Thank You and Farewell
Today I had the bitter-sweat experience of saying goodbye to my faith family at South Tampa Fellowship. In just a few days I will leave Tampa and Florida and head north to Holland, Michigan to take up the lead pastor role of Central Wesleyan Church. I would like to thank everyone who has prayed for us during this season of transition. Wibke and I have been blessed beyond measure by both your faithfulness and the genuineness of your faith. Over the last 6.5 years the Lord has done great things through us all, things that I could only have dreamt of. As I said goodbye to people today my heart blessed God because story after story was shared of how STF’s faithfulness has afforded Wibke and I opportunities to bless so many people. God’s grace has worked in a powerful, transformative way!
- I laughed with joy with the couple whose marriage has been transformed because our faith family encouraged the wife not to quit believing that her husband would respond to Christ. He did. I had the privilege of leading him to Christ in my office!
- I saw tears of appreciation from a faithful man whose son-in-law had come to faith in Christ through our ministry. That had long been his prayer!
- I was moved to tears hearing how one lady has been strengthened in her faith through the ministry of the Word and empowered to deal with a number of tragic health cases in her family. Her burden was great but the God she found through His Word was GREATER! She has hope!
- I was overwhelmed to hear stories of folks who recognized the plight of the orphan, opened the door of their homes and witnessed a remarkable transformation in their own lives. I was humbled as they cited our personal example as a powerful motivator.
- I was thrilled when an elderly gentlemen came with his camera showing me the photo of his baptism telling me that he would never forget that day! It changed his life!
- I was blessed by a young couple who took up the challenge to share Christ locally by ministering in a local apartment complex in preparation for future ministry in Asia. They thanked STF for the monthly support that makes such a powerful ministry possible. People are being changed; they are thrilled to be a part of it and give God praise for us!
On and on the stories went as people waited in line to bless and encourage Wibke and I with what God has done! Some waited more than an hour to share their life-transformation story with us. Three hours after we begun the line gradually come to an end (only to be replaced by letters and cards!). Thank you STF! Thank you for the privilege of serving with you. God has done GREAT things and GREATER things are yet to come for you all. Keep doing what you are! Don’t back up and look out for those who are tempted to look in during this coming season. The safest place for you to be is on the front lines of battle serving Christ! Two Scriptures I leave with you as my prayer for you in this season of transition:
“The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.” Psalm 121:7-8
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13
As my time in Tampa now comes to a close would you be willing to pray?
- Specifically I would ask you to pray for the pastors, staff and lay leaders in Tampa. Pray for peace, wisdom and God’s favor in this new season.
- Second, please pray for our family as we make the transition to Michigan. I will leave the middle of this week and Wibke and the kids soon after. Pray for Allysa as she stays behind in college in Jacksonville.
- Finally, pray too for the staff of Central as I take up my calling to lead that faith family forward.
Thank you all. We love you and continue to labor with you in the kingdom.