The bible verse that kept coming to me the past week and 1/2 is: Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. Proverbs 27:1
I was expecting to leave disappointed and angry at Pastor Gary. Instead...I have to admit he could not have given a better message. One of the best, perhaps, that he's ever preached, other than 2 weeks ago when he preached, "Sometimes You Just Have To Shout!"
He handled it with such grace and integrity. Here is how I posted it on fb right after arriving home, and it was still fresh on my mind and heart: "Well, now I can say it...our beloved Pastor resigned today. I am so proud and honored to have sat under this man's ministry. He is truly an honorable Man of God. He could not have handled today in a more honorable, dignified, Godly manner than he did. Mickey & I love you Pastor Gary and will miss you, but I know you heard from God and that you follow Him, as you have ALWAYS done and will ALWAYS continue to do what He tells you to do. You are a good and faithful servant of God. God's speed to you and Sister Paula."
I don't think there was a dry eye in the entire congregation. We were all broken hearted and hurting in the natural/fleshly part of ourselves and yet we all knew in the Spirit that this was the right thing, not only for them, but for our Church Body.
Wednesday night was another powerful Word of God and his sharing with us the over 2 year process of God's working in his heart and preparing him to leave and go somewhere else. He put out 3 fleeces he wanted to see fulfilled before he left: 1) That the church be completely out of debt. As you know the mortgage was burned on July 4th this year and the church owes nothing. 2) He wanted the right man to be prepared to take his place. & 3) He wanted a strong Deacon Board in place when he left. All three of this things were accomplished.
This past Sunday was his last sermon which was on "Transitions...A Part of Life" taken from Ecc 31:1-8 "In everything there is a season..." The auditorium was packed out. The headline of our Coweta American newspaper's headline on Wednesday had shouted "Rogers steps down as Coweta Assembly pastor" and it was the talk of the town.
After the service the Woman's Ministry put on a huge reception for them and everyone was invited for snacks, cupcakes, a huge cake, punch, & tea. 5 or 6 people gave brief talks about what Pastor Gary had meant to them and then Prayer shawls were presented to both Pastor Gary and to Sister Paula. After the shawls were placed on their shoulders the 7 Deacons and many others laid hands on them and prayed and it was done.
It is such a joy to be in a Church Body that can handle a departure like this in such a grand and noble way.
Pastor Gary has been Pastor there for 17 1/2 years and when he came there were just a handful of people. Coweta Assembly is now the largest congregation in Coweta running about 650. When he came the property value was $250,00 for the building and $75,000 for the parsonage and there was a debt of $60,000. Today the property is valued at 4 Million and 0 debt and $261,000 in the bank account. . Stephen Lee, the Associate Pastor, has been mentored by Pastor Gary for the past 16 years. We are indeed blessed.
God has great things for Chickesha, Oklahoma where Pastor Gary will be the Pastor and God has great things for us at Coweta Assembly of God.
We are excited about what God is going to do!!!!!!
As if all the above wasn't enough going on......Friday night a benefit Indian Taco Dinner was sponsored by several people, and held at Coweta Assembly, for Mark Bates. A man dearly loved by not only Coweta Assembly but all of Coweta. Mark recently lost part of his right foot due to diabetes and has huge medical bills. $11,995 was raised for him!!!! Mickey & I helped serve and clean-up.
Saturday an auction was held to liquidate the estate of Chris McCormick who left his estate to the church. I posted about this in May here.SO.... it's been a very exciting time in our little community of Coweta.....but the excitement's just begun!!!!!!
We love and serve an amazing God!!