oday is the last Sunday of 2017 and the New Year begins tomorrow. Here are a few of the highlights and themes that are pertinent.
1. This is the second year of our church after our founding Pastor stepped down. The leadership became more stable in this transition period.
2. The young adult group had its first retreat as a group. Many were blessed and touched in their experience with the Lord. Many of the High School Seniors had shared the gospel with their friends and family.
3. Volunteers stepped up to serve in various ways.
4. The Family Night Ministry began to have an English Parenting discussion group. I have heard that conversations were honest and encouraging.
5. The church was not without struggles this year. Many continue to go through family conflicts as well as church conflicts. Others continue to struggle with addictions, laziness and overwork.
6. Earlier in the year both congregations heard messages on the book of Genesis. The experience was enlightening because we followed God’s work since the beginning of the world and followed Abraham in his faith journey.
7. There were some in our church family who lost loved ones and went through some difficult challenges this year. Others stumbled in their faith. A few no longer come to church.
8. Our church had its first ever vision trip and sent a team to Thailand to explore opportunities to participate in missions.
9. Building progress- this year, the church remodeled the kitchen, but unfortunately, we still cannot connect the sewer, the heat is still disconnected and the hallway still has some leaking issues.
10. During Easter and Christmas we saw Baptisms and New Members welcomed to the church and seeing them take initial steps of faith and courage.
11. Christmas outreach/evangelism/pageant- many people came for both services- many who never came to our church before.
Themes and Reflections:
This is by no means an extensive list of all the things that have happened in the church, and this is just some of the things I have observed. I’m sure many of you have other highlights, experiences and challenges that you have faced this year. Here are some lessons and some themes that I sense from all that has transpired this year.
1. God is still faithful. Scripture over and over again tells us that God is faithful to his promises. He is faithful to his people. We saw this through the life of Abraham. His journey was full of many twists and turns. Some difficulties were brought about by the Lord to test his faith. Others were of his own making. Still God was faithful and led him. This was a common theme in the life of Abraham.
2. Following Christ, with each other- Church is hard. Some people don’t realize this fact as they become part of the community. But Christ calls us to walk with each other. Patience is not learned when one lives alone. Obedience and love is only enhanced in community. Part of patience and love is learning to overlook slights and mistakes. Community and life together is also an important part of what forms us as disciples. These challenges are hard, but worthwhile.
3. Retell our Story- There are times however where it doesn’t feel as if God is doing anything. There are times in the life of the church and as individuals where it feels as if God has abandoned us. The problem however is that our view of things is so short sighted. The Bible tells a different story. The story we are challenged to believe is the one where God wins and God achieves the promises he gives to us. Moments of difficulty that seems as if God isn’t faithful are actually times when we can learn to resist sin, trust God and wait with patience. What story have you believed this year? What lies from the enemy have you believed this year? We need to retell our story and believe the one that Scripture gives.