I want to thank all of you for the many ways you allowed me to be your pastor. Many of you have been great encouragers to me and to our family, and for you I will always be grateful. As the years go by I will look back fondly on our time together; I trust the same will be true for you.
In looking back at the previous pastors who have served here, I wonder about the experi-ence of those pastors of who preceded me. I wonder about the people they served? What did their passion for Jesus Christ look like? In the seven years of service to God here, I’ve watched children grow up. I’ve baptized, performed marriages, and funerals. I’ve visited hospitals and shut-ins. Together, we realized a few dreams, lived through a few trials, and persevered.
While I am leaving you, there is one who remains constant: Jesus Christ. Jesus has been here from the beginning, and will be with you for the rest of time. If through the power of the Holy Spirit you allow Jesus to guide (you) the Park UP congregation will always SOAR. It may not look like the church we have today. There may be difficult decisions which need to be made. But a passion for our Lord and Savior will see you through all your future trials. This passion guided the earlier congregations here, a passion which allowed them to navigate their own trials. They managed and flourished; so can you.
The biblical record is full of stories about people who faced harder trials than this. A few times the people of Israel were exiled from their land; and every time they returned. When Elijah was on the run from King Ahab and Queen Jezebel he prayed, “I’ve been very passionate for the LORD God of heavenly forces because the Israelites have abandoned your covenant. They have torn down your altars, and they have murdered your prophets with the sword. I’m the only one left, and now they want to take my life too.”
The LORD heard Elijah’s prayer and encouraged him with these words: “I have preserved those who remain in Israel, totaling seven thousand–all those whose knees haven’t bowed down to Baal and whose mouths haven’t kissed him.” When Elijah had done the math it looked to him like it was all over. God’s math was different from Elijah’s. God made a way where there was no way, and God will do it again for people who have faith.
Take your God given passion, pray for God to guide this church by the power of the Holy Spirit and see how His math may multiply His people here. Continue to Seek God, Observe what He is doing, Ask how you might join Him in His work, and Respond immediately when He answers. This church in Zelienople has so much SOARing left to do.
Grace and Peace