A Picture of the Church


christ-community-church On August 25th, 2013, I stood before the congregation that I had served for almost twenty years and announced that Sue and I would be concluding our ministry at Christ Community Church and going to Panama to serve for six months at Coronado Bible Church. This was to be our first step towards fulltime ministry somewhere in Panama. I described for those listening some of the images from the past that flooded my mind.

Maybe the pictures are the easiest to describe … young dewy eyes filled with hope and longing standing in front of me at the marriage alter. Holding a couple’s first cooing child and praying a silent blessing. Rushing to the hospital because a mother was in distress and seeing God’s perfect, pink, naked answers to prayer just minutes old. Scenes from the beginning to the end of life and everything in between crowd my memory. Names and faces of saints ushered into glory like a hallway I can walk through in God’s fine art exhibit. Hours and hours of profitable ministry and opportunities missed stand side by side in the gallery. There I remember forgiving and being forgiven … exhorting and being exhorted … discipling and being discipled. And I think of all the lessons I’ve learned from your lives. How seeing your walk in the present, despite the pain of your past, has given me hope for the future. I have seen proven, in flesh and blood, that “God works all things together for the good of those who love him and have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Because of you, I have confidence that “he who began a good work in me will be able to complete it” (Philippians 1:6). Whatever enters my life, it can be lived out for my joy and God’s glory. I don’t care what others may say … you can’t get that in any human organization. What I’ve experienced here among you is the mystery and the beauty of the Body of Christ. You have proven the words of Jesus that “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age …” (Mark 10:30). You truly have become to us brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers.
Sue and I feel privileged in having begun to build these same relationships here in Panama. We have already experienced … and look forward to experiencing here the mystery and the beauty of the Body of Christ. See you in two weeks!