December 29, 2022
I hope you’ve all had good Christmas celebrations and that you’re looking forward to ringing in the New Year soon!
On behalf of the staff, I’d like to say thank you for your generous contributions to the staff gift this year. We’re grateful, and we receive it with love.
I like to write at this time of year because this is usually about the time that folks start thinking about resolutions or changes they’d like to make in their lives in the coming year. So please allow me to make a suggestion about taking on two of the Christian disciplines, or deepening your practice of them: giving and Scripture reading. In practicing these things, we participate in some of the most fundamental ways God meets us with his grace.
So, first, if you’re not yet in the habit of giving, please consider starting. Or, if you’re not yet giving in a regular, disciplined way, the beginning of a new year is a great time to start. Giving is an important habit to nurture in the Christian life because giving of what we have for the good of others is at the very heart of the gospel. That’s what Jesus did for us! We try to model that as a church by generously giving money and resources away, and I’m inviting you to enter into that – some of you maybe for the first time, and for others of you, perhaps more deeply than you have before. Recently I put together a summary of what we teach about giving in the Covenant Life Class; I think it’s a pretty good rundown of what Scripture says about how we’re supposed to use what we’ve been given. You can read it here.
Second, I encourage you to take some time each day to read Scripture and pray. These two means of grace have proven themselves again and again to be incredibly beneficial for believers and for the shared life of the church. When we read Scripture and pray, we meet with God and hear from him. He comforts us, instructs us and gives us wisdom and encouragement and a tangible sense of his presence and love for us. It would be impossible to overstate how important these disciplines are for us.
There are lots of reading plans available online, and the Read Scripture app is pretty great. We’ll also have printed copies of reading plans available on the Welcome Table for a few weeks. If following a plan doesn’t suit your style, or if it seems intimidating, you could just start reading; a chapter or even a paragraph a day. Start with one of the gospels. If you’d like some help getting started on reading and praying through Scripture, take a look at this simple guide.
I look forward to the coming year of worship, growing and learning, and serving together with all of you.