Saturday, August 02, 2008

Thank You, Woodward Park

Tomorrow marks the second anniversary of one of the greatest blessings ever afforded my life by my gracious God -- the blessing of serving as the Preaching Minister at the Woodward Park Church of Christ in Fresno, California. On August 1, 2006, I moved to Fresno, joined two weeks later by Mandy and the girls. Without question, I can say most assuredly the last two years have been two of the most challenging, yet rewarding years of my life.

I want to be very personal today in the things I share. First, I am grateful for the faith of the Elders at Woodward Park in my ministry. Never once have I has reason to question their complete support. At Woodward Park, we are incredibly blessed with an Eldership committed to prayer. We have men who believe the business of the church is prayer and I count among my greatest memories in these first two years the privilege of praying with these men every week for the spiritual, physical and material needs of our congregation.

I am also grateful for the foundation of truth at Woodward Park. As I shared in my first sermon, my ministry builds upon the foundation laid by men like Stan Williams, John Smith, Kevin Schwiger, and Ronney Wheeler. Those men had unique gifts and unique approaches, and while I've never tried to duplicate the uniqueness of those men and their ministries, I have attempted to the best of my ability to build upon the Rock on which they stood -- the ultimate foundation, Jesus Christ.

I am grateful for the Bible class teachers, especially in the children's classes, who've invested their time and energy to teach my girls. Mandy and I do our best to show Jesus to our girls at home and I am thankful for all of you who've reinforced the beliefs and values we are attempting to instill in our daughters.

I am thankful for our friends, a host of loyal, devoted friends who are too numerous to mention. It is wonderful to be a part of a church the size of Woodward Park where we count all of you as near and dear to our hearts. We now live 2000 miles away from our biological family, but you have filled that void by loving us, caring for us and sharing with us as if we were your own. Thank you for accepting us and helping us mature in our quest to be like Jesus Christ.

I am blessed to stand before and speak the wonderful words of life each Sunday to an assembly of God's people ready to receive the Word of God. Your passion to study, your hunger and thirst for righteousness, is consistently evident in the way you receive the message each Sunday. Preaching for you has never been a chore or a duty -- it is an eternal blessing because you receive and apply the messages with great faith and commitment.

As I speak away and am introduced to audiences as the Preaching Minister of the Woodward Park Church of Christ, a great sense of joy always fills my heart. I can think of no greater pride than this position God has afforded me at this time in my ministry.

After two years, Fresno truly feels like home and there is no family of God's people of which I'd rather be a part at this point in my life than Woodward Park. My unyielding conviction is that God's best awaits us as we continue to launch into an unknown, challenging future. The challenge of being Christ's church within the culture of Fresno will continue to challenge us. But in the midst of every challenge lies opportunity and know our God works within us to pour out His blessings to people. I anticipate a blessed future with you, knowing that God will do His part in graciously providing what we might lack.

So from the bottom of my heart this day, on behalf of my family, thank you my Woodward Park church family. We love you with the love of Jesus Christ.