During football I am reminded of the importance of half time. No doubt it is a period of time to listen to the band, get something to eat, and hit the can. For the players it is a short time to regroup, assess your game, and rest before you go back for the last 30 minutes of play. Adjustments are part of life.
Recently in the Gospel of Mark we read right smack in the middle of the book, Jesus calls the disciples aside to firm up what He is here to do before he makes His way to Jerusalem to suffer, die, and rise. For the crowd that is standing around, Jesus reminds them that to follow Him they take up their own cross and follow. These aren’t easy words but they are the needed reminders if everyone is going to stick together.
We are coming to the end of the third quarter of the year. This year in particular has had its share of unplanned events. The water pipe bursting at the first of the year led to earlier than expected decisions and expense for carpet. Then we were approached about the possibility of leasing land for a cell tower. It is a blessing, but has taken months to investigate and come to terms so we could be sure it was done correctly. Above all, we have had our share of deaths in the congregation. Some very unexpected and untimely. In all of this, God has been present and you have been strong and faithful. We have really made our share of adjustments in response to unexpected events this year.
As we move into the last quarter, we have one other task to complete. Throughout the year, we have had our up’s and down’s financially. Just when we thought we were getting on our feet, we were dipping into savings. As we end September we need to make some more adjustments.
Many years ago a friend and fellow clergy of mine found his congregation in the same place. He was one tired puppy. Instead of hanging his head he asked the congregation to put the church on their Christmas list. I know that it sounds silly but this is the time they start talking about it along with pumpkin spice.
He knew that a last minute “Hail Mary” (he was Catholic) wasn’t the way to address it. People needed time to set aside a special financial gift for the church. Much to his surprise the congregation rose to the occasion and it made for a good year.
I am asking you to do the same. Keep us in your prayers and plans between now and the end of the year. It may be that you will like to make an increase in your giving over these last 13 Sundays or you might just want to give an extra gift at the end of the year. Either way could be just what we need to end the year in the good.
I recognize that this year has asked much of you. God has been with us and you have been faithful. These last three months matter. What we do will greatly affect how we plan for next year. Next year we will celebrate 40 years of ministry as a congregation. We have had moments when we have had to dig deep. This is not our first rodeo. I believe in you and I truly believe and trust in God. I pray that God will work through us and make for a great end of the year that we can celebrate together.
In His Service,