Pastor's pen august 2021

To the Family of Scotsdale Baptist Church,

 

        


             Today, after 35 years of vocational ministry, I will preach my final sermon as the pastor of a church.  Today, I will approach the podium, kneel at the pulpit, and look at a group that has changed a lot over a nine year period.  Many of the people in the audience were here before Dwaina and I came to serve this church.  Yet there are many who have come to Scotsdale in the time of our tenure here.

             Today, I share my final words with you in writing and in speech.  What does an outgoing pastor say?  How do you adequately wrap up nine years of ministry?  I’m really not sure it can be done adequately.  It can be done, I’m just not so sure it can be adequately done!

             So to me, I would like to close my ministry here by simply saying, THANK YOU! When Dwaina and I began this ministry our commitment was to love our Lord, this congregation, and this community.  You gave us the opportunity to do that.  Our motto was, “Go long and finish strong.” Well, I did manage to stay long, but we did not finish strong, at least not in the way that I had envisioned it.

             Through all of the trials, tragedies, and triumphs many of you have remained faithful.  I believe you were faithful because of your love for this church.  I can think back to the many times that certain people ministered to Dwaina and me, and we are so grateful for that.  When Dwaina started her new business you celebrated with us.  When we became grandparents you celebrated with us.  When Dwaina’s dad and my mom passed away you expressed your condolences for us.  You became a part of our lives and walked the road with us for nine years.  THANK YOU for allowing us to be a part of your lives as well.

             One of my favorite prayers in the Bible is Paul’s prayer for the church in Ephesus – Ephesians 3:14-21.  Please accept this as my prayer for Scotsdale Baptist Church: For this reason I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.  I pray that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power in the inner man through His Spirit, and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith.  I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us — to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.  Amen.

 

Pastor's pen June 2021

What memories do you have of your Dad (or whatever you call him)?  For some people this day is not easy.  Perhaps your Dad was not a man that you would hold up as a model person.  Maybe you and your Dad had a strained relationship; or possibly, it is still strained.  It could be that your Dad has made some life choices that has left a sour taste in your mouth.  Or yet another possibility is that your Dad has already passed away.  Some of you are Dads who have lost a child, making this a difficult day.  One more reason that this day is difficult for some is because, although they would love to be a Dad, this dream is elusive because of infertility.

           

I realize that this day can be a difficult day, and I want to be sensitive about that.  I am humbly grateful that my Dad was one of the finest men I have ever known.  Although I was just a young man of thirty when my Dad died of colon cancer, I have some very fond memories of him.  Here are a few I would like to share with you with the hopes that this man, through his deeds, will somehow inspire you:

  •         He attended church with the family
  •         He led us in family devotionals – not on a consistent basis, but he tried
  •         He read and studied the Bible for himself
  •         He served as a Deacon for many years
  •         He was a friend to pastors!
  •         He was a professional educator (teacher, coach, administrator) who lived out his Christian values at work
  •         He was a Gideon (an organization that distributes Bibles)
  •         He was FUN!  Dad loved to laugh, and many of his antics made his family laugh with him
  •         He taught me how to golf, fish, throw, catch, mow the lawn, clean the garage, and respect women
  •         He loved our mother, and he made sure we knew it
  •         He loved us kids, and he made sure we knew it
  •         He was an encourager and a supporter in whatever us kids were doing
  •         He loved his in-law kids as well.  It was my Dad who suggested that I ask Dwaina out.  That man had GOOD TASTE!
  •         He was faithful to his Lord to the end.  From his bed-ridden state he called us to prayer

 

As I am typing these words I have a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye.  My Dad was my hero, and he remains one of my heroes to this day.  He was the type of man that I aspire to be.  He and my father-in-law are two reasons that Father’s Day is a happy occasion for me.

 

Happy Father’s Day to all of you Dads out there.  May our Heavenly Father bless you with a wonderful day.