Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Thanking God for making it through this year

We’re only a few days away from Christmas and I’ve just been thanking God for making it through this year. This has been a very difficult year for Carol. She lost a childhood friend, an aunt and her father . Back home in St. Louis, there were a few more losses with some of our friends and spiritual children losing parents as well.

Then there have been the most heartbreaking tragedies one could imagine with the devastation of earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes and hurricanes across the world and the country. This year, we got a little taste of everything here in Pennsylvania. An Earthquake, a hurricane, tornadoes and flooding have impacted this area in some way or another.

We’re still very thankful that the Lord has sustained us in spite of massive layoffs and job losses all around us. Carol and I are both still employed. Our family is living comfortably in a townhouse apartment. We cannot complain at all.

What we are most thankful for is how the Lord is moving in our church family. We held our first baptism service in the history of our church. We also held only our third new member confirmation. Those were landmark moments for us.

For a while, the attendance went down again, so we decided to start meeting in one of the smaller conference rooms within the United Church Center. That setting was very comfortable and made for a better atmosphere in which to teach and answer questions.

Gradually, the attendance picked up again and we’ve had to move back to the dining hall. More important than the attendance has been what God is doing in hearts and homes. Over the final three months of this year we’ve seen one person get saved, another return to the fold, and a visitor or two who have said they will definitely return.

God is moving in miraculous ways. The praise reports have been awesome as the Lord is providing for our church family. Our prayer has always been that God would bless the people of Urban Life Church and not just the pastors. In fact, we felt badly that we were being blessed, but we didn’t see very much happening with the people. Now we’ve seen a powerful outbreak of blessings amongst the people. Now that makes us happy. We didn’t come to Harrisburg just to be blessed. We want to see the people of God blessed.

When we hold our first gathering on Sunday, New Year’s Day (January 1st), we plan to allow everyone to testify what God has done in their life during 2011. It’s going to be a great day.

Now we’re about to spend some quality time with our family during this Christmas holiday before we’re scattered for a while. David returns to college for his final five months before graduation. Jonathan will be off to school in January. Chris continues his process to getting back in school as well.

What does 2012 have in store for us? Lord, may you get the Glory out of our family in 2012!