Dear Friends in Christ,
As I type this newsletter I realize we are standing at the threshold of a new year. I don’t know about any of you, but as for me I am blown away by how fast 2017 went by. As I grow older, I have come to the conclusion that the onward march of time has definitely quickened its pace. Yet, I have also come to the reality that since I am not able to do anything about the situation, I must do what I can to make the best use of the time God has given me in this world. I continue to pray for the Holy Spirit’s help so I might carry out such a noble task faithfully.
As we begin this new-year, how do you see the future unfolding? What are your goals and aspirations? What is it you want to accomplish over the next twelve months? Is shedding a few pounds, getting into better physical shape, and establishing a more-healthy lifestyle, part of your plan for 2018? Certainly, those would be some very positive changes to implement into your life.
Maybe you are planning to make some adjustments in your job and your work schedule, with the hope it will help to reduce the high stress level you have been experiencing in your life. For you to be able to get relief, from the emotional and psychological pressures that are weighing you down, is something you would greatly appreciate as you slip from one year into the next. Oh, what a wonderful thought or idea that is for anyone to consider as the new-year dawns.
If a new start is what you are looking for in 2018, I have just the thing that might inspire you and help you to become a healthier person physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. As we begin our journey into the twelve months that lay before us, I am making available to our members a schedule that will guide them through a one year reading of God’s Holy Word. This schedule is laid out in a way that makes being able to read the entire Bible in 365 days a reality. I personally have never read the Bible in an intentional manner from start to finish. I have definitely read a huge portion of Holy Scripture over the years, but have not followed a set program like this one. I will be participating in this venture along with everyone else who takes on the challenge. I look forward to getting started and I am excited to see what God has in store for me as I study His Holy Word. May each of you prayerfully consider joining me on this year long walk through the Bible. In the book of Acts we hear some very captivating words from the Lord about being in His Word. “Now these Jews (Bereans) were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the Word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were true.”
As we ready ourselves to head into 2018, there is another area of importance I want to take the opportunity to reach out to each of our members about. God has certainly blessed every one of us with a variety of gifts, talents, and resources. He alone has given us all that we possess and He desires you and me to use everything in a way that glorifies Him, helps others, and provides for our own personal needs. As the Giver of all we have the Lord wants us to be good stewards of those possessions be it time, talent, or treasures. As members of Emmanuel, and more importantly God’s family, we need to assess the many blessings God has poured out on us and see where we might be able to use them for His purpose. Here at Emmanuel we have a great need for volunteers in all areas of ministry. We have a shortage of volunteers to help out with our worship services, our outreach activities, our fellowship events, and many other ministerial functions. Ministry cannot be carried out effectively if we only have a limited amount of people who will step up to help.
Also, whether we want to admit it or not, there is the reality that our church needs financial support. We have certain expenditures which are ongoing week in and week out. We have salaries for our two staff members and organists that need to be paid. Lights, heating and cooling, water and sanitation costs are monthly bills we are responsible for. There are additional expenses incurred by our congregation for our worship services, outreach activities, Christian education programs, and day to day ministry needs. These things continue here at Emmanuel whether you see them happening or not, or whether you are in worship every week and hear about them. Each of us are members of the body of Christ and we all have a part to play in carrying out the mission and ministry God has placed us in this world to do. The challenge is to seek out what part God’s wants us to play and then ask for His guidance to help us fulfill His plan for our lives and for His Church. With everyone participating in the Christ-centered ministry we are planning here at Emmanuel for 2018, I know the Lord will accomplish great things.
May the Lord God Almighty continue to bless you and keep you, as you faithfully step into 2018, fully trusting in Him for all your needs, both in this life and the eternal life yet to come. Pastor McCarty