As we come to the end of another year and my 5th Pastor’s Page, my aim for this writing is twofold; to give a “Year End Review” of God’s faithfulness to us as a church family and secondly, to share an observation and lesson from God’s four legged creation.
Year End Review:
As of this writing, it has been 328 days ago since we came to the Altar together praying, praising, and singing, and at 12:05a.m. on January 1st, 2016 we rejoiced, extended love, and New Year’s blessings to one another!
Between that day and this one, we have endured much. We funeralized our oldest member Mother Helen Crawford, as well as, other beloved mothers, fathers, family members, and friends. We regrettably said good-bye to members who relocated to other states, like Sister Shirley Braithwaite. You “showed up” for members who were going through serious illnesses, surgeries, were hospitalized or homebound, experiencing financial, emotional, or “life” challenges. I watched you sacrifice, rally together and by the grace of God provide love and support by calling, sending cards, bringing meals, praying, visiting and giving your time and talent. It was through all of these things, God blessed, strengthened, caused us to stretch our on His Word, and grow together where we are planted here in Bethany Baptist Church of Christ. Nevertheless, in the midst of all of this we started an all-church Bible study plan, Pastor’s Page, added new members, approved church By-laws, celebrated a three day church revival, Men & Women’s Day, church picnic, secured our first church notary, commissioned three stain-glass windows, and beautified God’s House! Here we are, 38 days away from the end of another year where I pray we will again assemble in the House of God, at the Altar, singing, praying, and praising in the New Year, as we look forward with expectation to the plans He has for us in 2017.
Deacon Holmes and I love to watch the National Geographic animal channel and on a recent segment showing how various animal groups live and survive in the wilds of Africa by acting as a “clan,” sticking together, and not straying away from or leaving the pack. I was particularly draw to the example of the Cheetah group where one of the newborns was a “runt” whose development was slower than other newborns, leaving him defenseless and easy prey for other predators. But, the mother cheetah and other clan members were vigilant about protecting and providing for him. I believe what I witnessed and described above in the year end review, was Bethany Baptist Church of Christ members acting and thinking as a clan which is a close-knit family that prays, provides, and protects our spiritual “runts,” in obedience to Romans 15:1, “We who are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves!”
I remain godly proud to serve as your pastor and excited about what God has chosen to do in and through each of us.
Pastorally & lovingly,
~ The True Meaning of Christmas is CHRIST! ~