January 2006



I praise God that throughout this last year our Church has remained a refuge where His Word is increasingly cherished in our hearts and upheld in our lives.

Let us thank God for the McBrides and Sue Young who did so much to keep things going while I was gone following my spinal surgery.

I also praise God for the new believers He has brought to our Church this year. I am so  grateful that they have been “taken under the wings” of more mature Christians. I greatly look forward to their upcoming baptisms.

Let us also praise God for His faithful, financial provision. We have been tested, as in recent   years, but God has revealed that once again He is faithful.
We make our offerings first to further the Great Commission knowing that God will then provide what we need to take care of the physical needs of our families. Confidence that God will provide is certainly not why we give, but it is most definitely the inevitable blessing of sacrificially worshipping God in this area.
Throughout 2005, believers within our Church provided for the financial needs of our “missionary partners.” They also met the needs of the saints within our flock who were experiencing difficult times. They did this knowing that God will faithfully provide for His own beloved Church family as in His Word He has clearly promised
-Matthew 6:33: But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.


There is no way to specifically thank all those who blessed our Church with their service during the holidays. They would not want me to mention their names anyway. The attitude that dominates in our Church is that of serving the Lord without any desire for recognition from others.

As an illustration of serving the Lord, not man, I want to mention the Angel Tree ministry. This ministry allowed many families in our Church to enter the homes of the unsaved with Christmas gifts and more importantly with the love of Christ. These families were also given the gospel literature which they could later refer to if they were moved, by the Holy Spirit, to read. Families also entered these homes looking for opportunities to bring the good news of Christ with those who did not know Him. And yet, despite all those who were involved, I am completely unaware of the believers who served in this ministry with the exception of those who headed up this ministry. In my opinion this is a blessed way to serve the Lord.


I would be remiss without expressing our gratitude to the young adults and those who lead the Youth Ministry for the way in which they brought the love of Christ to our community. They formed small teams, baked Christmas goodies, passed these out to their neighbors, provided many with gospel information and invited them to come to Church on Christmas morning. They conducted a free carwash that impacted many in the community, and served as "waiters" at our Christmas party while some also ministered to us musically.
The Christmas season was highlighted by excellent teaching from God's Word on the theme of Christmas from the pulpit throughout December, at the Lutheran Home, and at our Christmas party. And the young ones ministered to the Church family and at the Lutheran Home with their joyful singing. They were such a blessing.


Since this is the 1st day of the New Year, most of us are reflecting upon last year and seeking ways to be a greater blessing to the Lord in 2006. James 4:13-17 is a perfect passage to meditate on so that we might effectively use the New Year to advance God's will and glory. With the above mentioned text in mind, let me express the kind of attitude James urges us to maintain if we are to keep God at the center of our plans for the New Year.
1.  Cooperation:  We are to plan in joint cooperation with God.  Our plans are to be initiated and carried out by Him but our exertion and full cooperation of course plays a vital role in accomplishing God's will for the coming year.

2.   Preoccupation:  We are to absorb ourselves in His interests. His agenda. His concerns. Our plans are to implement His perfect will.

3.   Dependence:  Having planned, we are to remain flexible and watchful in childlike faith. We are to stay sensitive and flexible, allowing God to guide and alter our efforts.

4.   Confidence:  Those who keep God at the center of their plans have the confidence of knowing that the Lord, who knows all and controls all, is accomplishing His eternal purposes through our daily activities. 

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Community Church of the Santa Ynez Valley
240 E. Highway 246
Buellton, CA 93427