Summary: This is the first of a series of two sermons addressing a change in the circumstances, but not in the vision or goals, of a church body. It was prompted by a pastor transitioning out of the church.
There are a couple people who are missing here today, and their absence is notable....Rick and Patti Snodgrass. They are unloading today in Idaho.
Even though we said goodbye to them, it will be today and in the next couple weeks that we feel the greatest loss. I am going to be missing them right along with you.
My heart for us is to get everything out of this transition that we possibly can. Months from now I hope we’ll be able to say, "I remember when Rick left. Through that experience God did some amazing things in my life and in the life of this church."
Some of us are going to have to do the hard work of letting go of a pastor who is dearly loved, and learning to love another one. Some of us are going to cry some tears. I want those tears to have a payoff. We are paying full price. Don’t we want to get everything we can from it? This is why I want to enroll us all in Change U
Transitions become much more powerful when we become educated about the change process. [Story of daughter calling home from college crying.] It would be a misunderstanding to say, "Oh, if you’re feeling badly, why don’t you just come home." There’s not way around it, you have to go through it. There’s nothing permanent except change.
When I went to college, a world died. It needed to die.
I heard about a family whose daughter went to summer camp. The mom was so distraught she slept in her daughter’s bedroom. The girl is in high school.
Those who have been through the change process have wisdom to share. I’d like to listen to one such person today. If you brought your Bible with you, I’d like for you to turn with me to Philippians 3:7-16, where Paul writes:
Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ --the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
Paul indicates a time of transition here:
In which he is looking back, and looking forward