In January 2022, I received a copy of a friend’s last email to the church he pastored. That pastor — Pete Blundell — had some great things to say to his church as he finished his ministry there. I liked his email so much that I sent it out to Liberty Grace Church at that time.
I never could have guessed that, twenty months later, I would be sending my (almost) last email to the church, and that Pete would be on his way to Liberty Grace to serve as interim preacher.
Now I get to follow his example and leave you with some last words.
First, thank you. Thank you for the incredible privilege of serving as your pastor. It has been the privilege of my life, and I am so, so thankful.
Second, never forget the central news we proclaim: that God is full of grace for us despite our sin. You are made in God’s image. God cares for humanity so much that he sent Jesus to die in our place and rise again so that we could be forgiven, changed, and made his. No sin is too big. No one is too needy. If you have not yet turned to Jesus and trusted him, please don’t waste another minute. If you have trusted Jesus, you are in him. You could not be more loved. Live the rest of your life out of who you are in Jesus. Really enjoy his love.
Third, take Jesus seriously. You will never regret reading the Bible, talking to God about what’s going on in your life, and prioritizing showing up at church. It’s what every growing believer does. Trust God that as you pursue Jesus by doing these simple things over a lifetime, he will change you, and you will be a blessing to others.
Fourth, I hope you know this: Liberty Grace is kind of special. Protect that. A lot of things will change at Liberty Grace, as they should. But some things should never change. Keep Jesus at the core of everything we do. Ask God to give you and the church hunger for his word. Throw out the welcome mat for everyone who walks in the door. Continue to make the church a safe place for people to ask questions, share their struggles, and learn about Jesus. Demand that your leaders are focused on and committed to Jesus and his word. Become a member if you haven’t. And pray. Pray that God will do what only he can do in our community and in our church.
And give. Give not because the church needs money, although it does. Give because God is worthy of everything that we have. Invest in what God is up to in Liberty Grace Church and beyond. You will not only help the church survive in a hard place, but you will be making a difference for eternity.
Fifth, remember that God can use you. Most of us feel inadequate. That’s good, because we are. No exceptions. But those are exactly the people that God loves to use, because there is no other kind. Believe that God can use you. Be bold in serving him and loving others, and showing and telling the love of Jesus. We believe in the Holy Spirit, and he helps people like us.
Finally, be grateful. What a ride. Life is hard, but God has given us so much, including the privilege of being part of his church. I am beyond grateful for the privilege of being part of Liberty Grace Church, and I hope I don’t get over this — or any other of God’s blessings — any time soon.
On Sunday, we’re celebrating our tenth anniversary at 4 p.m. We’re also baptizing people! We’ll be looking at Luke 19:11-27. It’s going to be quite the service.
And the next day, we begin the next ten years with just as much joy and focus on Jesus as we can muster. What a privilege. Thank you, Lord. And thank you, Liberty Grace Church, for being so good to me for these past ten years.