Thank you to all of you who came out for our Annual Congregational Meeting [1/22/21]; and for those who watched the broadcast, I’m glad you were able to do that. Throughout the pandemic we’ve said it again and again, but it bears repeating: I’m so thankful to God for the technology that allows us to communicate! It is no substitute for being together in person, but when that is not possible, I’m very grateful that we can pick up the phone, send an email, or even see each other over the internet!
Although the meeting was long, we rejoice over what the Lord had graciously helped us to do over the past year. To see and hear of His faithfulness and blessing was a great privilege, and to know and support, to pray with and participate in the various ministries that comprise the week by week work of the People of God in this place is amazing—to God be the glory! All the nominees for the three Boards were elected, and we welcome them as they serve Christ over the next year in their par-ticular roles. I want to publicly thank those members who are rotating off after faithfully serving us through their work on the Session, Deacon Board, or Trustees. May God richly bless each of you in this current season of relative rest; may it be a time of rejuvenation!
One important reality was made abundantly clear from our Annual Congregational Meeting: God calls and uses YOU, the members of the Body here, to do the work that he has given us!
Our particular system of church government is Presbyterian (if anyone is interested in a short series on that, just let me know), and the history of our particular congregation is structured around com-mittees that focus on various ministry areas. But we rely on volunteers to move those ministries for-ward and bear fruit; and the three Boards rely on members being both qualified and willing to serve. Please pray that over the course of this current year we in leadership would disciple well and develop members who are active not only in worshiping and giving (Praise the Lord for those who are!!), but also are able and willing to serve when asked.
Two outward focused committees are looking for interested members: the Evangelism & Outreach Committee and the Missions Committee. The E&O Committee especially could use volunteers who have a great love of the Gospel and a great heart for the lost right here in our own community. Several members have recently moved out of state and others’ health has severely impacted their ability to participate in the meetings and activities (though that hasn’t dampened their enthusiasm and willingness to witness!). The Missions Committee has five faithful members and would love to have a few more folks with a heart for the Big Wide World to know Jesus as Savior and Lord. If you are interested in finding out more, please email the church office and we can put you in touch with someone who can talk to you.
Please also be praying for our three Boards: the Session, the Deacon Board, and the Trustees.
“And [Christ] gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, . . . .”Eph. 4:11-12 ESV
This is part of the work of the Session (of the Pastor specifically): we are to be giving the saints both the tools and the example so that they may mature (grow in their faith) and minster (serve God and others). A large part of this work we seek to accomplish Sunday by Sunday as we gather together to learn (our Sunday School time) and listen (to God’s Word preached). Each Lord’s Day is a blessed opportunity (and delightful obligation) to be equipped for the calling that God has given us! Do you look at Sunday morning that way? Are you eager to know more of God’s character and calling, His plan and our place in it? Do you anticipate and listen with a prayer that you would be more like Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, so that as you go back out into the world, you carry His light and flavor? Another aspect of this equipping happens as we encourage small group studies. But the success of this work depends most on God and then on you—a sponge placed in water soaks it up, but a stone just gets wet! Please pray for your Elders as we do desire to do this work better and better as well as to be better and better examples for you to follow (see 1 Cor. 11:1). But also please pray for the Holy Spirit’s necessary and gracious work in each of our hearts that we each might desire and pursue being equipped for the work of ministry!
“Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” (Lk. 6:36 ESV) “The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness . . .”Ex. 34:6 ESV
Praise the Lord for His steadfast love and mercy to sinners like us! And praise God that He has raised up those to serve in love and mercy. Our Deacon Board is active and faithful to show mercy in the name of Jesus in a variety of ways. Our financial support of this ministry arm over and above our regular tithes and offerings (they rely on designated gifts) enables many to feel God’s grace and love in very tangible ways. As they are blessed with help to meet physical and material needs, they in turn are enabled to be a blessing to others. Some might be tempted to discount the tem-poral needs all around us, but we must remember what Jesus Himself said at the final judgment, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me” (Mt. 25:34-36 ESV). Won’t you contin-ue to pray and support this enabling work of our church family?
“Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.” “As each has received a gift, use it to serve (minister to) one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”1 Cor. 4:2; 1 Pt. 4:10
God has given very good gifts to us here at LRPC. We have ample and beautiful grounds (what a joy it has been to worship outside together several times and enjoy creation as we worship the Creator). We have a very nice building (which, by God’s wonderful grace—and your amazing giving, will, Lord willing, be completely paid for by the end of the year!) that is still being used in a number of ways and that we look forward to fully taking advantage of in the future. God has blessed LRPC over the years with many faithful stewards who serve on the Trustees and care for this facility. Much of their work goes on behind the scenes and during the week so that when we do gather on Sundays or meet here during the week, we can do so safely and in comfort. It is also a way of glorifying God to keep this space that has been dedicated to His service attractive to all who come here. We want to care for what God has given us and keep it in good order for the future work He has for us. As the Trustees give of their time, talents, and sweat we thank them for main-taining the facilities with which God has blessed us. And we want to encourage them as they desire to be facilitators and see others use the various gifts to help them in this endeavor. Not all of us can climb on the roof to clean out the gutters, or grab a shovel to spread mulch, but there is no doubt a way for many more of us to work alongside of these servants! So, if you happen to have a skill that they might need, or time to volunteer, please let them know you are available. For these are the kinds of people we need: those who are Faithful, Available, and Teachable.