How do you say goodbye?  I sure haven't figured it out yet.  I know that for funerals, saying goodbye to a friend or loved one is the hardest thing we ever do.  When God picks you out of a church setting where you have become part of a community, part of the daily lives of 200+ people, well... all I know is that you can't refuse God.  Jonah tried that once... thank you Jonah for the life lesson.
     After eight years, I have made a few friends, discipled about a dozen of you, and believe it or not I even challenged some of you to stretch/grow in your faith.  I pray that the toes that I stepped on were few... my intentions were always intended for the best.  I remember that Jesus irritated some to the point where they beat him and hung him on a cross... He's my boss by the way.
     Anyway, after having preached more sermons than I can count (almost 1500), I trust that the Lord was glorified in that you did not necessarily remember any of them, but that they inspired you and made you feel good about your relationship with God... and that through it all you drew a little closer to him.  After all, it is all about Him.  Messengers like myself come and go... only God is around forever.
     I want to thank everyone for the great memories and mentoring you passed on to me.  God has taught me a lot through each and every one of you.  I will miss the Ice Cream Socials and Vacation Bible School the most, and other activities where kids were involved.  The kids always make our routines more fun.  Remember the words of Jesus, "Unless you become like one of these, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven."  As your relationship with Jesus continues to grow, remember to be more trusting of Him.
     Until we meet again, may God hold you safely in the palm of His hand.
Blessings,
Pastor John