We go nowhere by accident, but by the very call of God leading us. These are the words which I have uttered over and over again in my tenure as the senior pastor at FPC. In 2008, the country was teetering on the edge of financial collapse with Arizona one of the hardest hit states. Many people were losing jobs and homes in the midst of a crisis no one had seen since the 1930s. The old community of Casa Grande had been a small tight knit city 30 minutes south of Phoenix, but this little community was now gone and a new reality was emerging. Casa Grande was now becoming a good sized city of its own! With this came big city problems and issues and uncomfortable changes to places like a tight knit church. These were some of the realities that were at play when God called me to serve him at First Presbyterian.
To say goodbye is never easy. People go through many feelings along the way. I leave with great love in my heart for the church God called me to serve for a season of my life. There was never a day which was easy, but I always felt that God was using me to serve him. You let me be frank in my preaching style and didn’t constrain me to a pulpit. You allowed me to talk to you as friends, not as a professor giving a lecture. When I looked out and tried earnestly to bring God’s words to you, I never felt like I was speaking to a large room. I felt as if I was sitting across from a friend sharing God’s love over a Coke. Thank you for trusting me in this.
I have heard many reasons why I may or may not be leaving, but it comes down to something as simple as, God called me to another call. Some wondered if I disagreed with the session’s decision back in the fall to stay with the denomination. I unequivocally know that the session made the right decision and I affirm it wholeheartedly. There are things which the denomination does which really bother me at times, but I believe the decision of the elders was the right one on many levels, not the least of which was it was healthiest for this body. The last few months have only confirmed this for me as people have worked to move forward. When I arrived, I never knew how long I would be here. This church has been in transition and flux the entire seven years of my tenure and God is now preparing your next pastor to hear the call which I once did. God is faithful and will send a new shepherd to lead you. Stand with your new pastor in moving forward. This church is special and God will continue His work here. I want to finish my newsletter in a Pauline style from the New Testament…
To the saints at First Presbyterian Church, stand tall for the Gospel. Do not be swayed by the wind of culture that flaps hard to the left or leans staunchly to the right. Listen to God’s word with a discerning spirit to stand together as the body. Do not react like many are prone to do by leaving over a quibble or worshipping false idols, but always work together. For God did not call us here to be liberals or conservatives, he called us to be his disciples furthering his Gospel message. Jesus’ words often make us uncomfortable, but it is in that vein which we run our race. We are called to Glorify God, share His joy and meet the great broken needs of this world. As you study scripture, look in upon yourself and do not be so quick to judge others, but to seek God’s grace in your own and show God’s love to those you meet. Stand in the gaps of society. Do not entrench yourselves behind a line in the sand, but kneel upon the line with arms stretched in love to a world so desperate for Good News. Give the world Jesus, let them see him in You, the children of the First Presbyterian Church of Casa Grande. You go nowhere by accident, but by the call of God. Follow him and you will always be on the path of righteousness.
Set up your online giving today! Electronic funds transfer, credit card or debit cards are accepted. Click here to get started.