Recently, a pastoral colleague and I were talking about many different topics. It was one of those invigorating, wide-ranging great conversations that happen rarely. As we visited a comment was made that stuck with me. It went along the lines of, “these days, it seems that everything is big — nothing is small or inconsequential anymore.” We noted how people, today, are often polarized on political issues, health issues, church issues, education issues, economic issues and on, and on, and on. With the advent of social media, “keyboard warriors” and some measure of anonymity — an increasing number of people have seemingly lost their “filter” and are quite content to throw out (or up) their thoughts with little care given to the effect of said comments.
Into this milieu, you and I are called to minister for Christ! Perhaps we are prone to lament the many sad ramifications of the societal, cultural and church situations we find ourselves in. We may find ourselves disgusted, discouraged or even disappointed by all the things pressing in on us. As we walk through this period of time, I am reminded that God has ordained that each of us are to be alive right now (Psalm 139:16; Job 14:5, etc.). God has also called us to serve Him, suffer for Him, speak His Word to others AND to remember that He is worthy to be believed in (2 Timothy 1:9-12)! May we take comfort in these realities!
And now comes the Christmas Season. Some people love to start celebrating Christmas in October and others may find this to be a very challenging time. This may be due to deaths among family and friends or other challenging circumstances. Still others may just feel overwhelmed at all the busyness that can come with the Christmas season. I would encourage you, this year, GO BIG, in your Christmas ministry! Make much of the first advent of Jesus! There are so many big stories, characters and perspectives that can be shared regarding Christ’s first coming to earth. Don’t miss out or shrink back this year — especially this year! Ask God to give you real freshness in the preaching of the Greatest Story Ever! May I also encourage you to go even bigger — whether during this Christmas season or as we enter 2022, — by making much of Christ’s Second Coming! Perhaps you could re-read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-28, meditate on it and be encouraged that Christ is coming again! The first time Christ came, He came as a little, dependent baby. When Christ comes again, He will come with great, power, glory and visibility. The Apostle Paul says the Christ-Follower will be with the Lord forever! Finally, in these verses, the Apostle Paul says, encourage each other with these words (v. 18). If you, or your people, need encouragement, why not look into this section of God’s Word and allow the God of the Word to encourage you and/or your people!
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Lori and I want to thank you for the privilege of serving Christ together with you during 2021. We are mindful that many of you have carried heavy, heavy burdens this past year — and may be carrying them into 2022 if Christ holds back His second coming. Please know that we pray for you in general, and in specific when we are made aware of those concerns. If you would like to join us in prayer for the pastors and leaders of our District, this document may assist you in that endeavor.
We wish you a Merry Christmas and trust that in the coming year you will experience — in a deeper way — the power and presence of the Lord in your life and ministry!