Amherst Lutheran Church
5125 Main Street (just east of the I-290) Williamsville, NY 14221
A piece of my own experience with an amazing God What a privilege it is to be the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus invites Himself into our hearts so that we might embrace the love of the heavenly Father. The Lord Jesus gifts His church with the presence of the Holy Spirit so that we might be effective in sharing the good news of God's love for the world. And what a privilege it is to be a pastor within the church. I am not aware of a time when I have lived as an outsider to the love of God. In fact, I have been a life long Christian. It was in high school when this faith took its important turn in my life. A high school counselor asked me the question, "David, what do you want to do with your life?" A short time later, I found myself sitting in my pastor's office, rather sheepishly saying, "I think I want to be a pastor."
Some 40+ years have gone by since those days of question and conversation, and I have never regretted where those days led me. This is what I believe, teach and preach as a pastor in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. God loves the world in this way. He gave His son over to death on a cross, so that we might not perish from the presence of God, but enjoy everlasting life with Him. This is what I believe, teach and preach. The fullness of God's intentions toward us have been revealed in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. And the news is good. God is at work making all things new. In the ministry of Jesus- each time the outcast is welcomed, the sick are healed, the dead are raised, we catch a glimpse of what God is up to in His creation. He is restoring life to its original innocence and beauty. And one day that work will be finished. This is what I believe, teach and preach. The church-saints and sinners that we are at one and the same time- is the body of the living Christ bringing His presence of love and forgiveness, hope and a meaningful and purposeful life to the world. This is what I believe, teach and preach as a pastor in the church.
The Holy Scripture is the only source of authority and guidance for the church. Join with me in the great awesome privilege of being the church. Something to think about... The Apostles' Creed: The Condensed Bible One of the oldest recited statements of faith, the Apostles' Creed originated in the third century and was recited at baptisms in the churches of Rome. It slowly spread to all Latin-speaking congregations and later was translated into other languages. Unlike the eastern Orthodox churches, where the Nicene Creed is used exclusively, the Western church has retained two creeds, using the Apostle's Creed at baptisms and during the regular worship seasons of the church while using the Nicene Creed at the festival seasons of Christmas and Easter. Both speak the core elements of the faith as taught in the scripture- grand summaries of the heart of what we believe as handed down through the generations from ones like Peter and Paul. Almighty God, whose blessed apostles Peter and Paul glorified you by their martyrdom: Grant that your Church, instructed by their teaching and example, and knit together in unity by your Spirit, may ever stand firm upon the one foundation, which is Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
How does one begin to offer thanks? Dec. 31 will mark 17 years and 10 months as your Pastor. It has been a blessed journey to say the least. I can look at the journey from a statistical perspective: Somewhere in the neighborhood of 900 sermons preached. Some 178 Council meetings. Baptisms: 50. Confirmations: 33. Of those Confirmed, this year was a first for me. I had also baptized the two Confirmands. Weddings: 22. With grief embraced, burials: 50. And equally sad, we are not the member numbers we were when I first arrived on March 1, 2002.
But it is not just a matter of statistics. The journey is a matter of you who are still with us in life and a matter of those we have bid farewell to in death. A matter of me getting things right as your Pastor. A matter of sometimes getting things wrong. But as I have experienced it, a relationship of trust that, at the beginning took a while to build, but at the end has become a richness of mutual trust and respect. For that I am thankful.
If I have helped some of you walk a “closer walk with God,” then I am thankful for the gifts God has given me to have been able to do that.
In a few short weeks, you will continue the blessed journey without me. That saddens me, yet I know that these 17 years and 10 months have not been about me, but about the God who gave life to this congregation at the Park School 70 some years ago and who will continue to journey with this congregation in the months ahead, leading you to God’s best.
How does one begin to offer thanks? These words are a start. And I am certain there will be much more expressions of thanks on my part before we go our separate ways on Dec. 31.