One Tough Day

Church pews
Tonight, it’s 9:50pm, and I’m pretty tired. Been a bit of an
emotional day. As many of you are aware, this morning, I announced my
resignation as Senior Minister of the Highland Oaks Church of Christ after
nearly six years of ministry. I haven’t cried that much since I saw E.T. for
the first time.

I’m not a crier at all. But, somehow, my love and care for
God’s people yanked the tears out of me today. There were dozens, if not hundreds of cryable moments today…but…

At the Plano campus, it was Bill Toler in particular that
did me in…a delightful wheel-chair bound man with cystic fibrosis who not only
yelled out “we love you, Tim” just as I got up to speak…but it was his impromptu
leading of “We Love You with the Love of the Lord,” after I spoke that got me.
Unbeknownst to most… Bill always gives me a dollar and a Werther’s every Sunday
(don’t know why…sometimes grace takes many forms)…and as I headed weekly to the
Dallas campus,
never failed to muster enough oxygen to say either, “Great job, Tim,” or “We
love you, Tim” on my way out. I’ll miss him immensely.

At the Dallas campus, it wasn’t the standing ovation…it was a
teary Hunter Howard, a 13-year-old boy that I helped learn to throw a
curve-ball, and whose parents are some of our best friends at the church. Tough
stuff. Really tough.

So now, it’s about 10pm. I’m sitting on our patio, hearing a
pool party in the neighbors yard, and watching the flicker of the tiki torches
in our backyard, reflecting on what just happened. Truth is, I’ll never fully
know what the implications of either our ministry at HOCC or our departure mean
fully. 

I do know this… 

God is. Christ is all. The Spirit still abides in us. We
love the Church. We love God’s people.

And that is more than just enough. 

It’s at times like this that I remember the words of my
dearly departed friend Terry Gibboney who eventually took hold of the Great
Prize after a long bout with cancer: “God is my plan A. I have no plan B.”

Plan B will emerge soon. God provides. Of this, Emily and I
are supremely confident: God isn’t through with us yet.

I'll end with an excerpt of our comments this morning. 

…Yet, we feel as
though it’s time for us to open a new chapter in our lives. Therefore, I am
resigning as the Senior Minister of the Highland Oaks
Church
of Christ. Emily,
Anna, and Olivia and I will leave Dallas with lifelong friendships, lifelong
learnings, and lifelong love for this church that will transcend time or
geography. We have loved this church and poured out everything we have to offer
the Lord on its behalf. It’s been an honor to be a small part of the great
things God has done in and through Highland
Oaks since 2002. 

I would like to thank
this church for its grace toward us in so many ways over our time here. We have
been the recipients of countless acts of kindness, encouragement and generosity
in our time here. I have grown as a preacher and teacher of the Word. I feel I
have grown as a leader here. I feel I have grown as a man of God here and that
Emily has grown as a woman of God here. Our children have grown as stinkers of
God here…

It’s here at Highland Oaks that our two children have been born. Highland Oaks is all they know. And, as a family, we were
blessed to learn how to be a Christian family by watching many of you. We hope
is that we have been a blessing to you as well.

We will have the
opportunity to say good-bye more intimately over the next few weeks. As we
examine various paths the Lord has put before us, please keep us in your
prayers. You can believe that you will be in ours in the days ahead.  

Thank you for loving
us. We won’t stop loving you, wherever God leads us next.

Love and Grace in
Christ, 

Tim, Emily, Anna, and
Olivia Spivey

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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