Garen forsythe lead pastor installation service

Tom Rees, Challenge to Garen 

Bev and I moved to Emporia in 1996. I first met Garen in a gathering of evangelical pastors. If you’ve ever spent much time with Garen you find that he is always asking questions. I remember his first question for me. What was my understanding of baptism from Scripture. We had coffee together yesterday, more questions. He is always looking through sand to find the gold.

Bev and I and a few other families created the Inner Bean back in 1999.  In the first year during an open house Garen, Pat and the kids were there. Kieran was knee high to himself now and running around all over. He was a live-wire. I thought to myself, wow, they have their hands full! We were alley neighbors for a while. I have watched you kids grow up and I am so proud of you.

Over the years Garen and I have enjoyed deep friendship. Garen, Jason and I met each week on Tuesdays for years reading and discussing books, sharing life, struggles and hopes.

I’m so happy to be here on this occasion. Happy for the kingdom of God and happy for you here at 12th. Garen is the Clark Kent of the kingdom-- Mild mannered, unassuming, an under-the-radar kind of guy. But he is the most powerful, fruitful minister of the Gospel I have ever personally known.  

Garen, may the same Spirit rest on you in this new ministry and role as in your last ministry. You must ask for it. Elisha ask Elijah that he might have the same Spirit. Elijah said that it was a big ask. Remember James told his readers and us, “you do not have because you do not ask.” Jesus said “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you.

Garen, the Lord through pastor Al, the leaders here at 12th Ave  and Jon have blessed you with a wonderful foundation--a platform for growth. But what kind? Spiritual? Absolutely. Numerical? Probably. But don’t get caught up in the numbers game. Many understand ABCs of church as Attendance, Building and Cash and a typical score card is how many behinds in chairs? Really?

   That is way too small of a story in the kingdom of God to live within.

Rather, lead the folks here in a life of blessing.  Blessing= bestowing good, doing good. Find a way to keep score of how many blessings flow from this Body. When God’s word tells us to “do good” it is telling us to Be a blessing:

Psalm 37:3-4

3 Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 4 Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Galatians 6:9-10

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

OK. Doing good, being a blessing, is not complicated. There are millions of ways to be the hands, feet, ears, and lips of Jesus. Here is just one example. When any one of you are out and about, let’s say at Walmart. Pray, watch for where Jesus might be working and be ready to join Him there. Then you bump in to someone and they seem troubled. You inquire, and they open up and pour out to you. Don’t just say “Ill pray for you”, come in close and pray with them. Bring the kingdom of God into the soup isle. May 12th Ave, under your leadership be known in this community as “That blessing church.”

Paul gave instruction to…1 Timothy 6:17-19

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

Being a blessing is at the center of God’s heart. And when we are at the center of God’s heart we truly experience life. Garen, when you find you need more joy in your life, go be a blessing. It is true for you and all followers of Jesus. Need more vitality, purpose, need some relief from your struggles? Go be a blessing!

I have not been tasked with challenging you, God’s people, but it is on my heart.

Garen will challenge challenged
He will teach...learn
He will led
He will pray...pray with him
He will lead by example...follow

Paul had the audacity to say to the Corinthian church, “Follow/imitate me as I follow/imitate Christ.” Follow Garen as he follows Christ.

Finally, Garen, remember, you are chosen and loved. God takes pleasure in you! Not for what you do or accomplish for Him. You are simply loved and secure in Him and released to minister out of His infinite love and grace. When things are going well, remember He loves you whether or not things are going well. When things are going poorly, remember, He loves you because you are you.

Things will not be perfect. You will not be perfect. Let’s talk about the bucket in the room! This is your bucket. It is beat up a little and a bit rusty. It’s been around a while just like you. This bucket is full grace. It is the grace that all these folks are giving you today. It is overflowing and will be for 6 months or a year. But you will make some mistakes and slop out a little grace each time. Changes you will make here, for some people will spill more grace. If they do not continually pour more grace into your bucket one day they will look into it and there will be no more grace. Hold your bucket out in humility to receive their grace.  

Everyone here has a bucket as well. It is important that you all continually pour your grace into each other’s buckets.

So, to recap my friend:

1.     Ask for His same Spirit to lead you in this new ministry.

2.     Be a blessing and lead others to do the same.

3.     You are loved and secure in Him and released to minister out of His infinite love and grace.