Pastor’s Ponderings, December 2018

Come Grow with Us…

…Growing Pains?

Jesus’ final words to His disciples before ascending into heaven were words of instruction for us all, saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.  And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).  Do you hear what He said?  The One with authority over all and everywhere has commanded us to go and invite all people into a relationship with Jesus (Come).  We are to teach them all that Jesus has commanded (Grow).  And we are to do this together with those we invite and teach, with the same unity as is seen in the three persons of God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Us).  Therefore, our slogan of invitation has been “Come Grow with Us.”  It is an invitation to all people to come and grow “with us,” as we learn and work together to advance God’s kingdom.

Discerning that the largest portion of our community who do not have a relationship with Jesus were young families with children, we began to reach out to these families.  We have strived to show them we care, witnessing Christ’s love by feeding the hungry and helping the downtrodden.  You might say, “How have we done this?”  Did you know that two-thirds of the families served by the Devine Food Pantry are families with children, and that many of these families struggle to pay their bills and barely make it one month to the next.  Reintroducing “Food Fairs” and increasing their schedule to monthly have been a huge help and great witness.  Hosting the Salvation Army emergency assistance program has enabled us to help these same families to avoid evictions and keep utilities from being disconnected.

But reaching out and witnessing Christ’s love is only part of what God calls us to do.  Yes, we are called to help others, to do “for” people, but we are also called to walk “with” people, working and growing together in a relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus.  Adding our Mother’s Day Out program and Children’s Church, updating and growing our children’s Sunday school program, and yes, even changes in our worship service to make it more inviting and attractive to young families with children, have all been bridges built to reach new families with children.

Next, we added that special ingredient that makes all things possible, we added the 212 Prayer, asking that “God’s will be done” in our church.  We needed God to lead us to next steps and bless our efforts so we could be a blessing.

Guess what?  It’s working!  Through grants and resources, appearing “out of the blue” (heaven), two outreach projects have been funded for this December.  First, we will be conducting a special “Christmas Fair” in the Briscoe City Park, and two “Los Posada” services of shelter for the Holy Family in both Curcio and Briscoe City Parks in December.  These events will target families with children.  We’ll also launch a “Find Joy This Christmas” campaign, inviting the entire community to our December 16 children’s worship service and activities, and our Christmas Eve service.  All of this will bring even more families into a relationship “with” Christ “with” us.

But with all of this comes “growing pains.”  Reaching out to help others, and making changes in ourselves that enable others to feel more welcome in, not our house, but God’s house is “growing” God’s kingdom!  Have you noticed a few new faces?  Our church is FULL!  It is time to make more room!  We are working on a new second service, designed specifically for families with children.  It will launch soon.  Be prepare for more change and more blessing.  We have not arrived!  God is not through!

Your fellow servant in Christ,

Pastor Harold