Farewell Address

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:2-3

This verse has given me great comfort. Not only that he is preparing a place for us, for me…but that where He is, that I would be also! I know I’m at that place now, the place where this scripture is now more real for me than ever. It once was a casual understanding, a future plan in the distance that I knew God would bring me to one day, but today it’s an ever present hope. It’s happening. The reality of this verse is so much greater than the reality we live in. God knows the exact day, but it’s looking like this is what’s next on the schedule for me. Glory to God.

 

Even as I lay here with little time left, I am more confident than ever that even in this, God is being glorified. I’m so thankful for what God has done in our church family, within and through His church. All I’ve been praying for all along this dark journey is that Jesus would be glorified. It’s been so hard to keep that in mind when I’ve been laid out flat, full of medication, and unable to move…but I know that God has been using me in spite of my incapacity. I know God is with me, and by His Spirit I know that He is using my illness to strip away everything that is superficial, and allows me to deal with what is real, weighty, and significant.

 

I have had the chance to pray with and have meaningful goodbyes with all of my family. I’ve prayed blessings over my grandchildren, I have had amazing conversations with my boys. I have tied off loose ends. I have had such sweet and quality time with my bride. Tina. Tina, has been amazing. I’ve never known a love like my wife’s. I took it for granted so much and for so long. I wish I could’ve cared for her in the end, not the other way around, but God knows.

Beto. Pastor Beto, is such a tremendous blessing. Unbelievable. He has been selfless and has sacrificed so much for me during this process. And he has such a love and care for you all. He has not only helped me in the middle of the night, when I have been in my greatest need, but he’s done that all while faithfully carrying out the duties of the church. He is such a blessing to Calvary Chapel Nipomo. I have no doubt God has raised him up for such a time as this. I couldn’t commend him to you as your pastor any more than I am now. I ask that you pray for him and that you trust him with your hearts as I pass the mantle on to him.

Many of you have prayed for me, asking God to heal me from this nasty cancer and spare me from death. While it’s not over yet…it does seem that those prayers are being denied.

But I take comfort though, and you should as well, because the Father’s denial of our prayers for healing will only serve to grant Jesus His prayer…

In John 17:24 Jesus prays, “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.”

As I personalize this scripture, Jesus is praying that I would see His glory…that I would be with Him. That I would be free from this body of death and present with Him for all eternity. Oh the glory. The glory. Thank you God. In the end His prayer is so much more of a need, than ours. The best we could do here was offer prayers for a temporary healing of a broken and beat down body, only to eventually get sick and die again one day. But Jesus prays for a lasting, ultimate healing. An eternal fix to our situation, far better than any healing we could ask for. Being with Him forever, leaving this broken body, and seeing His glory, to live with and be with Him forever…I would be a fool not to be thankful that our prayers weren’t answered.

Romans 8:18 says “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

I am headed for that glory. A glory not yet revealed. A glory much better, much brighter, and much more suited for us as new creations in Christ. This world has nothing for us. This present time, the suffering of this world is very real to me…but we are meant for glory. We are meant to be with Him. I take comfort in the fact that God has promised that he was preparing a place for me, that I would be with him, that I would see his glory, and that the glory not yet revealed, is far greater than anything I can imagine.

I have hope, church. We have a hope. You all are right behind me. Life is a vapor. Long life is a myth. We will all stand before the Lord shortly. My hope is your hope, and what a hope it is.

 

The Lord bless you. It's been a privilege to share the word of God with you. Thank you for praying for me, I pray for you, that the Lord bless you and make you all burning and shining lights in this dark world.

Press on.

I love you all.

Farewell.

We'll see you in a little while.

 

-Pastor Rick