Transition

transitionssmallSome of the photos I take and some, like the one pictured, I both create and take. To create this photo I first printed the word “transition” on a piece of paper, then placed it underneath a clear pyrex baking container. I then covered the bottom of the container with water and added a drop of green food dye on one side and a drop of blue food die on the other. I swirled it about and took the picture. The transition from green to blue illustrates the meaning of the big bold word TRANSITION.

I designed and took this picture because I have the concept of transition on my mind. Anyone wonder why? Diann and I are going through one of the bigger times of transition in our lives. This weekend will be my last sermon as pastor at Mayfair-Plymouth. We’ve sold our home in Michigan and have purchased a home in Florida (talk about change!). We’re retiring, so that involves it’s own kind of transition. We’re changing banks, getting new driver’s licenses, and a multitude of other changes that go with moving to a new area of the country. Then too, I’ve given away my flock of chickens, a hobby I’ve had for some thirty-five years.

The Mayfair-Plymouth Church family is facing this transition too (not the giving up the chickens part, you know what I mean). Actually, transition is a part of all of our lives. We’re always moving from green to blue, or from blue to green in one or more areas in life. Health issues that come up bring into play a transition to a different way of living each day. Financial changes, job changes, relationship changes, and many other changes move us into a transition, like it or not.

As I face my own transitions I hold fast to two great truths. I commend them to you in your transitions as well.

First, God has a plan. We don’t see the future clearly, but God does. As has often been said, we may not know what the future holds but we can know the One who holds the future. Nothing catches God by surprise and so He has a plan!

Second, God never changes. He is never in transition. He will never transition into a God who is less loving and helpful, for He can’t be less than He is. He can’t transition into a God who is better in some way for He is the very best in all ways! We can count on Him. God never gets up on the wrong side of the bed (for one reason, He never sleeps!), He doesn’t give in to a bad mood, He doesn’t grow tired or weary. God is rock solid! We can count on Him, depend on Him, stand upon Him. Our lives are always transitioning into something different but God always stays the same. I find great comfort in that fact!

“For who is God beside the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God?” (2 Samuel 22:32)

Advertisements

Passing the Baton

transitionbatanPictured here is the baton I’ll be handing over to Pastor Joe French at this weekend’s services. It’s the weekend we officially transition from me being the lead pastor (senior pastor) to Joe being the lead pastor. I’ll preach my last sermon the following weekend (October 11/12).

We’ve been on this journey of transition for approximately eighteen months, guided by Pastor Rupert’s expertise in these matters (he’s the one with the PhD in leadership and has written a book on transition so Joe and I try to listen to him, sometimes). Now the time has come to pass the baton to Pastor Joe.

In a relay race one runner passes the baton on to another runner who continues the race. This is what Joe and I will do.

We’re all in a race called life. We’re all involved in passing on the baton, whether we always recognize it or not.

Parents pass on their view of life to their children. We know it has happened when we hear a small child parrot words we’ve heard from the parents. But it’s more than words. Attitudes and values are also passed on, for a lifetime.

We parents of adult children continue to pass on the baton of how to live life. Our big kids are watching how we handle aging, whether we’re aging gracefully, and, eventually, how we deal with facing death.

We also pass the baton of attitude in our friendships, work environments, our churches, and other social networks of which we’re a part. All of us are people of influence.

Sometimes we have the opportunity to train another person for a task or responsibility. We can help insure (though not guarantee) their success.

Passing a baton involves coming alongside a person, going the same direction and synchronizing our speed. If we’re going to pass on something good to others we have to learn the art of coming alongside them.

As a minister I have conducted funerals where it’s been rather obvious that not much good has been passed on from the deceased to those who have gathered to pay their respects. It’s sad, more sad than a funeral should be. On the other hand, I’ve conducted funerals where people can’t say enough of how the deceased made a positive difference in their lives. These funerals tend to be more joyous than you’d expect a funeral to be.

Yes, there’s all kinds of ways to “pass the baton” in life. We’re all in this race called life but it’s not just our race. Others are running the race of life too and we can make a difference in their lives. Let’s pass the baton and share the delight of winning!

“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” (Hebrews 12:1)

There are are a variety of people to whom I’m passing on the baton in my life. This weekend I’ll be focusing on just one of those people. His name is Joe.