This passage form I Corinthians 1:4-9 sums up the way I am feeling these days.
4-6 Every time I think of you-and I think of you often!-I thank God for your lives of free and open access to God, given by Jesus. There's no end to what has happened in you-it's beyond speech, beyond knowledge. The evidence of Christ has been clearly verified in your lives.
7-9 Just think-you don't need a thing, you've got it all! All God's gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master Jesus to arrive on the scene for the Finale. And not only that, but God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus. God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that.
There is no doubt that God is blessing the efforts of Mason UMC to write the next chapter of our story. What an amazing year this has been.
The risk you were willing to take to move the Sunday worship schedule around was a huge leap of faith. I am thankful for each of you who made that sacrifice and adjustment for the good of the entire congregation. We have had many new folks visit and stay with us this year. I am grateful for congregation members who bring people by to introduce them to me on Sundays. You are being welcoming and hospitable. You are going that extra step. That's great.
The stories out of RENEW ministry are encouraging. God is at work through our efforts. We have reached numerous people with our social media presence. Our missional groups are growing. Relationships with others outside of ourselves in our neighborhoods are increasing. Where will that lead? God knows! (literally) We are called to be faithful to love and to open ourselves to new possibilities.
Our financial situation is strong. What a blessing to have different conversations around MUMC these days. We approach ministry needs with vision and intentionality. No longer do we start from a place of scarcity. Keep it up! Let's end the "Transformed Life" campaign for 2018 budgeted ministry needs strong.
You continue to surprise me with your generosity when it comes to debt payments. Keep up that work, even though it is long and difficult. We have a ways to go to burn that mortgage, but I want to see that happen!
I hope you know how blessed you are with the staff you have. They give so much of their time and effort beyond what we offer them in way of remuneration. I am thankful to be leading and serving alongside these folks. There are many other leaders who serve as volunteers. I am so thankful for each of you! We could not do what we do without you.
Thanks to the great people you have elected over the years to serve you on the Leadership Board. Each fall a nominating committee of only 1 Leadership Board member and 2 other congregational members go through an arduous prayerful process. One that involves application and interview. Thanks to all who answer that call to serve as members of the group of folks, every member elects at the Church Conference, to "guard our purpose and vision."
As 2017 comes to a close in a few weeks, we will celebrate together in prayer as we renew our commitment to God in the historical "Wesley's Covenant Service" on December 31 at 10am.
I am thankful for a year of growth personally. I am doing well. I am grateful for God's gift of vocation, call, family, friends, and abundant life. As I reflect back on this year, I give God thanks for you. I am proud to be your pastor.
As Paul wrote in the above scripture, how wonderful that God has given us everything we need! Claim that as we begin 2018.
"Never forget that."
Grace and peace,