I wanted to say how much we appreciated all that you did for us yesterday. The gifts, presentations, plaques, words, and love offering was amazing. You went above and beyond to show your love for us and we appreciate that so very much. I want to say how thankful I am that you honored my wife and little girl. They are as much a part of my ministry as anyone or anything else. Without them, I wouldn't be who I am today. There would be a hole and neither life nor ministry would be the same. I know Rylee will love her new little slide. I think Billie is out and about spending her gift cards today, so I think she's pretty excited . . . We're certainly looking forward to the Braves game coming up and loved the tickets. Of course, I loved my golf survival kit . . . I received a classic 1970 Johnny Cash record which I think is awesome and one family made me a large picture with "Ryanism's" written all over it. You'll have to see it to understand . . .That's going to come in handy in a few weeks! The words on the plaques were extra special to us considering that you felt our ministry and lives were best summed up by scripture. It's always been our hope that we may decrease and Christ may increase in us. If our ministry reminds you of scripture, then to God be the glory! Many of you gave us cards and we will treasure those and your words in them forever.
It's days like yesterday that can really lift up a pastor. I know it sounds silly to many, but being a pastor is one of the most stressful and loneliest jobs / callings there is. The secular world recognizes it. Most health insurance companies have higher premiums for clergy due to the stress they are constantly under. In fact, one pastor in another state was told by his doctor that the best thing he could do for his health was to quit pastoring immediately. It's certainly stressful many times and it can be quite lonely as well. You hope that all the well wishes, nice comments, and promises are real and I'm thankful that Free Point is a place of encouragement for me and my family. In a time where church has become so commercialized and engrossed in consumerism, pastors and their families need days like yesterday to keep them going. Why one day a pastor will be applauded for his wisdom, knowledge, and spiritual maturity. Yet, he can preach one "wrong" sermon or make one perceived "wrong" decision and this man who was full of wisdom, knowledge, and maturity quickly becomes an immature peon who isn't spiritual and who doesn't love people. I've been on the receiving end of both sets of comments from a variety of people. And one thing I've learned is if people are that fickle with someone they see, it tends to be an indication of the nature of their relationship with a God they can't. At the end of the day, you hope people will love you when you agree with them and that they'll love and respect you when you make a decision that you know is right, but is nonetheless difficult. I've learned that those who really love you stick around regardless and it was great to see a house full on Saturday night and Sunday morning together to reinforce your feelings for us.
Thank you again Free Point family for honoring us. We are truly blessed to pastor our church and we're thankful to have each of you in our lives. We truly believe greater things are coming for Free Point and God continues to pour out His blessings on us and open doors that make no sense to outsiders. But God is faithful and He has brought us together for such a time as this. Together, we can do great things for God. We love each of you dearly and appreciate you and all you did for us yesterday and all you do daily for us more than you'll ever know. We're so blessed.