Thursday, April 29, 2010
It is with great excitement and thankfulness that I have accepted a call to be the new Sr. Pastor of First Evangelical Free Church of Rockford IL (Chicago area). After months of seeking God's will, this past weekend brought with it great clarity as Judi and I visited with this wonderful church and went through the final stages of the search process. As I preached to the congregation, God's anointing was evident as was an immediate sense of connection and love between the congregation and ourselves. We plan on being fully moved and engaged with the church starting June 15. But along with the excitement comes the realization that we will be leaving so many friends at the Bridge and the home we've enjoyed for almost a decade. As with any great move, there will be tears, farewells, and appropriate grieving. I'm reminded of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 20:36, "When he had said this, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. 37They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. 38What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship." There are people in Atlanta that Judi, the kids, and I love as deeply as our own family. It's possible that we will never see some of them again. It's certain that we will not live next to them again. Such good-byes are, I'm convinced, a result of the fall. One day, in Heaven, we will never have to say farewell again. In some mysterious way, I'm positive we will be able to be with any of our loved ones in an instant. In the meantime, however, we struggle with the unsettled nature of this world. We've learned so much from the people of Sugarloaf, Stonemill, and the Bridge. God has taught us through high mountaintops and deep valleys, great accomplishments and youthful mistakes. We've literally grown up here as a ministry family. For this, I will forever be thankful. Atlanta, thanks for everything! God has used you greatly and fruit will be the result for His great glory. Blessings to you!