Good-bye Pastor Rick and Kay

I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 1 Corinthians 1:4 NIV

We have known for a year since Pastor Rick first announced his coming retirement, that this day was coming, yet on receiving the official announcement, I was still overwhelmed. No, Rick and Kay have not been perfect people, nor is Saddleback a church without fault, yet the impact they have made together has been tremendous. But rather than revisit old arguments back and forth over their Purpose Driven model; today might be a day of to put that aside and be thankful for the good they have done, the sacrifices made and the many who have come to know Jesus because of them.

I remember first opening a shiny new copy of the Purpose Driven Church back in 1995-96. Its concepts were simple, challenging and gave hope for reaching our communities for Christ. Too long we had either met between four walls, with minimal positive outreach, or gathered for stadium events, which though outwardly successful, seemed to have little impact in our own local churches. Sure, there are lots of things I wish were different with our own church which seems to follow closely their model, but we are at least in some areas truly growing, baptizing new believers and trying new things every year to serve our community.

But church politics aside, let’s pause and be thankful for Rick and Kay. Let’s pray for God to continue to keep them in His hands and bless them as a family that has been through much together in the service of Jesus. More than this, let’s realize that as Rick said of their replacements, “… God has prepared and chosen them to take up the baton and run the next leg of the Saddleback marathon.” God has also prepared and chosen each of us to either be passing or taking up the baton where we live (I’m in the passing generation). I learned from the track team on which I once ran, that winning the relay race was more than just running fast. Our team won first place in the state in 1965, not just because our guys were the quickest, but because every one of them passed the baton flawlessly on to the guy running the next leg of the race. The key was that the approaching runner could not slow down even a quarter second. He had to keep up the same pace as he stretched out his arm with the baton. The receiving runner could not just stand there waiting. He had to start running beforehand and then match his pace with the one behind him till they were almost side by side, then, with a seemingly effortless move he grasped on to the baton and took off alone to run his leg of the race. So, don’t slow down, if you are the one giving it your all to pass on the gift that God has given you. Run with all that is in you- not to – but through, the finish of your lap. For you who are waiting for the baton to reach you. Don’t just stand around waiting for it to be handed to you on a silver platter. Get going! Start running your best, till you match the pace of the one who is handing on to you what God has chosen for you to receive. We are all on the same team – Team Jesus! And when we finish our course, there is a victor’s crown that waits, which we will one day cast at the feet of Jesus – who loved us and gave His life so that we could run the race!

You can read my post from a year ago here

Thanks for your prayers

Dear friends I want to thank everyone so much for their prayers and encouragement as we have been working towards the reopening of nursing home ministry here in Florida. Wow God has really been opening doors especially for the holidays. We have now a monthly outdoor meeting, though only with those in independent living apartments. But we also have Christmas caroling for two facilities approved for those on the inside! In addition I was able to finish writing a 30 day Large print Christmas devotional and our small group took an offering to purchase 35 to give out. This Saturday we’ll be giving away the first half of those at Sunshine Christian Village and the rest next week t a different facility.

Most encouraging  to me personally, is the many people including some of the residents who are joining together with us to make this possible. I have seen over and over again how God is at work even when things frustrating and hopeless. Please don’t stop praying because at this point I have no idea how long the doors will remain open. That is why we must give our best doing what we can in the here and now. We should never reserve our forces for doing what’s perfect tomorrow when God has given us today to do what is possible.


Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and you will see.”  John 1:38-39a

RSVP comes from the French phrase; “Répondez, S’il Vous Plaît” It is great a way of organizing an elaborate event so that the host knows how many people to prepare for. Now we have always loved parties but since we aren’t used to formalities we hadn’t considered using such a system for the special event we held for a few friends and family. We had reserved a room at a restaurant and invited a specific list of people. But the day of our event came and we were sad to see that some guests who we had counted on seeing had to work late and then embarrassingly some who we had forgotten to invite showed up! But when God plans a party He is way more organized than we were. His event in heaven is for everyone but when we receive our invitation we will find that inside the envelope Jesus has included a spiritual RSVP. Before showing up at Heaven’s door we will need to fill it out and send it in to be included on His list. (In the Bible called the book of life)

God’s invitation to come to Jesus is for you. The Bible tells us that God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son to pay for our invitation. Just like the disciples, we are welcome to come and see Jesus. God wants businessmen, nurses, teachers, ladies of the night and even politicians to be there! The blood of Jesus was shed to pay for us all to be there, but the question today is: What is your answer to Him?