I hate good-byes. I’m the guy sitting in the car waiting for Sheri to say her good-byes. The definition of good-bye is “an act of parting or leave-taking.”
So this blog is one of my good-byes… a leave-taking. It’s difficult because I’m one who likes to be in control of his emotions – and when I say good-byes to you (like our last communion service on September 6) my emotions are akin to what a 7-year old girl might experience, I’m kind of a mess on the inside.
So here goes…
• Good-bye to amazing worship services at Hope where the Spirit moves in profound ways and lives are transformed.
• Good-bye to services of baptisms (311 people baptized in my 15 years as your pastor) where tears and cheers explode in the moment.
• Good-bye to Easters at Tumbleweed, the first one in 2008.
• Good-bye to staff members that I have served with, mentored and loved.
• Good-bye to the “strip mall” where a modest group of disciples made a commitment to as a church that “loves like Jesus.”
• Good-bye to welcoming new members (500 over the 15 years) and Pizza with the Pastors.
• Good-bye to watching the Spirit move in the transformation of lives on Sunday mornings when people say “YES” to Jesus.
• Good-bye to dedicating babies (93 over the years) and lifting them up to the Lord by saying, “Behold, what manner of love the Father has given us, that we should be called the children of God!” (I John 3:1)
• Good-bye to weddings (82 over 15 years) and saying “good-bye” at memorial services and funerals (56).
• Good-bye to late night Elder meetings and passionate prayer meetings.
• Good-bye to all church pool parties and “Jazz & Chocolate.”
• Good-bye to staff meetings and staff adventures with amazing staff members over the years (Brad Kindall, Ryan Lunceford, Brian Pollard, Patty Carrol, Sharon Lacey, Chris White, David Hillis, Thu Tran, Mikey Dascoli, Julie Bogle, Brandon Hovey, Corrie Gustafson, Scott Tonkinson, Timm Jackson, Anthony Espindola, Barb Ellis, and Ryan Starr).
• Good-bye to Harvest Carnivals, Thanksgiving Eve Services, "Be the Church Days", and Good Friday “Services of Darkness.”
• Good-bye to amazing Christmas Eve Services where countless worshippers “Come Home to Hope and Come Home to Jesus.”
• Good-bye to annual meetings, annual reports, and budget balancing.
• Good-bye to my office, the memorial garden, and the sign that says, “NO PERFECT PEOPLE ALLOWED.”
• Good-bye to Richelle and all the other amazing church secretaries who have served Hope tirelessly.
• Most of all, good-bye to you. I have preached to you, taught you, learned from you, cried with you, laughed with you, confessed to you, prayed with you, counseled you, confronted you, planned with you, led with you, worked with you… and loved you. That’s what I’ll miss the most. But I won’t stop loving you. I may not see you as often, but I will never stop loving you, thinking of you and remembering you.
“Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit. Some travelling teachers recently returned and made me very happy by telling me about your faithfulness and that you are living according to the truth. I could have no greater joy than to hear my children are following the truth.” - III John 2-4
Don’t forget these words.
I love you and I will never forget you.
With a full heart,