Here's our set from this past week: "God is Alive" [Steve Fee, Eddie Kirkland] "Our God" [Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin] "You Never Let Go" [Matt Redman, Beth Redman] "Lord of All" [Kristian Stanfill] "Beautiful" [Phil Wickham] Message [Pastor Jay] INV: "Never Be the Same" [original]
The band and team did a phenomenal job this past week in worship. My friend, Larry, filled in on guitar for my last week, and he did admirably. The rest of the band was right on as usual. It felt like a bit of a "best of" morning, where we pulled out some of our definitive songs over the past few years. "Our God" has become something of an anthem for our congregation. "You Never Let Go" describes my journey with Christ as well as any other song, especially at this point. "Lord of All" has become a summary statement for us as a congregation: "There is none so high and holy/ King of kings, the one and only/ You are adored, You are the Lord of all." We finished the worship set with "Beautiful," which I thought was particularly relevant given that it was my last day. The last verse looks to the day of consummation, when all believers will be gathered together as the glorious bride in the presence of Christ: "When we arrive at eternity's shore/ Where death is just a memory and tears are no more/ We'll enter in as the wedding bells ring/ Your bride will come together and we'll sing, 'You're beautiful.'" I thought it was fitting to end emphasizing that this is not really the end, but rather a parting of ways as we continue to expand the kingdom of God and to go where we are needed for God's purposes. We will all be together again soon, and we will be together forever in the presence of our only hope, Jesus Christ, and we will sing the song of the redeemed!
There aren't really words to describe all the feelings that went with this past weekend. It was my last Sunday leading for the 9:30 service for the church, and although it was a great day of worshiping together, it was also a very sad day in some ways. I feel that I have poured my life into that service, and it has come a long way in the 4 1/2 years that it has been in my charge. It is awesome to see what it is compared to what it was when I arrived here. I am so thankful for how the Spirit of God has transformed that service and has grown us together over these years. I am so thankful for the relationships that have made my experience here what it has been. To think that it was probably the last time I would be leading beside Pastor Jay and the other leaders of the church is difficult to imagine. It is hard to even envision worshiping with a different family of believers. It will be strange to be anywhere else.
I pray for God's richest blessings on the people of First Baptist Church at the Mall, and I leave with this note from Acts 20:32 (the context captures my heart as well): "And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified."
I love you, dear church.
In the Son,