To the Saints at New Leaf UMC,
“ Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to res-cue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory for ever and ever.” Gal. 1:3
If this passage sounds familiar to you, it’s because it is how Paul opened his letter to the Galatians. This then is how I would open my last Pastor’s Pen to the Saints at New Leaf.
When our children were growing up we never said good-bye to them. Even when our oldest, Kara, was head-ing off to Venezuela for a year as a Rotary exchange student our words to her were “goodbye for now”. When Lacey went off to college it was “good bye for now” and when Anthony left us for college and grad school it was also “good bye for now.” The interesting thing about this is that even to this day when we are ready to say goodbye on the phone it is always “goodbye for now.” It is a good way to end every conversation because honestly – we don’t know what tomorrow will bring.
You see, as Christians who have accepted Jesus into their hearts to be their Savior and Lord, we have the promise of a reunion Heaven – Heaven – where there are no more goodbyes. Heaven where there are no more tears and we will live together for all eternity and that is a long time, my friend!
So this is not a good-bye letter, it is simply good bye for now. Saints, thank you for your love and support through all we have been through in the last 12 years, the building project, the illnesses, the joys and the not so joyous occasions. Through it all – there was Jesus. The Rock. Leading and guiding us. Ever faithful. And guess what? He is NOT leaving! He will continue to lead and guide this congregation into the future with a new pastor – one who loves the Lord – at the helm! We ask that you love Russ for he is a man of God. He is the man that God sent here to do His will with His church here at New Leaf. God makes NO mistakes. Trust Him.
It’s been a great ride, folks and this is not a good-bye letter, it is simply good bye for now. We WILL see each other again…if not in this life time, then in the next – in Heaven.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Eph. 3:20-21
God’s blessings and goodbye for now,
WHAT IS THE VISION OF OUR CHURCH?
Obviously we have God’s Great Commandment and Great Commission as our number one priority, we want to love God, love others and make disciples.
“Without a Vision, the people perish.” This short verse found in Proverbs 29:18 tells us that we should not be a people who are willing to “Ready! Shoot! Aim!” We should have a target to shoot at and be prepared to Ready! Aim! Shoot! God has led us this far, and He shall surely lead us on! Really? To where shall He lead? Do we have a plan? How wonderful to know that God met us in our need and loved us to much to leave us there – that He has a plan for our life and it is this: 2 things. To:
Doing life with others helps us to connect in community and establish meaningful relationships.
Jesus had a team He "did life" with. He ate with them, walked with them, and ministered with them. He developed meaningful relationships with them and developed a strategy through which all humankind could be reconciled.
The early church connected in very natural, organic ways: "Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts" (Acts 2:46 NIV). They loved to eat a good meal together, laugh together, and pray together in one another's homes as well as in their large temple gatherings.
Jesus "grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man" (Luke 2:52 NIV). Once you have connect-ed in relationship within the church, it is time for you to grow!
I read this story about a father talking with his daughter and her five-year-old friend, Elizabeth, about birth-days. Elizabeth’s was March 30 and the father’s was March 27. "Our birthdays are three days apart," he said to her. She looked up at him and remarked, "Yeah, but you grew much faster than I did."
That brings us to a question…How fast are you growing?
I know some of us are growing in places that we don’t want to. I am reminded of that as I look at my own expanding waistline! But there is a kind of growing that we are considering that we want to be a part of our lives. This is in the growing of the church – not just in numbers, but in our knowledge of God’s Word while being in Connection with one another.
We are developing a plan that will offer home group studies on different books of the Bible: the first book being the book of John. Scott will then be preaching on what we have studied the following week. This is a great way to connect with others your age within the church while learning by digging deeper into God’s word. There will be LOTS more information in the coming weeks as to how it all works, but plan on being a part of the growth and vision of our church by joining a home group.
So, Connect (join a home group) and Grow (by learning more of His word with other believers)! This is the way it happens! Now, Go Give ‘em Heaven!
There will soon be a meeting for all those interested in being a part of our home groups. Keep your eyes peeled and your ears open as to the date and time. It IS coming!
Pastor Scott Walsh
Pastor Jan Walsh
Child Care & Learning Center Director
Praise Team Leader
Chief Financial Officer
IT and Technical Director
Bell Choir Director
Child Care Custodian