“Yes, Welcome 2019! Good to have you here. You’re giving us a fresh prompt to look back with thanks for God’s great provisions and ahead with fresh anticipation for His blessing and leading in the year ahead.”
When I look back over the year past, I am struck by the many in our church family that God has sustained through a significant season of adversity. Cancer has not been the only challenger, but it has continued to come as an unwelcome guest to more than a few. But, God has remarkably carried each affected family along with His sustaining grace as they have looked to Him. What a good reminder this has provided for each of us of just how faithfully God continues to meet us in the times and places of our great need! We are never outside of His care.
The past year has also been one of generous ministry involvement. I’m thinking of the many ministries that have continued to flourish even with smaller numbers due to the departure of key military families from our local fellowship. What a rich time our Half Time ministries provide! A great meal served up by a dedicated kitchen team, AWANA and adult classes moving full speed ahead. And what a delight to have Pastor Tyler joining us in July to serve with us and to lead our youth ministry team! Beyond all this we are blessed to have active men’s, women’s and mixed adult Bible study groups with leaders who give themselves to solid preparation so that a nourishing meal from God’s Word is regularly on the table.
I’m blessed too by the hungry anticipation so many bring to our Sunday morning worship gatherings. It’s evident in your thoughtful responses to God’s Word preached, your ready and joyful participation in song, and in your generous financial partnership to support our ongoing ministries. (We don’t have the final number in yet, but I know that your over-and-above Advent Conspiracy giving of more than $18K will provide hope for Butte County fire victims and care for Elizabeth’s Library’s ministry to orphans and church congregations in Dambashava, Zimbabwe.) What a privilege to be a part of a church family so ready to generously serve and to give!
Now looking ahead to the new year, I’m eager with anticipation to see how God will keep shaping us for greater influence in our local community. Our Cachagua fellowship is about to finish meeting county requirements for legally gathering as a church body – yes, a long time coming, but we’re prayerful that others will be emboldened to join with that fellowship of believers to be salt and light in the upper Carmel Valley.
And we’re continuing to look at ways to more effectively communicate Christ’s love to those who don’t yet know Him in our peninsula and local valley community too. With the formation of our “Sanctuary for the Future” team we are prayerfully seeking those connection points that will enable us to let the savor of knowing Christ be more evident through our local ministries. Partnering with a Christ-centered preschool is clearly a part of that vision as is strengthening our digital media presence and taking full advantage of the use of our facilities.
Right at the heart of where we have been and where we are going is the conviction that God is leading us, that He is Good, and that He has a good work to do in and through us as His church body. While God never tells us ahead of time all that He has for us in the year ahead, He calls us to stay close to Him and to keep an open heart and mind to His leading. And, He calls us to be much in prayer and full of faith, boldly courageous and humbly dependent. All that being so, 2019 can’t help but be an adventure, and I look forward to traveling it with you!