Dear Church Family and Community,
I have always loved the last week of each year. Before entering the New Year, I find it helpful to reflect on the year that was. It is good to note the highs and the lows, the triumphs and the missteps, and the goals met and failed over the course of the year. It is good to remember what God did, what God carried us through, and how God blessed and sustained us.
Some people use this time to set new goals. I have always liked goals, but not resolutions. Resolutions seem to set people up for failure. I think this could be because resolutions often are made through unattainable goals. Goals should be challenging but achievable. In nearing the close of this year, I am once again called back to the goal of being more intentional about giving thanks to God.
This Sunday in our services, we are going to worship, sing, praise, and pray – all with thanksgiving in mind. We call this last Sunday of the year Testimony Sunday because we spend time in our services giving witness to how our God has been good to us in the year that was. In telling our stories, we learn of how the Spirit has been moving and growing in and among us.
To prepare for this week’s service, please take time to read and pray through Philippians 4:4-9. After you read, take time to note the blessings that cause you to rejoice as well as the situations that keep you anxious. Now pray that God will bless you with a peace through Jesus Christ that passes all understanding. Also, take time to reflect on what God has done in and for you this year. We will be providing opportunity for individuals to share briefly during our upcoming Sunday worship services, and would love to hear from you.
This Sunday is also a fifth Sunday, so many components of our service will be led by our children and youth. We will also be joined by the Paxton Street Ministries Handbell Choir, which will be a wonderful chance to be blessed by our brothers and sisters from Paxton and to learn more about the work and ministry that happens there. And as we do on all fifth Sundays, we will once again take a second offering which goes to support Brethren in Christ Common Ministries and the work of our church’s missionaries.
Lastly, we wrapped up our Advent Series, Creation of God’s Kingdom, last week by defining love as Christ in us, Christ for us, and Christ with us. Advent was a reminder that our God came to our world as a child, comes into our world today, and will come again. My prayer is that we hold on to hope (trusting what God has done and will do), are filled with peace (the Holy Spirit on, speaking to, and moving us), practice joy (celebrate God’s blessings), and pledge to love as Christ loves us. If you missed last week’s sermon or any of the ones in this series, please be sure to check it out here on our website, or through our sermon podcast on Soundcloud, Google Play, iTunes, or Stitcher.
Let us walk into the New Year with anticipation of what God will do in and through us. Let us rejoice for God is with us and in us. God bless and take care.
Love in Christ,
Pastor Hank (Philippians 4:4-9)
P: (717) 561-2170, ext. 104