In this season of giving thanks, reflecting on gratitude, I want to give thanks for the people of Hope Church.
So often, as a pastor, I teach or organize a group, I counsel people, or make decisions regarding a ministry. I am working at making groups work together, encouraging people to be better, instructing people to do more, it would seem.
Yet, this doesn’t mean that I in any way underestimate the good work that you are already doing. Quite the opposite — you all have been doing wonderful work for many years. Thank you.
I am thankful that the people of Hope pray. “I give God thanks for the gift of prayer,” I say on many Sunday mornings. “And I am thankful to be part of a church that uses that gift.” What an honor it is to serve in a church that takes home the prayer lists, prays for each other, and follows up to see how the prayers affected the person or ministry prayed for. There is not a week that goes by that I don’t hear from someone, ‘We pray for you, pastor, you and your family.’ The other pastors, and staff, hear this as well. Thank you.
I am thankful for a church that is open to new ministry, new movements of the Holy Spirit in our community, and around the world. Recently, the Lao members were encouraged by the other members at Hope who took an interest, through the Walk for Water campaign, to fund flood relief in the southern part of Laos. Money was sent through a pastor there to bring clean water and rebuilding to an area that had earlier rejected the Christian Church. The witness of God’s goodness was present. And I use this as just one example of Hope Church, a church loyal to ongoing ministries while readying itself for that which lies ahead. Wider in the Kingdom? Or closer in community? Oh well, let’s do both if that is what the Lord has for us. That last sentence could be Hope’s motto. Thank you.
I am thankful for the care you have for one another. Countless are the times that I go on a hospital visit, or home visit, and I find that a Hope friend has just left or is just about to show at the very place I am doing my pastoral work/visit. “Hey, enough of this unofficial visiting,” I often joke. But, of course, I truly am joking. I love the friendships. Plus, I should add, every visit is official in some way. Hope members know that the Lord goes with them wherever they go, whether it is a visit to a close friend or a stranger in need. Thank you.
Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.
By Pastor Bruce