Posted by: Jeff Warren | September 1, 2010

Thoughts on Leaving…

I’ve recently made the hardest decision I’ve ever made in my life.  Yesterday I was the Pastor of the FBC McKinney; today I officially begin my new role as Pastor of the Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas.  Though God’s call on my life has come once again- with crystal clarity- it has been difficult nonetheless.  In fact, I’ve discovered that those things are almost always one and the same; following God is always costly.  Throughout the process I have turned to Jesus, venturing deeply into His character, His heart, and His desires.  I’ve hung out in places like Colossians 1 where Paul offers one of the most comprehensive revelations of Jesus Christ in all of Scripture. There, Paul speaks of the preeminence of Christ- the Supremacy of Christ in all things.  He summarizes his thoughts with, “Christ is all.” Colossians 3:11

Years ago I decided that Christ would be preeminent in my life but the reality of that commitment has played out in ways I would’ve never imagined.  Christ becomes preeminent in one’s life only after being confronted with a series of life’s hardest decisions.  I’ve been confronted with the same question(s) that Peter wrestled with on the shore of Galilee.  In John 21, Jesus is face to face with Peter for the first time since His resurrection.  He’s given up as a disciple.  He has denied his Master and now Jesus will show Him the depth of His forgiveness and the length of His restorative agenda for Peter.  Jesus asks,

“Do you love me more than these?” John 21:15

What are “these”?

  • More than these other disciples love Me?
  • More than you love these disciples?
  • More than you love these fish? (Some commentators offer a stronger argument for this option than you might imagine).

Do you love me? Here’s the weight of this question:

  • As I love you?
  • More than you love any other human relationship?
  • More than your own livelihood?
  • More than your own plans, hopes, and dreams?

As I’ve wrestled with this question as never before, I’ve asked (again), “How would I know?”  How would I really know if I love Jesus more than anything/anyone else in life?  In the end, the only way you would know is if God called you to give up your hopes, your dreams, your loves, – even your deepest and most meaningful relationships- in order to follow Him.  This, of course, aligns with Christ’s words in Matthew 10:37 (and elsewhere) when He says if we love our father or mother, son or daughter is not worthy to follow Him.  Did he really mean this?  He most certainly did.

How would you know?  Well, every now and then in life we have one of those defining moments when we are faced with a decision.  God comes to us and says, “Do you love me more than these? More than anything in your life?”  For me to leave the greatest church I’ve ever been a part of and dive into the great unknown of the future has been heart-breaking, hopeful, sad, exciting, and gut-wrenching.  I know that He has called me to go; so I must go.  It is true, “saying goodbye is such sweet sorrow”.  Some day I will stand before my Savior again, face to face (like Peter) and on that day I will be the one resurrected, following after my Savior.  When He asks, “Did you love me more than these?” I want to say, “Yes, you know I did.”

What about you? What is He asking you to release, to deny, to give up, in order to love Him comprehensively, with your whole life? Seek His face.  Let Him reveal what it is.  Then, do it.  Ultimate freedom in life comes when you realize that nothing is yours and all is His.  Freedom. Release.  Joy.  Christ is all.

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Responses

  1. May GOD Bless!!! Mark

  2. We will miss you. Very much. May the Lord bless your faithfulness.

  3. I am sure you have probably read “Radical” by David Platt. John had the MLT read it recently. It is incredible. Much of your blog post reminds me of the book. To give up much, or everything, for Him. Jeff, you are as always, an inspiration. I will continue to pray for you and the family. We already miss you but pray that His blessings will be poured down upon you and your new church family.

  4. Dear Jeff, We greatly appreciate you sharing your heart with us at this time and want you to know that we say AMEN to what God has showed you to do despite the pain that brings to you, your family and your church family.
    Know that we here in South Africa are praying for you and your precious family at this time.
    In the Love of Jesus,
    John and Barbara

  5. Jeff,
    I watch on line as you broke the news to Mckinney of your decision to leave to pastor Park Cities. Even through the computer screen it was evident that although that time was difficult, one thing came through loud and clear, your love for Jesus and your desire to serve him outweigh where you serve him.
    I have held onto 1 Samuel 2:30 and I believe you do to, you have honoured him, and He will honour you in this new adventure with Jesus.
    God bless.

  6. Hi Jeff, not sure if you remember us- Marc and Charity- we lived in the mission house but have now returned to the UK. We sure loved FBC McKinney and we too were watching online when you resigned. We were shocked but thought that you love for Jesus just shone through very clearly and we know you are following Him. Blessings to you and your sweet wife as you move to PC. Thank you for listening and caring while we were there!

    Blessings,
    Charity and Marc and the girls

  7. God bless in your new direction! Could God ask me to move on from my marriage to take care of my sick mother? I am struggling with it..

  8. Welcome to PCBC! We rejoice in your coming to be our pastor. We will be in prayer for our brothers and sisters at FBC McKinney. The Lord is faithful and will provide. We are ready to work with you as you lead.


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