Tom’s Midweek Greeting
Crossroads Community Church
January 10, 2019
Hello and Happy New Year!
My friend Dale Losch reminded me this week how important it was in France to give a wish for a “Happy New Year” to every person you knew the first time that you saw them in January — a wish for a happy new year, and a wish for good health in the coming year. Sometimes you lost track of who you had wished “Happy New Year” to and who you hadn’t … and it was kind of inappropriate to do it twice!
So here’s a wish to you for a happy new year and for good spiritual and physical health in the coming year! The Apostle John wrote in the little letter of 3 John, “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.”
In this edition of TMG, I’d like to share some personal thoughts for the new year, but first here’s the schedule for this Sunday morning at Crossroads, January 13, at the Osage Prairie YMCA.
- A short “family” meeting to elect a new elder, and to approve a budget for 2019.
- Meetings of the two “Walk the Walls” teams – the Sunday Morning Team, and the Follow-Up Team.
I hope you’ll join us for as much as you’re able! Good refreshment for the soul, and some good planning to take place during our meetings. Dave Reedy has been nominated by our Nominating Committee to be re-elected to the Elder Board. Our by-laws state that Dave must receive 75% approval of the voting membership at Sunday’s meeting.
A Few Personal Thoughts
God did so many things for my family and me over the Christmas Break. Thank you for allowing me to have some much-needed personal time away from ministry. I want to share a few things we did, and a few things I took away from the break.
- Before the start of the break, I was able to speak to the French classes at Nevada High School about what Christmas was like in France. Our discussion went everywhere from the history of religion in France to what Christmas trees were like in Brussels, Belgium. I’m thankful for these students at NHS. Each one wrote an essay about my talk; I have the essays and will treasure the thoughts and comments found in them.
- Our Christmas Eve service at Crossroads (the first-ever since I’ve been here) was meaningful and well attended. I really enjoyed it, and a big thankyou to everyone who helped prepare and lead that special time of fellowship and worship.
- I was able to see all of my Missouri children at some point during the break; also time with my mother-in-law, Diana’s sister and family, and my mom. Evan, Sam, and I even got some tennis in on a couple of warm days. Esther and Evan spent New Years at my mom’s; they had an “Outer Space” theme for their party this year! I learned that I’m expecting my fifth grandchild this coming summer (Jason and Emma). This one will join their three boys, plus Fiona out in South Carolina.
- I had some good time alone; good reading time; good times of talking to God; and also a hike through Harry S. Truman State Park on a day when it was closed to cars and empty of people – just me, the trees, and what appeared to be a couple of eagles flying about.
I jotted down what were for me the major personal events of 2018:
- Three big, busy events last spring: Billy’s graduation from the College of the Ozarks; Sam’s graduation from high school; Billy’s and Hannah’s wedding last June. All the family together.
- A fun little Spring Break trip that Evan, Samuel, and I took down to Bentonville, Ark.
- Playing tennis again on a regular basis, and watching Samuel play for Nevada High School last spring.
- A very, very busy fall season.
- Ongoing iron infusions and the discovery that at the root of my iron-deficiency is a problem known as “Watermelon Stomach” (also known as Gastric Antral Vascular Ectasia, or GAVE).
Some hopes for 2019:
- A less crowded schedule, and more intentional times of “Sabbath.” “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it,” God once said to the Israelites (Isaiah 30:15).
- Planning the trip out East in May for Andrew’s and Molly’s wedding.
- Healing for my stomach.
- Plans for Esther and Evan for the summer.
- Trusting God; waiting on Him, rather than relying so much on my own “common sense” or feelings.
A helpful quote is one from Oswald Chambers who said, “Trust God and do the next thing. What duty lies at hand? Do that thing.”
I also jotted down these responsibilities of a pastor that I had read many years ago in a good book called On Being a Pastor, by Derek Prime and Alistair Begg. Here are what these two men considered to be the goals and priorities of a pastor:
- Feed the flock. John 21:15-17
- Proclaim the whole will of God. Acts 20:27
- Present God’s people complete (perfect, mature) in Christ. Colossians 1:28-29
- Prepare God’s people for service. Ephesians 4:12
- Equip God’s people to be fishers of men. John 10:16
- Keep watch over yourself. Acts 20:28
Did you know these are the things that are on my heart to do as your pastor? I appreciate your help keeping me focused on those few things. (Many pastors, including myself, try to do much more than what God has given them to do.) Probably the hardest thing on that list for me is #6. I struggle every week with great feelings of inadequacy – especially without my ministry partner of 28 years.
I’m so thankful for the good things happening at Crossroads Church:
- So thankful for our time of “walking the walls” which will continue on into 2019. “Let us arise and build,” is our calling this year (from Nehemiah2:18).
- So thankful for the involvement of many people in new ways, and I look forward to that continuing to be the case in the new year.
- So thankful for ongoing ministry to young people, both in high school and college. (Plan is to start up Sunday youth studies again on January 27, and Wednesday youth group on January 30.)
- So thankful for those who are praying for, organizing, and getting involved in plans for Young Life in Nevada. Let’s continue to pray for this movement, and for those from Crossroads who are involved.
- So thankful for the support of those in our Evangelical Free Church Central District, and for new friendship with Joe Chenoweth and leaders at Cornerstone Community (E-Free) Church in Harrisonville.
Some things I wonder about:
- As the church grows in number, how do we provide care and continue to build strong relationships?
- How do we make Crossroads more visible in the community?
- What’s the future for a church home for Crossroads that will enable it to have a more permanent place in Nevada’s future?
- How can we do a better job meeting our expenses and do less of drawing down our reserves?
- With Youth Group taking place on Wednesday nights, the composition of our adult Home Group has changed. What might we do differently on Wednesday nights this spring? I would value your input.
Thanks for journeying with me as we turn the corner to a new fresh year with the Lord!
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday morning!