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  • Abraham Lincoln on Criticism

    "If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what's said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference."
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    "Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events." ~Winston Churchill
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    It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or whether the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again; Who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; Who, at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; And who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. It is far better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight of life, knowing neither victory nor defeat. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
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  • The Reformed Pastor – Richard Baxter

    “We must carry on our work with patience. We must bear with many abuses and injuries from those to whom we seek to do good. When we have studied for them, and prayed for them, and exhorted them, and beseeched them with all earnestness and condescension, and given them what we are able, and tended them as if they had been our children, we must look that many of them will requite us with scorn and hatred and contempt, and account us their enemies, because we ‘tell them the truth.’ Now, we must endure all this patiently, and we must unweariedly hold on in doing good, ‘in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, if God, peradventure, will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.’ We have to deal with distracted men who will fly in the face of their physician, but we must not, therefore, neglect their cure. He is unworthy to be a physician, who will be driven away from a frenetic patient by foul words. Yet, alas, when sinners reproach and slander us for our love, and are more ready to spit in our faces, than to thank us for our advice, what heart-risings will there be, and how will the remnants of old Adam (pride and passion) struggle against the meekness and patience of the new man! And how sadly do many ministers come off under such trials!”
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Though He Slay Me, Yet Will I Trust in Him

In just two short weeks our family will say goodbye to the church family we’ve grown to love. Nine years of our life have been spent here. Most of my children grew up in this church. My first daughter was married here and gave us two grandsons. Eight of my children graduated from this school. My daughter and son-in-law served with us here on staff. All of this we have shared with our church family. 

church photocopyIt is a hard thing to say goodbye to friends who have over the years become more like family. It’s hard to say when that moment actually happens – perhaps somewhere between joy and suffering. It is good to make friends, but it’s even better when they become family. Family to me is a person who has knit their heart to mine.  Family is who you tell your hopes and dreams to or share your burden or hurt with. When suffering is shared, hearts are melded. It’s not in the telling, but the receiving. Your burden must be received and carried. Your load becomes lighter when you’ve shared it with someone who actually cares. I have experience this here. Some people call that person their best friend, but how do you do that when you have more than a dozen? You don’t have to share my blood line to become family. But then, that’s obvious when you look at our family. When we adopted, it was like taking a friend and telling them we wanted to be a part of their future.

So, we are at a close here where we serve. God is calling us away, but we can’t take our friends with us – the friends who have become family. This doesn’t seem right, but our ways are not God’s ways. We cannot know what God will do with the love that must be fragmented and sent on it’s way to develop in the hearts of others through us. It does make the yearning for heaven grow stronger where we will never have to part from those we love, those in our homemade family.

We’ve spent almost a decade here in this church. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve rejoiced and we’ve grieved. Some have loved us, some have cast us aside. Still, we’ve taken immeasurable treasure away with us that could only have been discovered here – to use in another place, at another time, to grow God’s family. I have to admit, God had to pry my fingers off one at a time, for I held on very tightly to this ministry we now call family. But I am not ashamed of that. I think it right to hold on to those whom God brings into our path, those we vow to serve – to hold tightly and not want to let them go. Only then, when my fear of losing them is so very great do I claim them. And, most likely, if you are reading this, you are counted among them – my very precious family.

You have been used by our Lord to change and shape us, to point us to Him and gain a better understanding of who He is. You have comforted us, encouraged and uplifted us. He’s used you to challenge us, to push us to pursue excellence, to become better in His service. Thank you, my church family. I will miss you beyond what I am able to express.

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