Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Change Has Come

My Dear Friends,

As 2015 draws to a close and 2016 starts afresh, I am excited to write to you for the 1st time exclusively as the pastor of this body of believers called Hope.  It is my commitment to serve you as your brother in Christ - one who is called to teach, encourage, support, uplift, guide, help, love and lead for the glory of God and the benefit of His Kingdom work!

Luz and I are ready and primed to do the Lord’s work in our community and world by reaching out to those who need to hear the Word about Christ. We are also ready to serve those already committed to follow Jesus to grow in the knowledge of God to the highest measure and to assist all in putting their gifts to work to the fullest extent that Hope Church might be strengthened and the lost might be reached.

We believe God has great plans for Hope Church – not temporal plans to make us great, but eternal plans to touch lives through faithfully living for Christ, that those who do not know Him might see Christ in us and truly understand that He is the Hope of glory!  We invite you all to enthusiastically reach out to your friends and acquaintances, asking them to join us in our endeavors so that they might hear a word about Jesus and see His love lived out in spirit and in truth among us.

We further invite you to walk alongside us as we seek to follow Christ and to demonstrate what we believe by how we live our daily lives.  Join us, as we pray, study, work and serve, seeking to grow daily to be more like Jesus by loving God with all we are and have and loving others with all the grace and strength that God provides!

Thank you for all of the love, encouragement, support and devoted friendship you have shown! They are precious treasures to us – treasures that motivate us to give our all in all that we do for the Lord and for you!  Please call, email, text, grab us or message at any time –  we would love to hear from you - know that we are here to serve!

There is now no more waiting!  This is the hour we’ve been waiting for!  Today, we press on in faith and obedience in Jesus Name!  He’s our Rock! He’s our Fortress! He’s our Deliverer! In Him we do trust! Praise God for the opportunity to live for Him and to see Him glorified in our lives as the fellowship known as Hope Community Church!

Your Brother in Christ and Pastor,

Samuel D. Jackson

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Don't Wait to Encourage Others

This week, I learned of the unexpected death of a comrade and mourned anew for the recent passing of a dear friend.  Though any of us can leave this life at any time, I am now at a stage of life where parents are entering their eternal rest, having lived full lives and blessed many along the way, even as others pass unexpectedly as an sudden or unobserved malady leads to their earthly demise.  This eventuality of death awaits us all, and marches on with mechanical coldness and unrelenting certainty. Nevertheless, my faith gives me the hope of eternal life and the resurrection of the just, but one must somehow deal with the eventuality of death.

Considering this inconvenient truth, we are often tempted to be philosophical.  That is not my purpose of writing on this day.  Hebrews 3:13 exhorts us to, "But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called 'Today,' so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin."  "Encourage one another day after day."  Let me encourage each of you to take the time to reach out and encourage someone who's been on your mind - today! Make the phone call. Send the text.  Drop by and treat a friend for lunch.  Give that buddy a hug!  "Life is hard and then you die" or so the saying goes!  That gives each of us a perfect excuse to take the time to encourage a friend - now!  If they're on your mind, let them know.  If you feel the need to connect, what's stopping you?  If they don't pick up, leave a message - not just your name and number - a message!  Tell them you were thinking about them.  Tell them you love them. Tell them you're there for them!

I doubt that I'll be the last one standing of my generation.  Nevertheless, while I'm breathing, the world in which I live and my friends who live in it, deserve my best!  They need to hear my voice, see my messages, and receive my encouragement.  It may not cure what ails them, but just maybe in will stir them up as they fight the good fight!

Be a friend!  Encourage others!  Use you voice and your gifts to be a blessing.  Work to bless others while you can!  The time to enter a long, long rest will come soon enough - for each of us!

See you along the trail of encouragement!

Your Friend,