Thursday, June 19, 2008

My Good-Bye to Asbury

The following is the article I published in our church newsletter this month, saying my final good-byes to the church I've worked at for nearly 4 years.

A Final Goodbye

I can’t believe this chapter has come to an end. What began as my first full-time job and an experiment in working with this new, strange denomination, has turned into a time in my life I will never forget and will always look back on with incredible memories. Mandy and I are truly blessed to have worked alongside you all for the sake of the gospel over the past 4 years. You have taught me so much about life and love and ministry and I am forever grateful. I cannot imagine a better group of people to live life with.

As I think back on the man I was 4 years ago, the way I lived my life, the way I looked at the world, I realize I am entirely different and owe much of that to you. An “annoying” YEAR of the theme “Peace with Justice” has eternally shaped my heart for the poor and downtrodden of this world, for the oppressed, depressed, afflicted and convicted. I’m not only not sick of talking about peace and justice, but I can no longer imagine myself at a church that doesn’t make that theme their focus.

I have also been blessed to work with such tremendous staff members. Dar, Brenda, Roxie, Duane, Cindy, Martha, and Kip have been amazing to work beside. What a blessing to work with such a great youth ministry staff and such amazing youth here. I thank you all for all you have taught me and I will treasure our time together in my heart forever. I pray that God would continue to work in your life.

If I had to offer one last word of advice, I guess I would challenge you to get rid of the religion in your life. Get rid of the petty rituals you’ve clung to just because “that’s what Christians do”. Stop living your life of faith as if it’s on a check list of things to do, and start modeling your life after the Savior of the Universe, Jesus Christ. Take seriously the words of Jesus when he tells you to daily take up your cross and follow him. Throw aside all those things that once bogged you down and run the race God has marked out for you. In the words of the Apostle Paul, “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called…” (1 Tim. 6:12).

Grace and peace to all of you. God Bless.

Jason & Mandy

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