There are many things that I could say as a Pastor at the beginning of the New Year. The one thing that I did want to say to all those that are our part of the ministry of Living Hope is “Thank You.”
I am constantly reminded that the ministry of a local church is not the ministry of one person. There is no way that I could even begin to fill are the needs of our congregation and community. The involvement of a significant number of people makes our ministry possible from week to week and from year to year. It is incredible to think that we are in our 16th year of ministry. I want to say thank you to all of those that do so much to make Living Hope a reality.
I want to begin by thanking you for your commitment to the Lord. I see that in your love for God’s Word. I believe the Bible states it best, “And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13) It is a very special blessing to be able to minister God’s truth to those that are hungry for it. I want to say thank you for your commitment to first learning God’s Word whether through the weekend service or through your personal devotional time. I also want to commend you for treating it as God’s instruction to be obeyed. This is part of what makes Living Hope so special, because the Living Word is living in us.
I also want to say Thank You for your faithfulness in giving. I know that finances can be a sensitive subject in some churches but not at Living Hope. Thank you not only for your sacrificial giving to make our ministry a reality, but for also “getting it” that this is part of being a follower of Jesus. The Lord is stretching us as a church in this area as we work towards developing our property. Our obedience in following the Lord is challenging us to trust Him in this area. Thank You for stepping out in faith. I am also excited for how the Lord is going to use our sacrifices in the years and decades ahead (should He tarry.) Again God’s Word says it best, “And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only… I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.” (Philippians 4:15, 18)
And finally, Thank You for caring about others. This is another incredible blessing to me, to see God’s people looking out for each other. This can be seen in the sacrificial ministry that happens in everything we do each week and also in personal relationships throughout the week. The Bible again states it best, “For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,” Ephesians 1:15–16
-Pastor Joe Parkinson