Today marked a close to another chapter in the life of the Smuda family. As of today my time at Bethlehem A/G is over. The chapter is finished, and it is time to move on. Officially as of tomorrow I become the Senior Pastor of Trinity A/G in West Chester PA. As excited as I am to assume this role, I can't help but reflect on the past 4 1/2 years. This morning I told my church for one last time (while fighting tears..bottom pic) that when God brings you to a place to help bring change, He will always desire to change you along the journey.
I have my doctorate in ministry after working at Bethlehem. Next week I will ask my congregation to do the same thing I asked a youth group hungry for a pastor to love them the same thing. To trust me! To trust that the past 4 and 1/2 have taught me to rely on God more then I ever had to.
To trust me that I "Trust in the Lord with all my heart, and lean NOT on my own understanding, that I will acknowledge Him with all my heart, and I believe HE shall lead my path and OUR church".
I would not be as confidant in saying that had I not come to Bethlehem, and forever will be thankful to them.
I'm NOW thankful for trials. I'm thankful for the victories. I'm thankful for the persecutions. I'm thankful for the love. I'm thankful for the relationships and how so many people trusted me seek to impart into their lives (which never ceases to humble me).
I'm thankful for the love I've gotten, but more thankful for the love I was allowed to give. I have made some of my best friends and fiercest enemies in N.Y. I'm NOW thankful for both. They have both made me stronger. I have laughed with people till it hurt, and cried when they hurt. I was honored to be trusted to lead people, initiatives, and ministries. I leave knowing I leave nothing on the table. Not ideas, not prayers, and most importantly I leave NO LOVE on the table.
It started with a group of kids wanting a pastor to love them. The next chapter is a church asking the same. I am well trained for just this..
Thank you Bethlehem
It's not good bye....just Until....
Day 1 of Bethlehem
Last day at Bethlehem (holding back the tears)