Dear Christ Baptist Church,
It is with massive gratefulness that I write this letter to you on the occasion of our fourth anniversary as a church. The purpose of this letter is to reflect on the blessings of God to us over this past year and to look forward with joyful anticipation to the upcoming year. God has been incredibly kind to us (evidences of His grace are all around us). And, His kindnesses have not been exhausted. He has yet more abundance to pour upon us in the coming days. May His past grace urge us to trust Him for future grace.
There are so many evidences of grace at Christ Baptist that I am thankful for. I’m fully aware that there are too many blessing to name. However, that won’t keep me from listing a few. I’m thankful for the way the members of this church serve each other. It brings joy to my heart to see your hospitality and sacrifice for one another. I’m also thankful for all of our children’s Bible Study teachers. You have been a model of consistency and care for our kids. I’m thankful for all of you who have served so joyfully in the nursery enabling members and visitors to sit under the preaching of God’s Word. Your labor is not in vain.
Also, I’m deeply thankful for my fellow elders, Tim and Jonathan. They continue to amaze me year after year as they care for this church so faithfully. They labor not for earthly gain but for the unfading crown of glory, which the Chief Shepherd will give to them on that day He returns. Church, may we never forget that faithful shepherds are among God’s most precious gifts to us.
Also, I’m thankful that the Lord has provided all we need to plant a gospel-soaked church in Goldsboro. It’s hard to believe that in just a few months, we will have the privilege of multiplying ourselves through the planting of Crossway Church of Goldsboro. Church, this is the way God has designed His gospel to spread through the entire earth: through churches planting churches. We have been so blessed by our Goldsboro members over the past few years. It is going to be hard to see them go. But, it is a blessing to send them out and to support them over the next years. I pray that they grow and flourish and expand and reach many people for the glory of God.
I’m also thankful that the Lord has drawn Joseph Knight to Himself through the ministry of our church. It is sweet to see how God has orchestrated Joseph’s salvation and used Jonathan to disciple him over this past year. I’m thankful he is following Christ in baptism this afternoon. His baptism will be the first of what I pray will be thousands over the next decades at Christ Baptist Church.
Also, I’m thankful for our Christ-exalting music. I’m thankful for our women’s ministry. I’m thankful for the young men in our church who have been training for gospel ministry. I’m thankful that we have been able to send members of our church to seminary and to serve in other churches. I’m thankful for our outreach efforts. I’m thankful for those who pull the trailer and help us set up and tear down every Sunday. I’m thankful for all of you who give sacrificially month after month to support the work of Christ Baptist.
But most of all, I’m grateful that this is a church that loves and submits to God’s Word. As one of your pastors, nothing brings me more joy than the fact that you are hungry to hear and obey God. Each and every week I’m free to proclaim the truth knowing that you come ready to behold the glory of Christ in the Scriptures. I have the happiest job imaginable.
This past year has been filled with glorious truth from God’s Word to us. We ended last year with series through James and Micah. In James, we were challenged to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. In Micah, we were reminded of God’s mercy and justice. Long ago, He promised a Savior who would satisfy His justice and dispense His mercy. We began 2010 with what for me was one of the most significant series in the short history of our church: our series through Paul’s letter to the Philippians. That study continues to bear fruit in my life as I strive to say with Paul: “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” And, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” And most recently, we were blessed to spend the summer meditating on how the Psalms teach us about the worth and beauty of our one and only refuge and strength.
I have already been refreshed by our study in Hebrews 1 and 2 and look forward to this next year of basking in the supremacy of Jesus Christ. We have a tremendous amount to look forward to in this next year. I’m confident that God will reveal Himself to us in fresh ways as we wait patiently for Him.
Finally, let me close this letter with a few hopes and desires and prayers for this next year:
• I pray that we fall more in love with the glory of God as revealed in the gospel of Christ.
• I pray that we would give ourselves to memorizing Scripture together for the glory of God and good of our souls.
• I pray that we would spend ourselves in ministry and evangelism.
• I pray that God would bless our simple gospel witness and use our efforts to draw people to Himself.
• I pray we will have opportunity to baptize others who put their faith in Christ and show fruits of repentance and desire to follow Christ.
• I pray Crossway Church of Goldsboro establishes itself as a Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated, people-loving church that far exceeds anything we can ask or think.
• I pray we would learn to see ourselves as disciples making disciples and use our short lives to help others mature in Christ.
• I pray we would embrace the task of reaching the nations with the message of the supremacy of Christ over all things.
• I pray that we fall out of love with the stuff of this world and make our short lives count for the glory of our Savior.
Church, take some time today to thank God for what He has taught you and how He has worked in your life over this past year. And, take some time to commit yourself to Him for this next year. Offer yourself to God without reservation.
Again, thank you for a great year. Thank you for the way you have encouraged and cared for my family and I. I thank my God in all my remembrance of you…because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 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 (Philippians 1:3-6).
To God Be the Glory,