Life makes some subtle – and not so subtle – changes around our church this week.  It’s been a long time coming, but we are finally going to welcome Colleen Ishimaru to our staff on Thursday.  Colleen will be working part-time developing our ministry to children.

What that means is a significant transition for Pastor Bruce.  He’s not going to be the go-to guy for children any more. He has served as “that” guy for years and influenced a generation of children at Peninsula.  Known for his creative sets and designs and ministries, life will change around here in four days. Perhaps we ought to do a bit of reflection.

Who will ever forget the airplane flying through the Worship Center during Vacation Bible School.  Or the giant fire-breathing creature.  Or the musicals which made our toes tap and God’s Word memorable to children.  Or the amazing Harvest Festivals.  It’s been a long and faithful run for Bruce.  We are grateful for his labor and effort and vision that he has brought to our ministry to children.

Oh yes, and then there is that photo of him in our files lurking around like Gollum (of “Lord of the Rings” fame).  He pays handsomely to keep that under wraps, but I could be persuaded to release a copy if the price is right.

Perhaps you didn’t know that the mild-manner Pastor Bruce is quite the lover of pranks.  I think he has at least a Masters degree in Prankology.  He’s been known to leave a dead snake on a desk.  Or lead the team to “redecorate” any staff office.  Or leave a homemade “rat” in an office during our recent mouse invasion.  If something seems askew, it probably is – and there is probably a Pastor Bruce lurking somewhere in the creative or planning or execution phase of any hilarious operation.  Never let your guard down with the mild-manner Bruce around.  Never.  Fair warning, if you didn’t know.

But change is inevitable.  As he transitions into his role as Pastor of Discipleship, he is excited – and so are we.  He will focus now on how we can all grow in our walk with God and with each other.  He will bring his same creative vision and his same careful planning to this new role.  This new phase of ministry is something that Bruce has wanted to do for a very long time.  He’s very pleased that Colleen is finally arriving this week.  He smiles a lot these days.

So there is a new face to get to know – Colleen’s.  And there are ministry adjustments to be made.  It’s not going to be the same old Peninsula.  And that’s a good thing.  The change is only beginning this year.  I’m serious.  Daring Faith requires some bold moves.  Some experiments.  Some leaps of faith.

But fear not, the message will not change.  The focus will be on the cross and the Savior –and, of course, His resurrection.  We will stick with the Word.  And may the hand of the Great Shepherd continue to lead our flock and our lives for His glory.

So this morning, an extra hug for Bruce is in order.  And a big “thank you.”