As I am about to embark on a seven week sabbatical, I give you some of Paul’s final words to Timothy as my final words.
You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me….the Lord rescued me from all of them…
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:10-11;14-17.
Like Timothy to Paul, by now after 8+ years, you know me. Warts and all. I have tried to be as open and as honest with you as I can possibly be. Hopefully through personal observation in meetings, my preaching and in casual settings you know me. You should also know that like the Apostle Paul, the Lord has rescued me from all of my trials—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. As I leave on this sabbatical, please also know that I am not leaving “burnt out” or “exploring my options.” I am committed to returning for what I hope and expect to be the most exciting years of ministry any of us have ever experienced.
To quote the Apostle Paul from the above passage, “As for you continue in what you have learned…” Moving forward, we must keep our eyes on Jesus. A biblical and holy, Jesus-focused, mission-engaged church is what our world desperately needs. The enemy will attack (has been attacking) and it is Jesus-mission critical that our leaders and people stay focused. That is true whether I am on sabbatical or not. We need you “equipped for every good work” as we move into our God-ordained future.
You are in good hands (I’m not talking about Pastor Tyler and Pastor Jon, although they will lead well I have no doubt). God Almighty has been leading this place for 101 years—long before any of us were here, and God Almighty will be leading long after we are gone. It’s God’s church not ours. I’m convinced that God has brought us all here for such a time as this to see His Kingdom come and His will done in Flint as it is in heaven.
The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you all. 2 Timothy 4:22