Dear North Life Baptist Church,

My heart is full! While I wish I could sit down over a cup of coffee with each of you and share how good God has been to our assembly, here’s the best way I know how right now. On this Thanksgiving, with all of its challenges and unknowns in the year 2020, I want to take a few minutes to list why your pastor is overwhelmingly grateful to the God of heaven for you all:

  1. Thank you for defending/promoting unity in our church family by practicing deference and compassion toward one another no matter our different perspectives.
  2. Thank you for helping us not retreat in fear but press forward in faith and growth in so many ministry changes, planned and unplanned.
  3. Thank you to our senior saints who have borne up under the extra strains and isolation of this year with a sweet, supple disposition that has encouraged us all.
  4. Thank you for graciously supporting our family, with all of our shortcomings, as we seek to pastor this church in the best way we know how with both love that has finite limits of expression and truth that is not always convenient.
  5. Thank you to our pastoral staff and wives for being so tenacious in your calling and yet adaptable in your responsibilities.
  6. Thank you to our church family and friends who, in a year that saw passing an offering plate go by the wayside, continue to financially support our ministry/missionaries with an intentional, sacrificially consistency that has, at times, taken my breath away.
  7. Thank you to our deacons for going above and beyond to serve our especially hurting and overwhelmed flock this year as well as “having the back” of your pastor.
  8. Thank you to those who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to minister to our youth, clean the church building, provide technical support, and help the shut-ins.
  9. Thank you for giving me and the other church leaders room to fail and regroup as we sincerely follow the Lord’s guidance through unchartered territory.
  10. Thank you to all of our musicians and vocalists who have consistently used your gifts to facilitate and expand our worship in spirit and in truth.
  11. Thank you for partnering with us to stay on message with the clear exposition of God’s Word while many around us were engaging in well-intended but shallow social, political, and activist agendas.
  12. Thank you to our missionary partners around the world who have persisted in representing our Lord and church with fidelity and fruitfulness.
  13. Thank you to our young people, starting with my own two sons, who have exhibited tremendous resiliency in the face of so much that has been altered or lost in your education, sports, social interactions, etc.
  14. Thank you to the many “newbies” who have been open to following the Lord in salvation, baptism, membership, discipleship, and ministry is a year filled with so many distractions.
  15. Thank you, God, for “your unspeakable gift, Jesus” who gives us each the privilege of being a small part of His body here on earth for such a time as this!

Since I am struggling to find the full and final words to express how Heidi and I feel about you all, may the inspired words of Paul suffice:

Ph 1:1-6 “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.  I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”

Photo by Hanny Naibaho on Unsplash