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A Heart-felt Thank You

“As for the saints…they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight…” ~ from Psalm 16:3. Next to the Lord Himself and my dear wife and family, this congregation remains one of the greatest blessings of my life, and has been for over thirty years. “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.” ~ Psalm 16:6. I do not take lightly the love, support, and esteem that I regularly receive in affirmation of my ministry among you. These come from  the hands of a gracious, gift-giving God, to Whom we bow in humble gratitude and awe.

It is difficult to express in mere words the extent of our gratitude to the BFCN family for the wonderful  “30/40/60” celebration in April. Pat and I were so grateful, humbled, and honored by all that was said and done on our celebration day (including those who shared with us privately). To those who worked so hard in planning, preparing, and then making it happen – KNOW that Pat and I are immensely grateful. It will be a day we long remember! We are keenly aware that this ministry would not be possible without MANY faithful servants working tirelessly together to fulfill God’s purposes among us. This truly is a team effort!

One does not set out with the idea of having thirty years of ministry at one church. The years unfold one day at a time…and voila – 30 years! It means two things: 1) God is faithful; and 2) I am
old! As wonderful as the last thirty years have been, our prayer is that the “best days of BFCN” still lie ahead, eventually under new leadership. Since our God never changes (Hebrews 13:8), and He promises to enable us in fulfilling the Great Commission until He comes again (Matthew 28:18-20), there is no reason NOT to expect that His blessing will continue…as long as, that is, we continue by His grace “to BE what He has called us to be and to DO what He has called us to do.” Our personal prayer remains that God would work among us in ways “that are unmistakably a work of His,” producing fruit that will last for eternity. To that end, it is our prayer that we personally continue to serve Him, and by His grace, to finish well in His perfect time and way.

One thing that struck me was the number of people that God has intersected with BFCN over all these years. Whether for a lengthy period of time or for just a short season, God has had His purposes in our  interaction. After all, we know that no one enters our doors by accident. The blessing of a long-term ministry is that those acquaintances/ relationships may change, but the seeds sown over the years sometimes bear fruit many years later (often unbeknownst to us). What a blessing it was to have folks from the past and those new to BFCN join together in celebration of God’s faithfulness.

Some may not be aware that the congregation overwhelmed us with a special gift – a cruise to Alaska! That surely is something we never would have done. Presently, the cruise and land tour is planned for August 29th thru September 11th. We are already eagerly looking forward to this “once in a lifetime trip” together. What can we say but THANK YOU!! The generosity of God’s people at BFCN – to us and the Lord’s work – is indeed a cause for rejoicing and a testimony to the sacrificial spirit that you live out daily.

May we continue to be L.I.F.T.E.D by the Gospel every day in Gospel-saturated joy and gratitude before Him and one another. To God be the glory!

In His lavish GRACE,
— Pastor Bill (and Pat)

A Personal Post Script…
Because I am “the Pastor” and the one usually up front, those who stand behind – and beside me – can sometimes be taken for granted. I want to publicly express my deep love and gratitude to my wife, Pat, and our daughters – Amy, Andrea, Amber, and Anne – for the roles they have played in thirty years of serving the Lord here at BFCN. They share any and all honor and appreciation with me. They were the ones who sacrificed often and freely…they knew when the heartaches of ministry were heavy and were patient with me…they shared their husband, dad, and home with a growing congregation…they lived the ups and downs with me and have always made going home the best part of every day. Pat, you orchestrated the symphony of home-life like a master maestro,  ensuring that each part knew it was important and blended together in harmony. You opened our home freely and to many, often with short notice. You were/are God’s gift to me as a life and ministry partner. Indeed, “my boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places” when God included you. For that, I thank GOD…and YOU!

 

About the Author

Christian. Senior Pastor of Bible Fellowship Church of Newark. Husband. Father of 4 daughters. Grandfather.