Monday, December 19, 2011

A Tribute to State Street Baptist Church

The last few weeks I’ve been thinking heavily about where we were three and a half years ago and where we are now. We’ve come a long ways. At times it seems that these years have flown by, that we could have filled them with so much more or accomplished bigger and grander things. Yet when I stop and think about it, these years have been filled with more than I could have even imagined or planned. In all my thinking, I began to just think about what God has allowed me to teach and preach from behind the pulpit and in homes of the people of SSBC.

We started off studying “The Living God” (which Kevin is now studying for the blog!) In Deuteronomy, we learned that the living God spoke His Law from the fire of Mount Sinai. In Joshua, we learned of the power of the living God in driving out the Canaanites from the land. In Samuel and Kings, we learned that even the greatest warrior (Goliath) and the greatest army (Assyrians) cannot defy the armies of the living God. In Psalms we learned that our soul thirsts for the living God. In Jeremiah we learned that the living God is the one true God and at his wrath the earth will tremble. In Daniel we learned that the living God shuts the mouths of lions to protect His servant. In Hosea we learned that there is coming a day when those who were ‘not My people’ will be called the sons of the living God. In Matthew and John we learned that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. In Acts and Thessalonians we learned that the nature of salvation is to turn from idols to serve the living God. In 2nd Corinthians we learned that we are the temple of the living God. In Hebrews we were warned of unbelief and of departing from the living God—that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

We studied the Books of Jonah, Nahum, 2nd Peter together. We learned that the greatest miracle in the book of Jonah was that Jonah recorded his story. We learned in Nahum that if you don’t teach your children, the coming generation will fall away and suffer the judgment of God. We learned in 2nd Peter to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We’ve also started a journey together in studying the Commands of Christ. We won’t get a chance to finish the study together, but I’m trusting that you will keep going with it. And tonight we’re going to wrap up our study From Pride to Humility.

In ministering to the teens on Wednesday nights, we’ve been able to study 1st John and James. In 1st John we learned the evidences of salvation in the believer’s life. In James we studied A Faith that Lives. We learned that Jesus wants to be ‘up close and personal’ in His relationship with us. We learned to “Do Hard Things.” We learned to make sure the bearings are greased before driving to DC. Yeah, that was fun J. We learned that God desires us to be pure in our relationships and to be young people with integrity. More recently, we’ve been learning that we are a community, a family of faith that have more in common that even the closest blood-relationship. We’ve been learning to listen to the Holy Spirit’s promptings to be witnesses for Christ.

Sunday afternoons we started “Discipleship Shockwave”. The intent and goal was to disciple the teens that we have here and that would have effects not just on our teens, but on their relationships at school and their relationships with campers at day camp. We studied the evidences that show the Bible is true. We studied how to be radical and take back your faith from the American dream. We studied 5 things every Christian needs to grow: Bible Study, Prayer, Worship, Service, and Stewardship.

It has been a rich road of blessing, and I want to take a minute just to say thank you. 

Alicia and I have spent these three and a half years here at State Street immersed in the teaching of the Word. Our hearts overflow with thankfulness for each one of you and for all the Lord has done in us and through us. Thank you for all you’ve done. Thank you for your love, for you kindness to us, for your care when we’ve needed it, for ministering to us when we’ve been down, for rejoicing with us when we’ve experienced joy in God. Thank you for your generosity. Thank you for your faithful prayers. Thank you for allowing us to minister to you. Thank you for letting us minister to your teens.

Thank you Pastor Mike for your preaching. Thank you for having an open office door. Thank you for rebuking me when I needed it. Thank you for your leadership. Thank you for teaching me about discipleship and modeling it at the same time. Thank you for mentoring me in the ministry here.

Thank you Shaw family. Thanks for caring for us. Thank you for being there when we needed you. Thank you for making our Christmases fun and exciting. Thank you Kailey, Jeremy, Abby, and Ally for watching movies with us. Thank you for watching the girls when our schedules were crazy. Thank you Ally for carrying Jodie around even after she learned how to walk.

Thank you Bob and Ruth Leland for your encouragement. Thank you for seeing the best in us and in others. Thank you Bob for always being so eager and ready to talk about the Word. Thank you for just enjoying the small things in life—things like puns (which is the highest form of humor). You’ve taught me just to enjoy the ride.

Thank you Jim and Bonnie for your care for us. Thank you for hosting the harvest suppers. Thank you for making me pick petunias. Thank you for your prayers for us. Thanks Jim for getting breakfast from time to time.

Thank you Dan and Jill for having us in our first Christmas. Thank you Jill for your thoughtfulness. Thank you Dan for your servant’s heart. Thank you for your willingness to do things you know you will probably never be thanked for.

Thank you Winfield for your life’s experience. Thank you for the stories of years gone by and lessons learned. Thank you for asking Alicia to help you take care of Alice.

Thank you Ruel and Gloria for your generosity. I thought I was doing you a favor by painting that rain gutter. Now I know you were just trying to see how much you could give us.

Thank you Deryle and Vicki. When we first moved dad asked you, Deryle, to watch out for me. I know that you have, and I've appreciated every minute of it. Vicki, thanks for having an open heart before us and allowing us to minister to you even in the darkest of times.

Thank you Randy for our Bible Study. As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Words can't express my gratitude for you.

Thank you Nicole for all the meals. We're still working on those meals from the baby shower!

Thank you Beth and Nancy for your forgiveness. I stuck my foot in my mouth all too often, but you forgave me each time.

Thank you Isaac for making it up Katahdin and all the way back with me.

Thank you Sonia and Elizabeth for your faithful prayers. Thank you Karin for being authentic. Thank you Ralph and Janice for your encouragement. Thank you Eva for making it out to practice every week. Thank you Kornachuks for taking the youth group. Thank you Dawna for leading the music committee. Thank you Dana for running the Senior Saints team. Thank you Aidan for asking questions and seeking answers. Thank you Sawyers for letting us drive your vehicle all the way to D. C. Thank you Craig for all the deep theological discussions. 

Thank you to all the Superbowl chaperones for your bravery and perseverance

Thank you to all who have had us in your homes.

Thank you State Street Baptist Church for allowing God to work through you in our lives.

We will be leaving SSBC and Presque Isle in January. We will desperately miss all of you people and we are truly grateful for the Lord's work both in us and in you all. The Lord bless and keep you!

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