I just cannot convey to you the emotions that I experienced yesterday. I was totally overwhelmed by all of the gracious words and compliments that you offered throughout the day, and then when Sonya and I sat down and read your cards and saw your generous gifts…. I just cannot express to you how you made me feel, but I will try. I felt great joy because I know that God has used me in some way to impact your lives, but I also felt such guilt because I don’t deserve the praises that were lavished on me. All glory goes to our Heavenly Father because He is the only One worthy of our praise. And I felt such gratitude that He would bring Sonya and me to be a part of this loving church family. I cannot begin to thank Him enough. Bro. Dick, I can’t agree with you when you say that we have a perfect church, but it is the closest thing to a perfect church that I have experienced in 36 years of ministry. And that is NOT ministerially speaking!
Wasn’t the worship service yesterday just out of this world GREAT! The music was amazing with the Children’s Choir and the Sanctuary Choir joining together. Addie Caldwell and Mike Kilgore both sang down glory from Heaven. And didn’t Curt preach a great message? I’ve never enjoyed being called a Pharisee as much as I did yesterday. Thanks, Curt, for reminding us why we are here.
Now, then. How many of you were able to do what I asked of you in my Thursday’s Thoughts e-mail? I hope that you are still praying about what God would have you to become involved in, but as soon as you know where He is calling you to serve, let me know. Your staff is ready to step in and support, equip, and join you in the work of the ministry whatever it may be. We are already working on plans to make sure that no member of this church ever falls through the cracks when they need our help, and after the business meeting last night, I felt convicted that we need to immediately begin to reach into our church membership rolls and find out where our inactive members are both physically and spiritually. I will be putting together some ideas of how to do that, so if you have suggestions, let me know quickly because I want to get on this as soon as possible.
We are rapidly moving into the busiest time of year for a church because of the holiday season. There will be lots of programs and parties, and I am excited about every one of these, but let’s not lose sight of the reasons that we celebrate the seasons. Thanksgiving is all about our gratitude to the Father for the blessings He has given us. I am grateful that our Good Father knows how to give good gifts and always provides for our needs. And one of the greatest provisions He made was to send His Son, Jesus, to be born of a virgin in Bethlehem so that we would have a Savior who would give Himself on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins. So, no matter how busy we get over the next two months, let’s keep our focus on the One Who gave Himself for us so that we can focus on our ONE that He has placed in our paths who needs us to build a relationship with him/her so that we can earn the right to share the gospel with them. There is no greater time to share our faith than during the time of year when everyone is “sort of” focused on spiritual things.
One final thought on this beautiful Monday morning. I hope that you know how much I love each and every one of you. I have been called by God and you to be your pastor, and so have James and Curt. Would you please allow us to fulfill our calling by making sure we know when you go into the hospital or have a need of any kind? It would be our honor to minister to you during those times in your lives. That’s what we do. And as I say to every new member who joins our church, “If I (or we) can’t be there for you, there’s a church full of family members who will.” I don’t just say that. I mean it!
All my love to a wonderful body of believers,