September 18, 2019
Jude 1:24-25 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
Today marks the end of a journey for Michelle and I. This afternoon we will begin a new chapter in our lives, as will you as a church. In this moment my mind is swirling with so many memories from the last nine years of ministry here at PCC. I want to make this moment to thank you for being a part of our lives. We have learned so much from so many of you. Your courage through the struggles you faced have been a source of encouragement for us. We have been blessed to watch how God has grown so many of you in the Lord over these years. In our conversations and from your questions you have encouraged me to be a better person, better pastor, and have even forced me to consider what I believe so that I can communicate that in a better way.
As we leave, today, we leave with a part of all of you in our hearts. Through these almost nine years we have laughed together. We have cried together. We have just sat and rested in the silence of the moment. Sometimes this happened at McDonalds. Sometimes it was in the ER. Sometimes it was in your homes. Sometimes it was by your bed or the bed of your loved. We were together as some of you were in the hospital recovering from surgery or dealing with the pain of a disease that was controlling your body or the body of your loved you. With many of you we have shared our lives and you have shared some of your deep hurts. Someone asked me the other day if I would continue to keep all of their secrets secret. Please know that is the truth as I leave today I carry with me your stories, your pain, your joy, and so much more. I trust that in these nine years we have made some difference in your life.We may part ways today and go our separate ways, but as believers in Christ we know we will meet again.
I could spend so much time on these things but I want to share some encouragement and turn our attention toward God and not myself. As I preparing for this, I wanted to share some things that would encourage you and leave you focused on the greatness of God and not on Bob Odom. The first thing I want you know is that God has a plan. We have talked about this often over the last few weeks but I wanted to reinforce this again today. Just because we do not understand the plan does not diminish the work of the Lord. In a particular segment of time we often do not always understand God’s will, but as we are obedient to His will and we align ourselves with His purposes, God’s blessings flows from us to those around us and we begin to see more clearly what God’s will is for us.
How do I know that God has plan? It is because the idea of transition is nothing new. Throughout Scripture there have been those who have transitioned and given their leadership over to another. We see this with Moses. We see this with Elijah. We see it with David. Transitions have occurred before and God uses them to bring us to the next place in our lives. Since this is not anything new, what is happening today is not the end of the world because God has a plan for you which means there are better days ahead for you. God has the new pastor already picked out and he will be the perfect pastor for this church.
We have talked about this before, but remember that Moses led the Children of Israel in the wilderness but he was not allowed to enter into the promise land. God’s plan was to prepare Israel for the Promised Land and God used Moses to get the people to the place where they were ready to enter what had been promised to them. You see during the wilderness journey, they needed to have a change of heart and during this journey they were able to see this happen. While they had been delivered out of Egypt, they still needed to be emptied of the ways of Egypt in their heart. God did that through the 40 days in the wilderness. They were now prepared to enter the promise. But Moses would not lead them. Joshua was to do that and we find in the Book of Joshua that under his leadership they conquered and took the land on behalf of God. I pray that under the leadership of the new pastor that you will do just that.
When it was time for Elijah to pass from this life to the next Elisha asked that he be given a double portion of what Elijah had. Elijah’s response was if you are with me when I exit this world, I will give you my mantle and will pass along the anointing that has been with me. As we read the story, we find that as Elijah was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind, the mantle of Elijah fell upon Elisha. And as we follow the story, we find that Elisha did do twice as many miracles as Elijah. May this church flourish and grow in the days ahead and do so much more than ever imagined!
David handed the leadership of the kingdom to Solomon. David’s greatest desire was to see the temple built but that did no happen under David’s reign, it was built under Solomon’s. It was under Solomons’ reign that the Shekeinah glory filled the temple and the worshippers could not stand in the presence of God.
Please know that I do not by any means compare myself to any these as they are so much greater than I am or could be, but this I pray, may God use this transition to bring greater things to this church. The new leader will come with fresh vision and a new sense of God’s will. He will love you and will be the catalyst for a new day for PCC and this community. I so look forward to hearing the reports of all that God is doing and how His will is being accomplished.
With that said let me share a couple of things with you. First, know that we will be praying for you. We have already been praying for you and we will continue to pray for you. We will be praying for the growth of the body. We will be praying for greater things to come. We will be praying for God to do a new and exciting work in you and through you. My prayer is that He fill you with His grace and power. While we will be praying for you, I ask that you pray for us as we continue to seek God’s will and purpose in our life. There is power in prayer and by praying we are focused on the things of God. Prayer is the thing that will focus us on what God wants of us and how He wants us to live. So, pray for us and we will certainly be praying for you.
Secondly, the best days for PCC are still ahead. God will build on the past and I am sure that the future will look differently than anything we can picture now. God will bring you the right person at the right time so that God’s name is glorified and honored. After all this is God’s church. It has been God’s church and it continues to be God’s church. I so love the passage in Matthew that says that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church.
Third, continue to grow in Christ. Seek after God. Seek His will and His purposes so that you are enlarged in your spiritual experience. Draw closer to God. In this regard, I am like Paul, in the New Testament. I would count it a privilege to know and hear of your growth in Christ. Be passionate followers of Christ. Show the love of Christ to all you encounter. Dig into the word of God and make it your own so that you can share your life from the depths of what God has done in you. If I have made a difference in your life, it has been not because I am perfect or that I know it all, but that I have tried my best to be an example of Christ in all I do. I have tried to model for you what a true believer in Christ looks like so that what you see is Him and not me.
Four, continue to grow in your relationship with one another. Grow in Christ, yes, but grow in your relationship with one another also. Continue to gather for fellowship. Continue to meet in the small groups. This church has so much to offer: Tuesday Men’s Group, Ladies Tuesday Study, BSF on Thursday, and the Ladies Thursday group. Continue to give and continue to be a part of Sunday Morning services.
Fifth, when God brings you a new pastor love him and support him. Invite him to dinner or lunch. As you did nine years ago, when we arrived, show up and help him move. Pray for him and love him. As has been stated, previously, he will not be like me and that is a good thing. He will come with his experiences, his talents, his abilities, and his personality. He will come with his particular vision for ministry and he will have his own way of doing things but I know that he will lead you to a new day and a new vision.
So as I close, may God bless you and keep you. We love you and we are grateful for your love for us and all that means. I am grateful for these nine years of ministry here and I am grateful for each of you and the blessing you have been to us. I close with the passage I began with. Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
Let us pray.
For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/messages.
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