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Monday Memo - August 25

Some of you have asked me for the quote I used yesterday in the message, The World’s Greatest Reality Show.

“Isn’t it good to be obedient, dutiful, law-abiding, hardworking, and self-sacrificing? And still it seems that my resentments and complaints are mysteriously tied to such praiseworthy attitudes. This connection often makes me despair. At the very moment I want to speak or act out of my most generous self, I get caught in anger or resentment. And it seems that just as I want to be most selfless, I find myself obsessed about being loved. Just when I do my utmost to accomplish a task well, I find myself questioning why others do not give themselves as I do. Just when I think I am capable of overcoming my temptations, I feel envy toward those whose who gave in to theirs. It seems that wherever my virtuous self is, there also is the resentful complainer.

Here, I am faced with my own true poverty. I am totally unable to root out my resentments. They are so deeply anchored in the soil of my inner self that pulling them out seems like self-destruction. How to weed out these resentments without uprooting the virtues as well?”

- Henri Nouwen

Henri makes the case for our total need for Jesus, doesn’t he? Speaking of reality, at the request of the elders, I also included this “reality” at the end of the message yesterday.

Now, I want to mention something about our current reality here at GFC, especially regarding Leslie and me. Leslie just had a birthday last week, I have one next month. We will be the same age then, 62! Also next month, we will have lived in Johnson City for 34 of those years.

Next month, our daughter Amanda will be married in Dallas to Ashton Hayse. Our son Rich lives in Dallas and is married to his wife Ruth of three years. Just four months ago, Ruth gave birth to our first grandchild who is named Abbie. I have only held her once!

The reality is, the question being asked with greater frequency is, “When are Tom and Leslie moving to Dallas”? 

The elders are very aware of this question, and are personally asked it regularly. So a couple of weeks ago they asked me, “Tom, are you and Leslie planning to move to Dallas and if so, when?” My answer? We have no plans to move to Dallas. No time frame, no initiative, no prayers to that end. Obviously, we are not in total control of the future, but we may still be hanging around here another 7-8 years or longer. Only God knows. Only thing I want to avoid is ever coming to the point of me needing the church more than the church needs me.

Of course, we are mindful of the future in every step we take forward as a church. We have a wonderful and capable staff team whom I love, as do you. I am truly enjoying being a part of our elder team. Regardless of my role in the future, we will always be looking for pastoral leaders who have godly character, wise leadership skills, preaching potential and a good number of years ahead of them. I hope this provides a measure of clarity, and it is offered in the spirit of James 4:14-17!

Thank you all for such a great place to purse the Ultimate Journey!

Grace and peace, 

Tom Oyler
Lead Pastor   



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