From Paul’s Pen

            Sometimes congregations invite guest speakers for a special series of lessons such as a “Summer Series.” Often, these lessons center around a given theme or scripture passages. One theme that has always fascinated me is based on this question: If you had one last sermon to preach, what would you speak on? The elders offered me such an opportunity this month, but I declined. Yet now I’m faced with a similar dilemma as I write this last bulletin article. What do I write in this farewell piece?

            Several ideas have flashed through my mind such as Paul’s valedictory address in 2 Timothy 4:6-8 or the tearful scene in Acts 20:37-38 as Paul said goodbye to the Ephesian elders at Miletus. Although not knowing what the future holds for any of us, we plan to interact with you and your families for many years to come. While we may be absent in body, our hearts will certainly be close to yours. But, back to the task at hand, what I want to say to everyone is best recorded by the Holy Spirit Himself.

            “May the Lord watch between you and me when we are absent one from another” (Genesis 31:49b).

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:3-6).

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4).

“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).

“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming” (Matthew 25:13).

“The Lord bless you and keep you;

  The Lord make His face shine upon you,

  And be gracious to you;

  The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,

  And give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26).