Monthly Archives: December 2015

My Prayer Of Hope For The New Year – 2016!

The Pastors Pen Logo smallDear Church Family,

Let me begin by saying thank you for the pastor’s appreciation gift of this extra week of vacation. As I guess you can tell, I am not here today and thanks to Brother Ed Roy for filling in for me. I am spending this last week of the year with family in various activities. Thanks again.

You cannot begin to imagine how blessed I feel to have been your pastor these past 8 + years. These years have been filled with both blessing and struggles. But together with God’s help we have overcome and been blessed. As a pastor it is always a struggle to find the right balance. Balance with Church and Family, Balance with Work and Rest. Finding balance is tough. As we go into this new year I have a request that you pray for me and my family. It is such a joy to be called of God to be a Pastor! However, as a pastor I stand constantly in need of your prayers. There are days when I struggle with being a pastor. Wondering if I preached the right Word at the right time. If I should be firmer or gentler. If I should say something or let God do it. If I should be studying or visiting. If I prayed enough or should have put more feet to my prayers. If I stay with people too long at the hospital or not long enough. If I forgot someone or should forget someone. So, don’t wait till you run out of things to pray about to mention me. Please pray for me each day. And remember pastors are not perfect, all knowing, and that we are human too. Pray for your pastor today and every day. And I promise to pray for you.

My prayer for you is found in Romans 15:13 (KJV) 13  Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. This is my prayer for you as we close out this year and for each day of the New Year, 2016.

I am also praying for our church as a corporate body of believers. Can you believe another year has passed? It’s time to take a look at what life has looked like over the last year so we can assess how to move forward. It’s time for each of us to take an inventory of our life and prepare for change. Solomon has great wisdom to share through the life of an ant! (Proverbs 6:6-11)  Christ calls us to commit to actively work at becoming conformed to His image. This coming year resolve to become a person committed to a godly transformation. Many Christians go through life with “monkeys on their back”…burdens that keep them from experiencing all that God has for them. Challenge people to get rid of these hindrances. (Luke 4:17-22)

Jonathan Edwards, the 18th-century revivalist, sat down at age 17 and penned 21 resolutions by which he would live his life. Throughout his lifetime he would add to this list until, by his death, he had 70 resolutions.

He put at the top of his list: “Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat Him by His grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions…. Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.”

Edwards didn’t casually make New Year’s resolutions with an expectation of eventually breaking them. Each week he did a “self-check.” He regularly summed up how he was doing and sought God’s help in the process.

FollowingJesusMakesAChangeChrist calls us to commit to actively work at becoming conformed to His image. This coming year resolve to become a person committed to a godly transformation. If you faithfully do this, you will see your life begin to focus on the spiritual rather than on the passing, material world.

Our church theme for 2016 is HCBC has decided to Follow Jesus.

 

With Many Prayers and Christian Love,

Pastor Rick Signature

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Peace and Christmas?

The Pastors Pen Logo smallDear Church Family,

I am excited! Christmas is getting closer with each passing day. The celebration of our Savior’s birth is such a wonderful time of the year. The season seems to bring, at least for most a calmer spirit and a more peaceful attitude. Unfortunately, that is not the case for all.

If you’re brave enough, stand on a sidewalk and ask passersby the question, “What gives you peace?” The answers you receive will most likely have one thing in common: peace defined as dependent upon circumstances—a solid relationship with a spouse, a well-paying job, or good health. What happens, then, if a couple fights, the company lays off employees, or sickness saps the body? Peace rooted in good situations isn’t really peace at all; it’s a brittle kind of harmony between man and the world. It crumbles very easily.

Jesus Christ is the only One who offers true peace—a lasting contentment that is unbreakable, no matter what missiles Satan may hurl. (Romans 5:1-9) However, a sinful life makes peace impossible because a person cannot experience assurance of God’s care when he or she acts in defiance of His will. When a believer expresses faith in Jesus, the battle for self-rule is won. Submission to the Lord allows His peace to permeate one’s life.

When the Holy Spirit lives within us, we can approach life confidently and serenely. The only way to get this lasting peace is through a relationship with the Savior. Paul explains in Romans 5:1 that to be justified—that is, declared no longer guilty—we must accept the sacrifice Christ made in our place. Justification makes us right with God and opens our hearts to peace.

Once, after I gave a sermon on peace, a woman came up to speak with me on the status of her son, who’d been in a terrible accident. Doctors had given him little chance of survival, but he was slowly recovering. “What you said about peace passing our understanding is true,” she said to me. Even when her son was on the brink of death, her heart had been assured that the heavenly Father was near and in control. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Paul wrote from a prison cell to remind believers that giving their concerns over to God would result in peace. Having a quiet spirit in a storm of trouble doesn’t make any human sense—we’re “supposed” to become anxious; it’s only natural. But our God is supernatural, and He is living inside us in the form of the Holy Spirit, so we can remain peaceful.

No matter what harsh circumstances may challenge our faith, peace grounded in Christ can’t be broken. With the Father’s omnipotent hand protecting and providing for us, what reason do we have to be afraid or fretful? What we must do is keep our eyes and our faith focused upon the Lord. “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You” (Isa. 26:3).

We live in a world of conflict, and we often find ourselves suffering heartache. It’s easy to become fixated on a situation and how it has disrupted our lives. But peace comes from choosing to trust that God will bring about a resolution in His time and in His way.

If you haven’t yet acknowledged to God that you recognize His Son’s loving sacrifice made on your behalf, then you don’t have real peace. Now is the right time to surrender to Him. I trust and pray for you that you will find you heart and mind stayed on the will of God this Christmas, and if so you will find peace even in the midst of war or conflict.

With Many Prayers and Christian Love,

Pastor Rick Signature

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