This is going to be a different kind of post that doesn't have a picture to go with it, so I thought I would post our Christmas card from this year. We hope each and every one of you has a wonderful Christmas!
Now, for the post. We received our church newsletter in the mail today and I always read the letter from our pastor on the front page immediately. He is so full of wisdom and there is always a wonderful message. I LOVE what he did for this message...he wrote a New Year's Prayer and it is so good I thought I would share..some of the lines pertain to our church, but they could be said by anyone about their church. (If you don't have a lot of time, scroll down and at least read the part I put in italics...it is worth reading.) Enjoy and God bless you during this season and all of next year.
Touch those in our church family who are struggling, whether it's from the economy or living in a broken family or experiencing a chronic or terminal illness or struggling with grief or fighting an addition or coping with abuse. Bring your healing and hope into their lives. Work as only you can to bring good out of the bad they are experiencing.
Refuse to let what seems to be an evergrowing list of things that need fixing - things like greed, terrorism, diseases of poverty, bigotry and hatred - undermind your vision for creation. Help us hold our world and those who are suffering in our hearts of prayer. Show us what we can do to make a difference. Embolden us to act.
Mold our church into the kind of church you intend us to be. Make sure we are a place where people's lives are radically changed and not just another institution that entertains or fills time. Deluge us with your Holy Spirit. Unleash spiritual gifts that we will use in ministry. Form us into disciples who are more spiritually mature, more compassionate and more generous.
Give our church the necessary financial resources so we can carry out faithfully the mission you have given us. Teach us to use the resources we have wisely. Excite your people to be involved in mission. Make us so contagious in our faith and joy that others want to experience what they see in us.
Remind us again and again that you love us so much you sent your Son to save us. Invite us to see ourselves as you see us through your eyes of love. Fill us with so much of your love that we are compelled to start sharing it with others.
Empower us to dream big. Challenge us to not just see what is, but to see what can be: peace, prosperity for all people, eradication of suffering and true hope. Push us and prod us until we trust you enough to get on board with what you are doing in the world.
Let us experience from the top of our head to the soles of our feet the truth of what Paul says in his letter to the church in Rome, "Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture."
I pray this with hope, confidence and great expectation in the name of our Savior and Lord, Jesus. Amen. ~ Pastor Gary E. Mueller
Wasn't that great??