Pressing On

Fall is just around the corner already. As I look back on the past 12 months of our interim together I am grateful to the Lord and each of you. We are making much good progress. With fall soon upon us, I urge each of us to renew our desire and engagement to moving forward into the new life the Lord intends in and through us at New Life Church. We have a rich history. And no one else can write the next chapter of New Life’s story but us. It is our turn, our calling to live by faith, to love strongly, to tire ourselves in reaching out to those who do not yet know Christ. The apostle Paul always looked for two vital signs in a church – faith (in the Lord Jesus) and love (for people). In your own life how is “faith” deepening these days? And is your love for others, including those who do not yet know Christ, growing stronger?

As a church body we are “turning the corner.” I see progress in our relationships with one another through our Fellowship Meals, and through our teams taking on ownership for specific ministries. Ask our Awana lead team how they are feeling today compared to a few months ago – we are turning the corner. Check with our Peacemaking team and ask them what progress we have made in training and acting on resolving conflicts in Christ-pleasing ways – we are turning the corner. Ask the Finance team how summer finances have been – they will tell you we are turning the corner, that giving has been faithful and sufficient during the summer months. Ask parents and volunteers in our Youth Ministry how they feel about Pastor John Anderson exiting. They will tell you they are sad he is going, but that there is a plan in place. A Youth Advisory Team is functioning (made up of 2 parents, 2 youth, and 2 volunteers), and will be involved in hiring an interim Youth Director and hopefully youth interns.

August 28 is a ready-made outreach opportunity. The city of Woodbury has invited us to lead worship in Ojibway Park. Come, and do not come alone – take the initiative to invite friends, neighbors and co-workers who do not know Christ to join you on August 28. Let’s ask the Lord to use US in reaching out to others all around us who need the Lord.

Looking ahead to fall, here is what we have planned:

Fall Sunday kick-off will be September 11. We return to 2 worship services (9:00 and 10:45). We will continue having Concerts of Prayer quarterly. This summer we received lots of positive comments about being together in one service. The worship team has decided that once a quarter we will continue that by having a single united service – our first united service will be November 13. In addition to our existing Sunday morning adult groups, we will be offering new opportunities for you, and for newcomers: Starting Point (foundational questions about spiritual life and faith in Christ), and an elective class on the book of Acts.

Youth and children’s ministries’ fall kickoff will be Wednesday, September 14. Awana kickoff September 14 will include a parent night (more details coming).

The lead pastor search team will be taking the next steps in our search process – posting the positon, and beginning to receive resumes.

In October we will mark the 40th anniversary of New Life Church. Some inspiring things have been laid out by the 40th Anniversary planning team.

As we press on, I ask you to be part of new life at New Life. Practically I ask each of you to:

Flex your faith muscles by praying …financially giving…and actively serving.

Stretch yourself to take new steps in getting connected in support and growth with others at New Life – and also in having not-yet-Christians you are reaching out to in love (on your own or with others from New Life). “Growing pains” can be uncomfortable but the rewards of fresh strength and fruit are deeply satisfying to us and pleasing to the Lord.

The minor prophet Haggai was called to inspire God’s discouraged, self-absorbed people to rise up to a higher calling. The book of Haggai is only 2 chapters in length, yet it is the story of new life happening among God’s people. Here is what Haggai spoke to God’s people in chapter 2:

‘Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty. …. ‘My Spirit remains among you. Do not fear…the silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty.  The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.

As we begin the fall season – it is our turn to trust, to act and to see the Lord bring glory to Himself through His body at New Life Church.

Pressing on in faith with you,

Pastor Paul