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Do you remember saying good-bye to someone who was really important in your life? How did that make you feel? Did you have trouble picking the right words? Did you have to rehearse it many times over?

I once visited a man who was in his 40’s and he was battling Lou Gehrig’s disease. He knew he was dying because he was the third brother who had gotten that dreaded disease and all three of them died in their 40’s. He was sitting on a chair in front of a fire place with a blanket wrapped around his body. He spoke in a whisper and had to catch his breath with every word. He was so exhausted that day, more than usual. I asked him what he had done that day and he said he was trying hard to finish a video that was going to be his parting gift to his two teenage sons.

I never found out whether he completed the video, but I am glad I asked him what he was planning to include in it. He gave me a little preview. He wanted them not to be angry because their dad had left them so early. He thought that bitterness would set them back. He wanted them to grow up together as real brothers and stop quarreling over small stuff, among other things.

I looked at that man and hoped to God I would never have to go through the agonizing experience of recording parting words to my young children.

Unfortunately, parting words are part of life. Jesus had some parting words for His disciples. It happened shortly after He was resurrected from the dead.

The story is recorded for us in John 21, a most inspiring account of Jesus’ third post-resurrection appearance. The person at the receiving end of the words was Peter.

Not surprisingly, John records only three words, which Jesus repeated three times: “Feed My Sheep.” You get the idea that this was kind of important. Jesus was going to go back to the Father soon and His last words to the one who was to become the leader of the church were not “Conquer the World,” “Build an Empire,” or “Save the Whales.”

Instead, the words were localized, personalized, and almost provincial. They speak of investment in relationships, mentoring and nurturing; of blood, sweat and tears. And that’s where the rubber meets the road when it comes to fulfilling the vision God has given us for Grace Church.

This Sunday we will give you several tangible ways in which you can engage the mandate to “lead people to Christ and coach them to live for Him with purpose and abandon” and be fed in the process. Don’t miss it!

 

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

 

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