From the Pastor’s Desk
“Finally, brothers and sisters, we(I) ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus that, as you learned from us how you ought to live and to please God (as, in fact, you are doing), you should do so more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:1–2
From The Pastor’s Desk:
Grace and Peace to You my Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
It seems like just yesterday that I arrived here to serve the Beaver Falls Charge: Central/Riverview Churches. I came to these churches with a greater sense of God’s calling than experience. I am happy to report that both of those things have grown and matured during our ministry together.
The most important thing I continue to learn is that loving others is both our greatest joy and our greatest challenge. It is our calling from Christ-no matter what the cost. It is a calling that does not know the boundaries of ease or convenience. It is a calling that challenges our comfort zones. It is a calling that requires our utmost patience and care. Above all, the call to love one another is one which requires deliberate choosing, every day, to love- whether we feel like it or not.
So there it is. I love you all. I choose to love you whether you want me to or not. There is nothing you can do about it. That’s exactly what God’s love for us is like. God chooses to love us, like it or not, no matter what-over and over again.
My hope and prayer is that this time we have spent together, though short, has brought you closer to that kind of crazy love in your relationship with Christ, with each other and in service to your neighbors. If there was any agenda in my being sent to serve here, that is it and it belongs to Christ. That you might in some way, large or small, know Christ, know who you are in Christ and live as the beloved child God has called you to be.
I have hoped and prayed that in some way God might use me to help you understand God’s steadfast and unchanging pattern of loving us in the context of the whole story of God as contained within the Old and New Testaments and to realize that the Church exists for two purposes: to worship and to be servants of God’s mission, i.e. opening wide God’s Kingdom, including and inviting all people everywhere into God’s heart.
I don’t know if that has happened for you and I may never know. But to know whether we make a difference is not part of God’s promise for those who follow God. Our task, with God’s help, is to simply faithfully scatter the seed that God has so graciously provided. Our journey together has been full of peaks and valleys, but always Christ leads and the Holy Spirit sustains us. That is the promise of God fulfilled.
We have done some awesome ministry together in this short amount of time and writing this parting letter is difficult. It is easier, in these times, for me to imagine how the Apostle Paul must have felt as he left each community he served to move on to the next community in need. I think his words sum up my love, hopes and prayers for you as you move forward together in Christ. I pray and trust you will greet your new Pastors, leaders and their families with the same warmth and hospitality you have extended to my family and me. God is sending them, as God has sent and is sending me-to lead you ever closer to God’s heart and to greater depths of love, service and witness to others. Thank you for your service and your love.
And so I leave you with these parting words…
” Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for us(me), so that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified everywhere, just as it is among you…4 And we(I) have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will go on doing the things that we command. 5 May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:1, 4-5