February 12, 2019
To the Saints of FUMC Sterling City –
Melanie, Ella, and I are being appointed to St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in San Angelo this summer (the first Sunday for pastors in new appointments will be July 7, I believe). This has happened quickly, and we were introduced at St. Luke’s last night. I am thankful we still have a good amount of time together in this charge! I am sorry that some of you have not heard this from me personally, but with our social media world it is simply impossible for me to connect to everyone personally before making this public announcement.
When news of my appointment here became public nearly 5 years ago, my phone rang. It was from a pastor whom I know but am not especially close to. He is now in a leadership position in the conference. He said, “I have one word for where you are going...heaven.” How prophetic he was! We have been so blessed to be the pastoral family here! Though my appointive role will end here in July, we don’t have to stop being friends. I am so thankful for the many eternal friends we have made here and have no desire to sever those friendships!!! They will simply transform into a new stage.
As many of you know, we did not ask to be moved, nor did you ask for a new pastor. I hope you will see, as I do, that our Cabinet has a high calling. They have a tremendously challenging and important role in our connection. Their will is to prayerfully, and led by God’s Holy Spirit, connect clergy with mission fields as best as possible for the furtherance of Christ’s Kingdom. I am thankful for the work they do and have been so blessed by it. The same Lord who led us to seminary, and to Alice, and to Sterling City is calling us to San Angelo in July. How can I keep from singing God’s praises and going where I am called? I cannot. I have no other choice than to live knowing our new appointment is the will of God.
I have no doubts you will open your hearts graciously once again to the next pastor here. I do not know yet who the next pastor will be. One of my favorite Scriptures, from one of my 66 favorite books, is Revelation 21:5:
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new…”
I discovered something interesting earlier today. The new pastor here will preach one day (July 7) before the 40th anniversary of the opening of the current sanctuary (July 8, 1979). Wow! In one sense, SCFUMC is nearly 129 years old. In another sense, each of our gatherings is unique and on July 7, part of the church will be brand new! Yeah God! Melissa Orsak will be in contact with our District Superintendent, Andy Smith, very soon about the next steps in the appointment process. Watch for meeting notices from her, things could (though we never know) move fairly quickly.
Finally, I remind you all that change happens regardless. You may remember that I preached a small series on a short book (you can probably read it in one sitting) titled, “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson, M.D. It is a fantastic book. You may want to read it again, or for the first time. I believe I will. Cheese in the book represents, in short, whatever we are trying to hold onto and freeze in time, if you will. I share again 6 of the major teachings of the book:
“They Keep Moving the Cheese”
“Get Ready for the Cheese to Move”
Smell the Cheese Often So You Know When it is Getting Old
(NO Need to sniff me, please, I assure you I am getting old!)
Adapt to Change Quickly
The Quicker You Let Go of Old Cheese, the Sooner You Can Enjoy New Cheese
Savor the Adventure and Enjoy the Taste of New Cheese!
(Please no biting the new pastor in July)
Be Ready to Change Quickly and Enjoy It Again & Again
They Keep Moving the Cheese
As I said above, in this case, I believe God is moving the “Cheese.” And, the task for all of us is, and will remain, to spread God’s cheese (his gospel in this metaphor) to a hungry, hurting world. Lord help us do so!
It is a privilege being your pastor!
Rev. Jim Noble