My Farewell to the Grace Family; Your Calling to be Oaks of Righteousness
“To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” – Isaiah 61:3
The picture above was taken among the beautiful grove of trees on the south end of the Grace church campus. If you have ever walked among this particular grove of trees you will find these stately giants to be strikingly beautiful. They are strong trees. They do not easily sway. They are deeply rooted. And they branch out, reaching up to the heavens.
This is how it should be with the Grace family. Be strong. Stand firm. Don’t buckle or waver. Be deeply rooted in the soil of God’s Word. Branch out into the community with the gospel. And all things, reach to heaven with the glory of God as your aim. In our passage above, the people of God are described as “oaks of righteousness.” Let us remember together that the Lord has called His church to be oaks of righteousness rather than overnight mushrooms. Oh that we would be firmly planted as oaks of righteousness in God’s garden!
But also notice in the background of the picture the property. The untouched land should serve as a reminder to the church family the potential for future growth. I encourage every one of you to have a God-sized vision for what the Lord can do through Grace Baptist Church and the furtherance of the Gospel. Know that He has provided this land for the church; now use it by His grace and for His glory!
It is important to me for you to understand that after this coming Sunday April 6th, I will no longer be your pastor. Accepting this truth is simply part of the healing process for the Grace family. But be encouraged; God is preparing the church family for the next pastor. My departure and calling to another ministry must be accepted by the entire congregation in order for your next pastor to have a healthy and fruitful ministry. After Sunday I may no longer be your pastor, but always remember that I will be your friend.
In recent weeks, my heart has been overwhelmed by the love and kindness expressed to our family by the Grace Church family. I love you all so very much and I am thankful the Lord knitted our paths together. I know the Lord has special plans for the Grace family in the years to come. And Likewise, I know the Lord has great plans for the Martin family as we make the move to Cullman. I want to encourage all of you to keep your eyes on the Lord and stay the course. And so as your soon to be departing pastor, I leave you in good hands…I leave you in God’s hands.
Soli Deo Gloria,