Dear Church Family,
This month as I write my goal is to do two things. I want to encourage you with the Word and challenge you to remain faithful.
A Word of Encouragement
I can honestly say that I have never missed my church family as much as I miss you as I am writing this article. They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder and I must absolutely agree with that statement. The words of Philippians 1:3-11 ring in my ears as I think about you all. Paul writes…
3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 7 It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Paul wanted the Philippians to know a few things. He tells them that he prays for them often and when he does, he prays with thanksgiving and joy for them. He cared and loved them deeply. Apparently, there were set times that Paul prayed for them, and every time he prayed his heart was full of joy and thanksgiving towards them.
I can relate to how Paul felt. I miss you all tremendously. I pray for you often, and when I do I am filled with joy and thanksgiving as well.
Paul says in verse 8 that he “yearns” or “longs” to see them again. He says that God is his witness in feeling this way towards them. These were not words that he was just writing down. He truly meant what he was writing, and so do I. I miss you all terribly and in our separation, God is knitting my heart closer to you all than ever before. The absence of your presence to me is absolutely making my heart grow fonder towards you all! I cannot wait for the Sunday that we are all able to come together again and worship our great God together! What a great day that will be! But until then please know that I am praying for you all and thank God for every remembrance of you.
A Word of Challenge to Faithfulness
Please remain faithful to worship with your church family. There is the threat of the novelty of only worshipping online to wear off after a little bit of time. You could be tempted to let other things interrupt this time. Please dedicate yourselves to worshipping with your church family every week. Even though our options of other things are greatly limited right now, the old enemies of laziness or distraction are still there. Please use the worship packs we are emailing you. Watch online, or on the DVD/CD that we are providing for you.
Also remain faithful to your Life Group. I know it is different trying to stay connected through online connection. It can feel a little awkward to be together but not really be together, but we need to make the effort. For some of you reading this, your group is not even able to use this online option and I hate that for you. But please make the effort to watch our Wednesday noon Bible study which will be on our public Oakhill Facebook page every week. And if that is not an option for you please make sure to call, text, or write one another for encouragement and prayer. Let’s do our best to stay connected so we can encourage one another through discussing Scripture, enjoying fellowship and praying together.
And finally, I want to ask you to remain faithful in your financial giving. I know that this can be interpreted as a self-serving request. But I believe you know me better than that. My heart is for our church to have the funding necessary to support and provide for the ministry that flows out of our church through the many ministries that God uses to affect lives in our city, nation, and around the world through our giving. I have read that a lot of churches are experiencing about a 30-40% drop in giving during this time. We of course will be affected by a drop in giving as well. Some have lost their jobs and are struggling. We need to pray for God to provide for them once again, but we also need to be ready to help them as part of our church family. So as God continues to provide for you and your family would you please be a part of God’s provision for His bride the Church. We need to ensure that as we make our way through this pandemic, (and please know God will see us through this hard time) we continue to function in ministry to continue sharing the message of hope to a world that is going to be looking for hope for life. Please remain faithful in your giving so we can continue to be a lighthouse of hope in our community.
I love you and I love being your pastor!!