Beloved in Christ,
Apostles is an amazing congregation! I have sensed the strength of God upon us for the past six years I’ve been here. It has been beyond any expectation. Even during this time of transition, as we pray for the Lord to bring us home, as we re-plant ourselves in this new community, I sense His presence and guiding light propelling us forward.
We have so much to be thankful for. This especially comes to mind at this time of year. I am so thankful to God for all of you. You are more than just my “church family,” you are my extended family whom I love deeply, and have come to appreciate for your personal commitment to Christ and to one another as His body, the Church. Your example of perseverance, forbearance and faith fortifies me daily. Your compassion for one another and the wider community inspires me and gives me so much hope. I am deeply grateful for you, and sense the gratitude you have for one another.
I know the past year has not been easy as we continue at Willow Springs School on Sundays with the set-up and tear-down each week. Yet, it’s been a time of deeper engagement with the school and surrounding community as we are growing in opportunities to serve and growing in relationship. I believe we are exactly where God would have us. In addition, I’m encouraged to see the property on Lee Highway being developed and the walls rising on our new building.
I hope you, like me, are blessed each Sunday as we come together as the Body of Christ to praise God, hear His Holy Word, and be nurtured in His blessed sacrament. We are experiencing true Three Streams, One River worship of God in Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit!
And yet, the challenges continue.
We are on track to meet our operational expenses for the year with your continued faithful giving. I thank the Lord our God and you for your faithful generosity. Additionally, our Destined For Joy campaign brought in over 100% of what was pledged for the three-year giving period. We are so blessed. While that will provide enough to finish phase one of the building project, I know expectations for the completed project are higher than what we can presently fund. According to our latest calculations, we will need an additional $600,000 in Destined For Joy funds over the next two years. As 2018 comes to a close, and you contemplate all the ways our Lord has blessed you, I am asking you to prayerfully consider continuing to give to Destined For Joy over the next two years in addition to your regular tithing. And, if you are among the folks who have joined our fellowship of faith since the original campaign began and haven’t had the opportunity to contribute to it directly, prayerfully consider joining in by giving to this cause over the next two years, beginning right now. I’m aware there’s a third group of folks, the ones who’ve been with us all along, but for a variety of reasons have not given significantly or at all to Destined For Joy. I pray you too will spend time with the Lord and seek His will for you on this. I can assure you that you will be blessed by doing so. For a scriptural basis for all of this, I invite you to engage with our Nehemiah: Foundations of Faith daily devotional series on our blog. I am trusting it all to the Lord, knowing how He moves His people to supply the needs of His Church to spread His Good News.
So yes, once again at the close of the year, I need your help to keep this church moving from strength to strength.
So first, will you pray? Seriously! Let’s start there, with prayer. The financial need is great; it will take a spiritual move of God to touch people’s hearts. The world is cynical about many things. The culture is confused about many things. But I am praying that the Lord will strengthen this church to be a clear light and strong beacon for the days ahead.
Second, will you join with other leaders in our church and take this on personally? Beth and I will look at our giving over the entire year and we will give more this month as we meet this need together. Will you join us? I do not mind asking you to give generously. I never have. I have always seen God pour out blessings as people give. Some of you receiving this letter have moved on, are out of the area, or worshipping elsewhere. I ask you as well to prayerfully consider being part of what God is doing by contributing to our year-end needs.
Finally, I have deep and sincere thanks to you for your commitment and loyalty to your parish church. I echo the words of Paul to the Philippians: I thank God in all my remembrance of you. (Phil 1:3)
Let me hear from you if you have any questions, but I do hope you will respond to this important appeal.
With love in Christ,