I've been in Philly since Monday afternoon. I attended an elder's meeting last evening and was encouraged by what I observed. Specifically, I appreciated the heart-felt prayers that were offered up for the people of COS. These are men who care about the people they are charged to shepherd. I am looking forward to the opportunity of partnering with these men in the glad labor of feeding, caring for, and equipping God's people for the work of ministry.
This morning I was encouraged yet again by the staff meeting. Kerry J. does an outstanding job of leading those faithful men and women. There was a healthy mix of prayer, theological reflection, and strategic thinking. For lunch I was blessed to hang out with Kerry J. and Jason G. These are great brothers! They love the church and the cause of church planting. I am looking forward to attending the Vine my first few weeks in town. I am especially anxious to spend time with those of you who attend the Vine and hearing your own thoughts and dreams for that important ministry.
If you are a member or regular attender of COS I hope that will pray for and encourage the elders and staff persons who count it a joy to partner with you in the work of the Gospel.
I am a bit preoccupied with the fact that this coming Sunday will be my last as pastor of Metro East. I try not to think about it too much but so far I haven't been very successful. The thought of my last sermon to my beloved MEBC family makes me very sad. The only way I know how to describe it is that it feels a bit like someone is peeling a piece of flesh from my side.
I am also thinking a lot about John, Doug, Matt, James, and Jason. It has been such a blessing to serve with friends. These are men that I trust. They have some very challenging waters to navigate in the days ahead. I trust the people of Metro East will love and encourage them as they have so faithfully done for me.
If you are a member of Metro East please be praying for the men who are responsible to lead you. Encourage them and let them lead. They are bearing a great weight. Keep the cross before you by determining to serve, love, and practice mercy. You have a wonderful opportunity to be a blessing to our Lord's under shepherds. Metro East can and should thrive in these days. While this depends entirely upon God's grace please keep in mind that God uses means. It is a blessed thing to a means of God's grace.