It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Time moves so quickly. Or perhaps we do, but either way, it is almost that time when we enjoy family gatherings, big dinners, football, and perhaps a perfunctory recitation of our blessings. Authentic thanksgiving is more, of course. Real gratitude springs from hearts that recognize who God is and what God does. Two of our very best words are thanks, and giving. The words of a chorus come to mind: “Count your blessings, name them one by one; count your blessings, see what God has done…” I am tempted to do that, for we have been richly blessed in 2019.
During 2019, we have been engaged in a Thanksgiving Food Drive, Samaritan’s Purse, a Christmas Craft Fair, Trunk or Treat, Hanging of the Greens, Rise Against Hunger, Angel Tree Toy Drive, Caroling at Holy Cross Hospital, Glad Tidings, Weller Road Food Ministry, Overland Gardens Ministry, Story Place Children’s Ministry, Black History Month, Ladies’ Retreat, Habitat for Humanity Women Build, Pickleball, Work Days, Vacation Bible School, Men’s Ministry, Back to Church Sunday, and Family Hayride most recently. Add to that, baptisms, Bible studies, dedications, and worship experiences and what we have is a very healthy, outwardly focused Body of Christ. My cup runs over with gratitude when I consider how so many contribute time and gifts to our ministry!
Gazing ahead, I call your attention to our Stewardship emphasis in November. Our theme this year is “Growing Deeper.” At the heart of this theme, is an invitation for each of us and all of us to consider God’s leading as we pray and decide about our level of giving for 2020. I invite you to follow the way of Jesus who would take time away from the business of life to pray and listen to God. I invite you to reflect on giving and generosity during our worship services throughout November, and to prayerfully consider the part you will play. An Estimate of Giving card will be included in this newsletter, and will also be available each of the three Sundays in our emphasis, and you are welcome to respond during any of these three worship experiences.
So, with hearts grateful for what God is doing, and for what God will yet do, let us continue to serve faithfully. The future is bright. A new pastor will be coming. There are always tremendous and exciting opportunities for ministry and growth before us. By the grace and power of God, 2020 will be a great one for Montgomery Hills!
I want to share with you a Thanksgiving prayer I came across: “Great Lord, you are the giver of every good and perfect gift. From the morning sun to the evening stars, our days are measured by your indescribable generosity. We confess that we find it hard, at times, to be thankful. So easily we allow ourselves to be distracted: by greed, by pride, by desire. Teach us that contentment is not the result of what we have, but is, rather, the result of what we believe: that we are your people, and the sheep of your pasture. In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen.”
In Christ’s love, Pastor Joel
Rev. Dr. Doris Barron-Shell