Goals for new year

Here we are in February of 2017. Time is flying fast. At the end of last year, we set some goals for our church. We want to see more people in Sunday worship service and on the membership list. We want to have a good youth ministry. We want to have a program for seniors. We want to improve on our Family Storytime. We also want to be responsive to our community’s needs. In our church council meeting, people said those were great goals. Now it is time to make it happen. God, creator of the universe, the One who is still creating, still uses human beings to do God’s will, people like Moses, Jonah and Jeremiah. Once the call is issued, an answer is required from the person called. Jeremiah’s first response is “I don’t know how to speak because I’m only a child”. When Moses received his call, he asked the Lord to send someone else after his excuse that he didn’t speak eloquently failed. Jonah tried to run away. To each one called, a promise is given, God will not abandon us. God told Moses, “I’ll be with you”. Jonah’s pleas were heard because God was with him. Jeremiah heard, “Don’t be afraid of them, because I’m with you to rescue you”. God gave each messenger help and encouragement to give God’s message to God’s people. God issues a call, and we are to go forth in faith. Just as Abram was called to leave his country and go to an unknown land (Gen 12:1), we may not be sure of our next step. God promises to be with us; what lies ahead may include danger, rejection, and hostility. God’s call to Moses, Jeremiah, and Jonah is specific: “I will tell you what to say”; “I have put my words in your mouth”. Jeremiah’s calling is to bear divine word to Judah and beyond. That is his task, to be God’s voice to a backsliding world. Look at yourself. You are not too young or too old. The excuse that you are not a good public speaker was not valid for Moses or Jeremiah, and it isn’t going to work for you either. If you are not good with words, then proclaim God’s word with action. In a song called “Do something”, there is a verse that reads, “If not us, then who? If not me and you. Right now. It’s time for us to do something.” Jonah tried to run away. It didn’t work for him, and it won’t work for us now because there is too much hopelessness and need in the world. We are surrounded by people who need to hear what God...

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Reflection on 2016

God is good all the time. All the time, God is good. Who would have thought that so many great moments would happen in 2016? Like Ephesians 3:20-21 says, “God can do ANYTHING!” As a church we’ve seen great things happen this year like: • 11 people become members of our church. • 55 gift-filled shoeboxes sent to children through Samaritan’s Purse! • More than 20 children and parents attend our Family Story Time twice a week throughout the year. • A lot of food items were donated to Second Harvest Food Bank. • 53 lap robes were donated to Palo Alto Veteran’s Hospital. • We support missionaries to Nepal and Cambodia. • We support Teen Challenge. • We provide dinner once a month to families at JW House. • Many healing miracles have been happening among our church members. • Julia Borjeson was assigned to our church as lay minister; and she also won Bishop’s Award for 2016 • The parking lot has been resurfaced. • The apportionment is paid in full. • Finance is in the black. While we celebrate last year achievements, we have been given a New Year. Whether we want to do something special with it or not, it is really up to us. We love new things, don’t we? Who doesn’t enjoy that new car smell, that aroma of a new pair of leather shoes, or the feel of that nice Christmas sweater you just opened? Even now, many of us are making New Year’s Resolutions. We cannot wait to see what differences we will make for this New Year. How exciting! But if the truth to be told, the average time between the moment we make our resolutions and their demise is a sad three weeks. By that time all the newness has been aired out of them; and they become mere chores. Therefore, I would like to offer us a different focus for our New Year’s enthusiasm. Focus on the new year ahead, what are the most important “provisions” that you will need for the journey? When you think about the most challenging times in your life, what are the most important things that have tided you over? Jesus always encouraged his disciples to travel light. In Mark 6:8-9, Jesus “charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; not bread, no bag, no money in their belts; 9 but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics.” His point was to focus them, not to be impoverished, but to clear their vision of material things so that they can clearly see the most precious provisions of all: other people, and the presence of God in those people....

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