Happy New Year!

My family’s 2019 will already be different than any other year of our lives as the realization that a new child, the next generation, is scheduled to arrive in June hits home. There are still six months to go but I can’t even begin to imagine the changes a baby will bring to our family and to Ryan’s. Change, friends, is always a given in life and this change is one we are so blessed to be waiting for!

As humans we are clearly linked to our calendars even though time brings changes at unexpected intervals—usually when we least expect them. Resolutions for the New Year never lock in what will occur, and we can never predict the curves along life’s highways that change our destinies and plans. However we each can be prepared as people of faith to live our days by following the lead of Jesus. The only guarantee any of us have is the one Jesus provided to us through the cross and Easter morning’s empty tomb!

There is another guarantee that I have now witnessed for 2½ years. It is the guarantee that any person entering St Paul’s United Methodist Church on a Sunday for worship will be made to feel as welcome as if they have been attending this special church for years. In 2018, 13 individuals chose to join St. Paul’s and we already have a significant number ready to become members in the Spring. It’s all because of this loving and welcoming church family!

I would argue that a church family can also make a difference through their spirit of loving invitation. On Christmas Eve one of our members brought “the neighborhood” and they filled more than one pew for worship. In 2019, we need to do better in that aspect of welcome and faith. St. Paul’s needs to become known as the church that invites neighbors, friends, family members, and strangers to God’s House on Sunday. Get them in the “stream” so that the Holy Spirit can rush over their lives. By May 1, I am confident that we can have 130 people or more in worship every single Sunday morning. Just imagine what we will be able to do for Jesus Christ when our numbers are at that level!

Everyone is encouraged to join one of our Bible studies. Two of the studies you can do from home using the online ZOOM program.

Missions and serving God are part of every Christian’s DNA. Family Promise continues to need “missionaries” to serve as welcoming hosts; our Red Bird team has already doubled in number (more to come on that August trip) but can use more team members of any age; and we continue to find ways to help those in Camden and our immediate neighborhoods.

2018 has become part of our history. I am thankful to have shared the year with you and witnessed all those kids in VBS, a mission team to Red Bird, and great worship moments.

2019 is in front of us and when this coming year ends we will all pause to review the changes that occurred, the expectations that were met, and the surprises that blessed each of our lives wherever we may have journeyed to.

My prayer for each member of the extended St. Paul’s family is that all of you continue to showcase your love of God in your loving and inviting relationship with others. I pray that we each discover how God wants to use our gifts and talents in the coming days, even if it means we change what we have been doing in the past.

Let God’s love and peace bless your life and those you love! May 2019 prove to be your greatest year yet with God, with Christ, and led by the Holy Spirit!

Blessings!

Pastor Dave

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