Sunday, July 3, 2016

Redeeming the Time

After the rush of the Christmas season, as the last week of the year rolls around, it is our wont to look back and take inventory of the past 12 months.  We note the things accomplished, and rue tasks and opportunities that have been left undone.  We often make resolutions and plans for the coming year, and the cycle continues.
As of the time of this writing, the year 2016 is halfway gone.

I propose that we, as a church family, take a moment right now to take inventory of the past 6 months, and prayerfully consider where God may lead us in the remainder of this half gone year.

I rejoice in the fact that we have witnessed the baptisms of 9 new believers in the past 6 months, and have received a number of other new members during that time. We had a successful Upward Basketball and Cheerleading season, and incorporated several of our members into service in that important children’s ministry.  We have reached several new families as a result of that program.

We completed another year of Good News Bible Club at Central City Elementary, impacting the lives of 26 children with the Gospel of Christ every Thursday afternoon.  We have seen a year of growth in our Children’s ministry unparalleled in a number of years.

Several of our members have been involved in pro life activities, planning for the October Life Chain Sunday, and others volunteering at the New Beginnings Crisis Pregnancy Center.

WE gave to outside missions through the SBC Cooperative Program, and also financially supported church planters in Toronto, Huntington, Barboursville, and Negros Oriental, Philippines.

We performed funeral services and ministered to the families of six precious souls who have departed us in this life.

As far as facilities go, we have been blessed by God to complete the parking lot project, upgrading of our heating and cooling system, install security cameras, and make some other necessary repairs.

In addition to the above, we have done 6 months of other “churchy” things.

Where do we go from here?

The first thing I am looking forward to, and praying about is the selection of our new “Associate Pastor for Discipleship and Student Ministry” I am praying that this additional staff member, who God sends to us, will serve as a catalyst in reviving our nearly dormant youth ministry. He will work as a resource person and provide guidance for the faithful volunteers who teach and work in our Children’s and Youth Ministries.  He will be our contact person in the local schools.  He will lead the entire discipleship ministry of our church – evaluating, tweaking where necessary, and bringing new discipleship ministries into our work here. He will be responsible for recruiting and training new teachers and workers in our Discipleship ministry.  He will also fill the pulpit on occasion, both in my absence, and on other scheduled times.

Our church will have a presence at “Westmorelandpalooza” on Saturday, July 16th at Westmoreland Park (formerly known as Corbin Park). We’ll be there to meet our neighbors, share the Gospel, and pray with those who wish us to do so. This will serve as a great tipoff for Vacation Bible School which begins the next day.
VBS will take place July 17-21, providing fun, refreshments, and Bible truths for children, from preschool to high school.

A visiting Mission Team from Florida will join us the week of July 24 as we intend to “Crossover Westmoreland”, seeking to make contact with every resident in our part of the city. We will meet new people, get to know our neighbors, share the Gospel and offer prayer to those who desire it.  Our people from Westmoreland Baptist will team up with the Floridians to cover pre planned mapped out areas of our community.
A three night revival service will also be held here at the church that week, with the visiting pastors from Florida bringing the messages.

School will be starting shortly after these activities.  We plan to do something special for the Teachers on the first week of school.  We will also be prayer walking around each of our schools just prior to their opening. Prayerfully, WBC will have a greater presence in our local schools than any time in recent memory. Fifth Quarters and other youth activities will abound this Fall, and we plan to host our annual Fall Festival on Trick or Treat night.

Upward Sports will continue for the young ones, but we are also planning a more competitive league for the older children this year. Planning meetings are beginning now.

I also look forward to planning a Church Leadership Retreat to take place in late October.  More on that to come.

To sum it up, time is passing ever so quickly.  We cannot literally buy back a single day. Therefore let us “redeem the time” by purposing in our hearts to heartily do whatever God places in our hands, and to do it expeditiously – not for our glory or to our credit, but for His purpose, His honor, His glory.

As one old preacher said many years ago, we should plan our activities and our work for the Lord as if we knew we had a hundred years to work, but to work with such urgency as if we knew Jesus was coming this evening!

One day, He surely will come.  Let’s get to work!

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