A Big Thank You!
I am approaching the conclusion of my first two years as Administrative Bishop in California/Nevada. With the General Assembly around the corner, I find myself in an introspective/reflective mood about the last two years and the possibilities that are ahead for all of us in the future. Good things are on the horizon for CA/NV. But for now, I just want to say THANKS!
Thank you for welcoming me and Alice with open arms. The first day we arrived, the State Office staff and their families met us in the driveway of the parsonage. We all went to dinner and immediately started a strong working relationship that continues to grow each day. We have experienced that same welcoming experience in churches, homes, and special events all across our two states. We love serving side by side with all of you.
Thank you for all the things you do in ministry that get little, if any attention, from other people. The hospital and home visits, crisis counseling, weddings, funerals, baptisms, baby dedications, financial oversight, long hours of sermon preparation, heartfelt prayer times and a host of other things are deeply appreciated by your overseer. Every small act of kindness that you have done for a hurting person, is as if you had done it for Jesus (see Matthew 25:34-45).
Thank you for your sacrificial service. Most of you are bi-vocational. You work hard on a secular job and then give of your time, talents and finances to make a difference in the lives of others. Those of you that are able to be full-time in ministry work equally hard. All of you spend a tremendous amount of mental, emotional, physical and spiritual energy to honor the Lord as you minister to others. Thanks for being givers!
Thank you for leading your churches in good financial stewardship. Each month our churches send in their church reports and the tithe of tithe. Because of your faithfulness, we are able to do more together than we could separately to impact the ministry of the kingdom of God. Over the last year, a significant amount of your giving has been recycled right back out to the harvest field in CA/NV to assist struggling churches, help pastors and their families in crisis, underwrite church loans, plant new churches, train new ministers, etc.
Thank you for loving one another. My heart was filled with joy to see the largest crowds in recent years at Refreshing 2014. I watched you interact around the tables in the mornings and worship and pray together in the evenings. Praise, laughter and tears filled the house. We are together. I am thankful that God is making us ONE ahead of the next two year emphasis in the Church of God.
Thanks for loving the lost. I rejoice to hear reports of people coming to Christ, marriages being healed, deliverances from addictions, water baptisms, and Holy Spirit baptisms. Churches that lose their outward focus have signed their own death certificate. As we travel across our region, we are glad to report that our ministers and churches love the lost and the hurting.
Thank you for loving your family. Ministry begins at home. I appreciate your love for your spouse, children, grandkids and extended family. Your conscientious care for those closest to you provides an example for your local church that does not go unnoticed.
Alice and I want you to know it is a joy to serve with you and your family on the frontline of ministry in CA/NV. Keep up the good work. See you at the Ministers Meeting in November.