January 5, 2021
Dear LSCC Family:
As we leave behind the year 2020, it is tempting for us to simply say, “Good riddance.” To be sure, there is plenty about the Year 2020 that we would all just as soon forget. There is plenty about that year that we will mourn for some time to come. Some of us have lost friends or family members, and even if we haven’t lost anyone close to us, we grieve along with the many who have. We grieve over the growing divisions within our nation. We grieve for the time lost to lockdowns and quarantines.
Grief is an appropriate response to these things, but for the Christian, joy is the appropriate response to ALL things, even in the midst of grief. And so, I want to take a few moments to remind us all of some of the things that should bring us joy today, as we begin to settle into the new year.
First, and most important, we who follow Jesus Christ in faith should be joyful in the knowledge of our salvation. We should be joyful in the confident hope we have that one day our Savior will make all things new, that He will one day restore and renew this sin-broken earth, redeeming it from the curse that we, in our rebellion against God, brought upon what He made good. We should rejoice in our own redemption through the blood of Christ, shed on that cross at Calvary, and in the hope of resurrection that we have through His own resurrection on the third day.
We should rejoice in the promise Jesus made that the gates of Hell will not prevail against His church. We experienced this promise in action during 2020. In the midst of a global pandemic, Satan worked hard to shutter Christ’s church and to make it irrelevant wherever he could do so. But churches around the world, including Liberty Spring Christian Church, found new and innovative ways to continue to gather corporately and to do the work of Jesus Christ, even as they honored and obeyed the governments that had been put in authority over them. Our drive-in services and prayer garden services — and even our livestreamed services — were all examples of innovatively thinking about how we could continue to meet Scripture’s command in the Book of Hebrews not to neglect meeting together as the body of Christ.
We can also rejoice in the knowledge that we have reached new people with the gospel of Jesus Christ BECAUSE OF the innovative ways that we have held our weekly services, without pause, since the pandemic began here in the U.S. in March. We saw new faces at the drive-in services; we saw new faces at the prayer garden services; we have seen new faces on our livestream services; and we are seeing new faces as we have taken our services into the fellowship hall. Each of those new faces represents a chance to tell someone about our Savior who might not know Him personally.
While corporate worship is vitally important to the church, it is does not represent the sum total of what we are called to be as the body of Christ. And we should rejoice in the fact that God gave us many opportunities to be about DOING that work during 2020. From feeding first responders and hospital staff to giving away school supplies and personal hygiene items to offering a drive-in movie night to blessing a missionary family during its visit home to making and donating masks to hosting a blood drive to hosting and feeding the homeless through the CAPS Night Stay program to collecting donations for baby showers conducted by the Crisis Pregnancy Center, we have continued, even in the midst of the pandemic, to show the love of Christ in our community. And these programs were in addition to the regular contributions to Supply and Multiply in Haiti, to Bethany International in Africa, to the Southeastern Correctional Ministry, to the Gideons, and more. It brings me great joy that the Lord enabled us to continue to serve Him by serving others throughout this year, and I hope it brings you joy, as well.
I rejoice, and I hope you do, too, in a new sense of unity within our church. As we have worked together to overcome the obstacles of 2020, I have sensed a spirit within Liberty Spring Christian Church that I have never seen here since my family and I became members several years ago. I believe this unity honors the Christ who prayed to His Father that we would be one, even as He and His Father and the Holy Spirit are one. We do not all agree on all things all the time, but I believe that we are learning that disagreements do not have to be rancorous or divisive.
Finally, we can rejoice in the simple fact that God has allowed us to remain healthy, and I thank Him especially for keeping my family healthy, even as Annette caught the Covid-19 virus. Things could have been much worse for her, and for all of us, and I praise God for keeping us all safe. I want to encourage you all to continue to do the things that will keep you safe — social distancing during group events, wearing masks when in public, and washing your hands frequently. We now have vaccines that will soon be available to us; I encourage you to listen to reputable sources of information as you weigh whether or not to get those vaccines.
I am so glad to be your pastor, and I look forward to seeing what we will do together to serve Jesus Christ during 2021.