The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
This morning, I helped conduct a service for a dear friend who has pastored a local church for 54 years. He preached his last sermon today as shepherd of a very special portion of God's people. These were my remarks:
"Good morning. We gather today first and foremost for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, as Scripture privileges and commands, "Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
We also gather to both rejoice and feel a great sense of sadness as a long and faithful tenure of service to our Lord comes to its conclusion. John Canning will preach his last sermon as pastor of this church today after more than a half century of ministry. Of course, we also gratefully remember Connie today, and your devotion to John and to this church with much appreciation and gratitude.
John, I did the numbers regarding how many times you have stood in this pulpit to preach. At the very least, you have spoken from this special place as God's ambassador 7,800 times.
7,800 sermons and messages. This gives much pause to us all, and raises the question, how many people have been blessed with the spirit and truth of the Lord Jesus through the years? How many believers have been illuminated, encouraged, and challenged in their walk with the Lord? How many people have come to know the Savior? We do not and cannot know right now. But we will one day, and the prospect gives much reason to bow our hearts and heads in wonder and thanksgiving as our time together today begins.
54 years as pastor of one fellowship of believers. What faithfulness. What trustworthiness. What persistence and consistency this reveals. Yes, how faithful is our Lord. How trustworthy He is. How persistent and consistent He is. This is the testimony John would have us to remember and affirm. Yes, when you think of John Canning, think of this: God is faithful. He called John to this place. He gifted him to serve. He enabled him to faithfully minister for so many years, and in life and word, John and Connie have borne witness to the truth: God is faithful.
John, Connie, I know I speak for all here today. We thank God for you. And we thank you for responding to His faithfulness, His trustworthiness, His consistency, and His persistence. How such grace and glory has been revealed and reflected in both of you. And how we all have been so immeasurably blessed. I close with words I am sure you will both one day hear from our Father, and which I want you to hear in this moment from our hearts as the blessed recipients of His grace administered through you...
"Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
"God is faithful."
(I Corinthians 1:9)
"Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful."
(I Corinthians 4:1-2)
Weekly Memory Verse
Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world.