Dear members of TLC,
“Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Be Joyful Always.
I must confess there have been days where I have found it hard to be joyful for even a few minutes let alone all the time. I suspect I am not alone in this. The last 10 months have been difficult for all of us, I am sure. For some it has been the enforced isolation, for others the changes to work schedules and routines, for others having to set fear aside and continue working, for some the loss of a love one, for still others dealing with people who are ill and struggling with this virus. However, despite all the gloom and doom, there are many reasons to be joyful. I would like to take a few lines to tell you about what brings joy to my heart as your pastor:
- When I think about all that God has done for us and our families I can’t help but to give him Praise.
- The way you have supported our Zoom Sunday School, Divine Service and Bible Study – When we went to Zoom in March we were all nervous about how it would go. A week later when the church was empty and zoom was our only connection to you, we wondered how many would receive our services in this new format. I am so thankful that you have continued faithful in your worship and for all the comments you share with us. We have rejoiced to see members who were not able to attend in person are joining us on Zoom. We even have some visitors joining us for service. As this will be our primary way of delivering services for now, please continue your faithful support and invite your family and friends to join us!
- Your care for each other – Since our programs went into recess, through our Reach Out and Touch Program you have been making extra effort to call members, especially seniors and others who might not otherwise be able to view our services. In those calls we often can pray with them, hear how members are doing, and address some of their needs. This is so wonderful. Please continue to show this love to each other. You are demonstrating what it means to be the body of Christ, with each part caring for the other parts.
- Your continued financial support for the proclamation of the Gospel – I am deeply thankful for the continued support you are giving for the work of the church. It is my prayer that we will continue to send in our tithes and offering to help support the ministry.
- Pray Continually – One of the things I committed to do during this pandemic is to be more focused on my own devotional life and time in prayer. This has been a blessing to me amid the worry and unease. I do hope you are taking time regularly to be in the Word and to pray to our God who is always ready to hear what is on our hearts. As we move forward as a congregation, it is my prayer that you will commit to being more focused on your devotional life and time in prayer. Let this be a time of Spiritual growth for you and your family.
- Reopening for Worship Services – Based on what we are seeing in our area the virus is still out of control and the numbers are still going up. The leadership team of the congregation is meeting and discussing a reopening plan and what that might look like. Without doubt, it will be different from what we are used to. In addition, there will be many health and safety protocols we will need to adjust to. Please join our leaders in praying about this!
- Continue to Pray for each other and the overall Ministry of TLC
- Give Thanks in All Circumstances – I am certain that when all is said and done, the events of the past 10 months will make for some interesting memories. It has been a challenging time for us all. But God has been good and even though there are many things I wish were different, I am deeply thankful for his tremendous blessings that God gives us each day.
Philippians 1:3-7 says, “I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to think that this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me….”
So dear friends, “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” These are trying times, but also times of blessing. We are in the season of Epiphany, the season which means “to show, make known, or reveal Christ.” Living through the pandemic with an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, let us begin to show, make known, and reveal Christ to those who may not know Him. St. Paul encourages the Thessalonians to be joyful always, pray continually and give thanks in all things. He closes the letter with this benediction:
“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
In Christ our Lord,
Rev. Aaron Dickerson