Dear JPC Family,
Each year as we come to our annual congregational meeting we have to opportunity to reflect on the previous year. It is a time to look at all that was accomplished and experienced as we seek to continue to grow in our faith and to “take God’s love to the world and share the good news of Jesus Christ!” (as our vision statement reads). And 2017 certainly was a year filled with many opportunities to do just that.
However, when I reflect on all that was accomplished in 2017, I’m am not so much taken by “what” all was accomplished as I am by the “how” it was accomplished. So much of the growth that we have experienced as a church should not come as a big surprise, because it is natural for such things to happen when people become active and engaged and truly seek to live out their faith in Christ.
My most favorite hymn to sing (or to hear sung) is the traditional Irish hymn “Be Thou My Vision.” Though my DNA shows that I have a fair amount of Irish in me, I don’t believe that is why I like this hymn so much. I like it so much, because the words of it serve as such a great reminder of the type of relationship I want to have and do have with the Lord. I particularly love the second verse of this hymn where these words are sung…
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
These lyrics speak of a relationship with our heavenly father that is so close and connected that ultimately our lives, both in our thoughts and actions, become transformed to where they become more and more like the mind of the Lord. And though there is always more work to be done to draw closer and closer to the Lord and to have our minds continually renewed, I also know that this journey with Him has been the greatest experience of my life.
I share all of this with you, because I know that I have seen a similar journey happening in so many of you. I know that at the very heart of JPC is a sense of continually seeking a deeper relationship with God so that our church and the witness it has in our lives, the community and beyond is something that truly reflects the Gospel.
We are not perfect, and I know that no one here believes that we are. We have experienced both ups and downs throughout 2017. I am sure the same will be true of the coming year. But I also know that regardless of what comes our way as a church, so long as we continually seek to draw closer to the Lord, He will continue to lead us on this journey in a way that can only bring about a greater experience of the life that can only be found in Him!
It is truly my privilege and joy to be in ministry with all of you and to be able to look toward each coming year with excitement and with confidence. It is hard for me to find the words to express how truly blessed I (and my family) feel to have been called to JPC and to be able to journey in our faith with all of you.
May our prayer to the Lord for the coming year be the same as the title of the hymn, “Be Thou My Vision!”
In Christ’s Service,