“Our God, our help in ages past, our hope in years to come” Good words to remember as we move into another new year, filled with optimism and hope. But where does our hope come from? On what, or who, can we depend? Not ourselves, only God and His Grace, Love, will and purpose for us, His children. It is in the true Gospel message of Christmas that we find hope, joy and peace. Nothing else. 4 years ago, I answered God’s call to leave behind my home for 30 years and to begin anew in Shelton: A call and experience I embraced with much hope, exuberance, and wonder. I entered that “new year” with enthusiasm and hope, much the same as I enter into this new year. One day, God will take me from this place and another will come to love, teach, and guide you.
That’s the way it is for Pastors. We come and we go according to the will and the purposes of God.
However a change of pastors is never about His Will and His Purpose for YOU, as a uniquely chosen and gifted child of God. That always remains the same, as does His love for you which is pure and perfect and never fails. It is in Him that we hope, and in Him that we trust, and it is in Him that we find peace regarding our future.
Neither is a change of pastors about a change in His will and purpose for Mount Olive or the community of and surrounding Shelton. That too remains steadfast and unchanging, as is His love for His church here at Mount Olive and for all the people of our community.
And this is our one, sole purpose: Being confident and trusting in the Gospel message we have received, that in gratitude and love, we would share that Gospel with all whom we have opportunity to encounter. This by our words, our actions, and our lives as a reflection of the hope, peace, and joy we have been given at Christmas and was made certain in the death and resurrection of Christ.
We are fast approaching 100 years of sharing the Gospel in Shelton. My prayer is that we will continue in that singular purpose for many years to come. Yet to do so, it is vital that we stand together in the truth of the Word and Promise of God and not waver, for any other Gospel is no gospel at all, and a god revealed in any way other than how God reveals himself in His Word is no god at all, but an idol of our own fashion. Today’s culture may find this harsh: I find God’s immeasurable love and desire for us very comforting.
As we now look forward, know that I have loved you and my time with you. That will always be. I pray to God that He would grant me many more years to be with you as your pastor. I pray for each and every one of you and am hopeful for you as we each enter this new chapter and this new year.
Thank you for your love, your love of God’s church and God Bless you and keep you and grant you peace.
Happy New Year!