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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Time to make new friends

Tuesday was my last day as Associate Pastors at First Church of God in St Joseph, Michigan. It was a strange sort of day. Very few people were in the offices and those who were, were surprised to see me.
We got word that the daughter of one of our members was in the hospital and she would like to have a pastoral visit, so I went. When I got to the hospital, I found the lady’s room, but she had never heard of the lady who we thought was her mother. She had never been to our church, but she had been to Crystal Springs Church of God one time for a funeral. I asked her if could pray for her since I was there anyway. She said, “No, just say a prayer when you get home.”

“Anything special you want me to pray about?”

“No. Just general prayers.”


A little later Nancy Barker stopped by my office to say goodbye. That was difficult. She is a very special lady. But we made it through that. The nice thing about being a child of God is the assurance that you never have to say a final goodbye to any of God’s people—we’ll see each other again on the other side.

Next I turned in my church keys to Pastor Greg, our church administrative pastor, shook his hand and told him how much I have enjoyed being on the staff at First Church. I then said goodbye to those who were there, and gave a hug to Debbie (my next door neighbor for the last six years, and one of the nicest and most Christ-like persons I’ve ever met) and finally I headed home to retirement. On the way home I found a left-over fortune cookie from our latest Chinese restaurant visit and when I opened it, I read, “This is a good time to make new friends.” I got a good laugh out of that—it seemed so fitting it was almost uncanny.

Actually it is always a good time to make new friends, so that is always true. I guess that’s the secret of a good Chinese cookie fortune—maybe that should be my next career, writing Chinese fortune cookie fortunes that are always true for everyone all the time in every situation. I’m tempted, but I think not. But I will spend more time on my blog where I hope to share something worthwhile that you will enjoy reading.

I also have two book manuscripts that need polishing and a publisher (or two) to find. I am too young to retire, so now I am a free-lance writer! It would be nice if I could earn some money at this (not so new) occupation, but thanks to social security and a small IRA from the 101(k) that was left over from my original 401(k), and some rental properties, extra income is not absolutely necessary (although Carol may think so).

Well, as the fortune cookie said, “This is a good time to make new friends.” I hope you’ll be my friend, as Mister Rogers would say, and that you’ll follow me on my blog.

Seriously, this day does bring a lot of thoughts and memories. I accepted my first congregation in Hoopeston, Illinois, while I was still in college, in 1965. During that time we have made so many friends and have had the privilege of mentoring, teaching and encouraging so many people I can’t possibly count them. Preaching the Word of God, knowing it will live on in the hearts and lives of people long after I am gone…what an incredible privilege! Singing hymns and spiritual songs, many given to me by the Lord, has also been a special privilege.

Today reminds me of the words of the poet Robert Frost…”I took the road less traveled by and that has made all the difference.”

I'm Rick Blumenberg . . . and that's My View from Tanner Creek.


Cheryl Walberg said...

Enjoy retirement and your "second" career.

Reading your Blog made me relive my last day there. so many wonderful people.

Rick Blumenberg said...

But as you know Cheryl, leaving the job doesn't mean leaving the friends.

Moss said...

Rick you are a treasured friend! I will be forever grateful for all you did to support me in ministry at First Church! Come see us in Dayton!

MJB said...

Love that line from Robert Frost. Yes, it is always a good time to make friends. Here's another quote for you: "No man is a failure who has friends." [from It's a Wonderful Life]

And as far as retirement goes, especially for the Christian, I love the verse from the church devotional for today: "You were redeemed from the empty way of life...with the precious blood of Christ." (1 Pet. 1:18-19) To me, that means that the stage of life God has you in now, He still has a purpose for you...It's just different from what you're used to.

Congratulations on your retirement! Enjoy this next season of your life.

Your FRIEND, Marcia

Rick Blumenberg said...

Thanks Bob! I also treasure your friendship and thoroughly enjoyed serving in ministry with you.

Marcia, thanks for your comment. That was a good devotional, but I hadn't thought of it in terms of my retirement until I read your comment. I know you're right. God is leading and I just continue to follow where He leads.

Beth/Mom2TwoVikings said...

Pastor Rick, sorry to miss your transition but hope it's a blessing and you find success and fulfillment! :)