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A Farewell Letter from Pastor Thom

Dear Church Family,

 

For those of you who were with us on Sunday morning, you will know that it was our farewell Sunday at Cypress Lake. As a result, I wanted to write one final letter to you, as our friends and our church family. Karen and I love you all very much!

I so love what God has been doing amongst us over these past eight years. I know it has not always been easy and there have been seasons when we’ve scratched our heads, wondering what God is doing, yet I can confidently say that the testimony of these almost 3,000 days has been, as we are reminded in Lamentations 3:22-23, The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

It has been wonderful to see the many ways God has taken hold of us as a church and grown and expanded us, not only in numbers but also in influence and maturity. Cypress Lake United Methodist Church is such a different place now to the church it was eight years ago, and this is God’s wonderful handiwork amongst us. As I pause for a moment, names, faces and stories come flooding into my mind: people who made massive and radical decisions to commit to x or throw themselves into y, sometimes at great personal cost. Yet the fruit of those risky decisions runs on and on and will have impact in eternity to come. I also think about those who have faced unexpected and painful life-altering challenges, and yet didn’t allow these to steal the joy that is found only in Jesus. I’m stunned and humbled at the way so many people have poured their time, talents and treasures into helping us as a church move further into God’s picture of the preferred future. Seriously, church family: you are amazing! I love the sacrificial serving that I have experienced in our church community. It really is very special. I also think about the many people who have come to know Jesus over these last few years; stories of God wonderfully saving and redeeming people; stories that will be told through all of eternity as a testimony to the triumph of Jesus at Calvary. I’m reminded of the countless faces of those people who we have been touched with the love and kindness of Jesus through our many local outreach and global ministry partners. There is something beautiful when God’s people get caught up in grace-motivated action.

Cypress Lake, what I’ve just described is a wonderfully rich soil for God to continue to come into and to plant a new season of extraordinary fruitfulness. Be assured and encouraged that the best is still to come.

CT Studd has said: “Christ wants not nibblers of the possible, but grabbers of the impossible”.

Cypress Lake United Methodist Church, may I encourage you over this coming season, in prayer together, to become grabbers of the impossible for the sake of the thousands here in Fort Myers who do not know Jesus as their Saviour, friend and Lord.

I want to take a moment to thank the many laity who I have had the privilege of partnering with over these last eight years.  From you I have experienced love, encouragement, and a true desire to equally share God’s call and claim upon our lives.  I have also been blessed to work with talented and passionate individuals who have been members of the staff.  We have all been blessed because of their dedicated service to God, our church, and community – here, there, and everywhere. Please join me in praying for these wonderful leaders.  We know God is going to add others into this mix over the coming season, but right now let’s pray for God’s wonderful protection, energy, wisdom and guidance to be upon them.

Finally, let me express my love and gratitude for you. I feel so enriched because of who you are and what God is doing among you, and that you have given me the privilege of leading for these years among you.

My friends, never lose sight of the fact that you were made to delight in God; that you have been called to be radical disciples of Jesus Christ, to demonstrate the goodness of God’s kingdom by caring for the poor — the least the last and the lost, to pray for the sick, and to declare the unchanging Gospel to the world in an unapologetic way.

 

With much love,

Thom