote from a book called Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris that I am reading. And I thought it might be thought-provoking for others to read too. Harris is describing a sermon he heard from John Piper at a conference in Texas as a young adult:

"I'd never heard anyone speak that way about Jesus's death on the cross. I had always heard it explained in terms of my great worth. I am so valuable that God would send Jesus to die. The question Piper closed his message with deeply challenged me. 'Do you love the Cross because it makes much of you?' he asked. 'Or do you love it because it enables you to enjoy an eternity of making much of God?'
"I left Austin with an unsettling thought that has never left me. If I love the Cross only for what it does for me, I will have reduced it to a monument to myself. But the greatest glory of the Cross is what it ells me about God. A God of justice and mercy. A God who loved helpless sinners like me so much that he came to die so we could be free to know and worship him for eternity. (48)"