Happy Thanksgiving!

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.” (Psalm 107.1)

I want to take a moment to wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving holiday this week, especially since I did not have an opportunity to do that this morning in worship. I trust you will take time to give God thanks for his many blessings!

I spent the weekend at the “Great Escape” (a Conference youth event). It was a great weekend — good speakers, workshops, and lot of good, loud, praise and worship music! You can read a more detailed account at Joleen’s sermon blog.

I also want to take a moment to share some things I’m grateful for, at this time of the year. I’m grateful to God for all of his blessings on Joleen and me. I’m grateful to God for his call (and his hand) on our lives. Surely, “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father” (James 1.17).

I’m also grateful to God for all of you. I’m grateful for the process we are engaged in, together. God is with us, leading us to new places. Even though it’s very consuming for us, I believe it will be worth all of our effort!

And, now that dates have been set for information sharing and voting on recommendations regarding our future, I’m especially grateful that we are nearing the end of the exploratory phase, and are preparing to transition ourselves more fully to be the people God has called us to be.

On that note, I’d like to share a few things I wrote recently to the Exploratory Team. I hope this will convey my thoughts and feelings on what God is doing among us.

Occasionally, I catch myself taking this process a bit TOO seriously. Now, don’t misunderstand. This process is VERY important; we have life-changing decisions to make. That’s a BIG deal!

But I woke up this morning being reminded of Jesus’ words: “I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it” (Matthew 16.18).

That’s wonderful news! I hope you hear it.

God’s Spirit IS leading us, speaking to us, speaking through us. In the last 2-3 weeks, I’ve been saying, “God will do amazing things!” That’s not just nice encouragement from a pastor. I REALLY believe that God will continue to do amazing things in, through, and among us. Now, what God actually does may or may not be exactly what I expect, but God WILL do amazing things!

God once spoke an interesting word to Zerubbabel (through the prophet Zechariah): “It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the LORD Almighty. Nothing, not even a mighty mountain, will stand in Zerubbabel’s way; it will flatten out before him!” (Zechariah 4.6)

I believe that. God’s will won’t be realized by OUR strength or force alone. … It is by God’s Spirit that God’s plan will ultimately take place here!

Well, as we continue to engage in this process, I’m excited about beginning our Advent journey this Sunday. I am really excited about what God is going to do in us over the next few weeks as we prepare our hearts for Christ’s coming!

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