Dear Church Family,
Welcome to 2017! I hope you had a restful and full Christmas time. I know I enjoyed celebrating the Advent of our Lord with you. There is something special about the great expectation of Advent and looking forward to Christmas. Now we turn in great expectation to see how God may use us in the new year.
People often make resolutions for a new year (many of which we do not keep). While many make fun of this practice, I think it can hold some spiritual value. The greatest job we are given by God is to share His love with others around us. Perhaps you could choose a family member, a friend, and an acquaintance - and strive to help them experience God’s love through you. Whether it be constant words of encouragement, acts of kindness, or a listening ear; these small acts built up over a year can reveal a loving God to them through you! So before we scoff at resolutions think about the Kingdom impact they could have.
I am excited for where God will be leading our church this next year. I wonder what ministry, or change, or impact God may have in store for us. Let's continue praying earnestly that we would be faithful and sensitive to God’s leading both personally and corporately.
As we look ahead, just stop and think of all the ways God has used us this past year. We started a food pantry ministry and it has grown into one of the largest church pantries in our community. We added another weekly meeting of Narcotics Anonymous in our building. Ezra Howe, our summer intern, invested in the youth of our neighborhood. We started a partnership with the Literary Council to host and teach ESL (English as Second Language) classes. I am sure I am forgetting many other ways, but it is important to reflect and give praise for what God is doing so we do not become discouraged in our Kingdom work!
Finally, this Sunday also marks the exact anniversary of my ministry assignment here at ASHNAZ. Looking back over the last year, I am so thankful that the Lord has brought Rebecca and I here. It truly has been a blessed time, in large part to your loving kindness to us. I am proud to call you all our church family and grateful for our continued ministry together. Thank you for embracing Rebecca and I so warmly. May God also bless us in the year ahead.