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.
thank God for the McBrides and Sue Young who did so much to keep
things going while I was gone following my spinal surgery.
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
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.
GIVING THANKS TO THOSE WHO MADE
OUR HOLIDAY MINISTRIES SO SPECIAL!
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
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.
KEEPING GOD AT THE CENTER OF
YOUR PLANS FOR THE NEW YEAR
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.
We are to absorb ourselves in His interests. His agenda. His
concerns. Our plans are to implement His perfect will.
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.
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.