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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

April 2016

Well, friends, here it is: my last "Pastor's Column." As you know, April 3rd will be my last Sunday as Pastor of Faith Lutheran Church. With no exaggeration, I can say that these past few weeks have been the most emotionally challenging of my life. I cannot begin to express how deep my affections are for this congregation. So, needless to say, trying to capture such feelings in a newsletter article is no simple task. So, instead, just let me say, "Thank you."

Thank you for all of the joy you have brought to my life. As I mentioned a few weeks ago in the sermon, joy comes from being loved. I have enjoyed literally every single Sunday at Faith knowing that I am preaching to people who love me. Thank you.

Thank you for calling me out of seminary. I know it was a risk for you all to take such a young, inexperienced man straight out of school to be your pastor, especially after being so blessed by a man as capable and talented as Pastor Nelesen. In all honesty I was completely pompous and terrified as I came to Faith. You have served to heal both my sinful pride (well...I may still be working on that one!) and fear. You were a true gift to this newbie! Thank you.

Thank you for making me a better pastor. Sermons, Bible Studies, discussions over scripture and theology, new member conversations, and your insights have all served to help me grow in my craft. I am the pastor I am today because of God's work through each of you. Wednesday Bible Studies have helped me grow as a theologian more than seminary possibly could have. I am tearing up over how much I will miss our weekly off-topic interactions. Thank you.

Thank you for serving my family well. It is no small task to be the wife or children of a pastor. Pastors are not the easiest people to live with. The sad truth is not all congregations treat their pastor's families well. Faith is a different story, thank God! You have loved Stephanie and the kids, you have given them freedom to worship and serve, you have shown a love and kindness that can only be the work of the Holy Spirit in your hearts. I am most grateful to you for this. Thank you.

Thank you for giving me opportunities to grow. You have helped me further my education. You have given me the freedom to try new things. You have challenged me to be better as a pastor and as a man. Thank you.

Thank you for praying for me. Our Lord has listened to your prayers and has strengthened your pastor to serve. I know I have failed a great deal. But I know you have continued to pray. I have not ceased to pray for this church, nor will I. I ask you to do the same for our family. Thank you.

Finally, thank you for your forgiveness. If there is anything I have learned from being at Faith, it is that forgiveness gives us life. The Father Himself set us free from all condemnation and death by sending His Son to forgive us through His sacrifice on the cross. That forgiveness is delivered in our worship services through the Word and sacraments. And, it is expressed from you towards one another. I pray you would forgive me for all the sins which I have committed here. I am not without guilt toward you. Whatever wrong I have done, you have always shown me grace, just as God in Christ has shown it to you. You are church washed in the forgiving blood of Jesus. This forgiveness defines you. Thank you for sharing it with me.
Now it is time for a new chapter for Faith Lutheran Church. I am honestly excited for you! I know you will shine! Remember as you look for your new pastor, the Lord loves this congregation. He's given His Son for it! He will guide you to your new pastor. Be diligent in prayer, work well with one another, and trust the gracious Holy Spirit to guide you. The next pastor has no idea what a blessing awaits him when he arrives!

I don't want to type this last paragraph, because that means I'm done. But, I love you all so very much. Stephanie, Sophie, Mark, Timothy, and I thank you for absolutely everything. We love you. We will miss you. We will remember you in our prayers. Brothers and sisters, Thank you.

Pastor Bob
The full newsletter can be found here:

Faith Lutheran Church • 123 Park Lane • Moorpark, CA 93021 • (805) 532 1049 • Send Email