So Long Farewell
Contributed by Davon Huss on Oct 16, 2016 (message contributor)
Summary: A final sermon after a fruitful ministry
Funny things at Pleasant Ridge
I remember asking Steve and Ginger Bailey to get me a crown for a children’s minute from Burger King. They said they would handle it. Right before the sermon, they gave me the package and instead of a Burger King crown, it was a tiarra.
I remember having a children’s minute with a young boy. I asked, “What does God really want from us?” The boy said, “He wants our money.”
Crystal and I enjoyed doing Uncle Lewis and Aunt Bethany for the plays.
“So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 8:15, NIV. New Living Translation says it like this, “So I recommend having fun”
Reminiscing is a good thing to do. Longest ministry is here.
Food, fun and fellowship is good. Want to talk about somethings that are deeper than this about Pleasant Ridge. They all focus on words that begin with the letter “F.” Already talked about fun.
Thesis: Foundation, Family, Finances and Future
I remember growing up as a boy at Coburn Corners Church of Christ near St. Joe, IN. I remember going to Sunday school and learning about the basics of the Bible. Once a year, when everyone was to move to the next class, we would get up and quote some Scripture or reenact a Bible story or sing a song. My family was always there Sunday morning and Sunday evening. Coburn Corners had a big thing on Wednesday nights called “JAM”, Jesus and me. We would have a lesson and then do fun things as a group kind of like our youth group/ family ministry. We were always involved in VBS. Got a good foundation in the Bible from Coburn Corners.
This church is much the same way. Take children to Sunday school and I know they are being taught the Bible. If take children to morning and evening worship and then to youth group/ family ministry they will get a good foundation. Add on Wednesday nights and the foundation just grows stronger and deeper. All for fun but the world offers fun and we cannot compete with that. Need to make the teaching enjoyable and fun but need to emphasize the importance of the Scriptures and Christ. Even though I did not make my decision to follow Jesus into the watery grave of baptism until we moved away, the foundation was there. Where did I learn the importance of baptism, from Coburn Corners. “the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.” 1 Timothy 3:15, NIV.
Something I think I could have emphasized more is having devotions together as a family. I often open up the Bible at our home and this is where the best teaching is done. “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” 2 Timothy 1:5, NIV.
This church is blessed to have families. Some complain about the church that it is just a big family reunion. What is so bad about that! Here we have grandchildren worshipping the Lord with their grandparents. Here we have nieces and nephews worshipping the Lord with their aunts and uncles. Children worshipping with parents. Isn’t this the way it is supposed to be!
When we have guests come, they always comment that we have a lot of children. Some might comment that this is difficult, having so many really young children in the main worship. However, this is a good thing. I think the family integrated idea for worship is wonderful. Need to find ways to worship together instead of apart. I am thankful that my children have been here to hear my preaching. In other churches, the preacher’s children rarely hear their father preach because they are off in children’s church. How sad! Many of my sermons have been directed to my children. “So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family.” Ephesians 2:19, NLT.
I think the family integrated needs to continue for worship. Now, as far as other programs like VBS or camp or youth group/ family ministry that go against the family integrated model, I think that is okay. I wish we had more fun times together as a church. I am thankful for the times that we did have together. I am concerned about the youth group/ family ministry. While I was here I preached 3 times a week (2 times during the summer), and then visited the sick and followed up with the guests, and then devoted some time to the youth group. The youth group was not going well. Thankful for those who stepped up and things went so much better. However, think about what could be done with this ministry? I remember when I moved to Indianapolis we had Bible bowl tournaments, we had short term missions trips, we had fun trips here and there. Remember all of that with fondness. The preacher cannot oversee all of this and do it all well. Maybe need to rethink the youth group.