From Struggling to Serving
"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." Winston Churchill spoke these words in 1942 following Allied victories in Africa and Italy, after two years of a struggling war effort. Our "New Beginning" began about two years ago when a committee was formed. In the first meeting, November, 2012, our wish list included socials, Bible study, Sunday school and special music. We have achieved these and more. We have been truly blessed and perhaps we can say like Churchill that we have reached the "end of the beginning". But what next for New Hope?
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." So says the prophet Jeremiah (29:11). Will God's plans for us include serving? In business terms, you could say that we have achieved a measure of success in the last two years. But success is not the purpose of a church. It is rather to serve. In Francine Rivers novel, A Voice in the Wind, Hadassah was a Christian slave to a spoiled daughter of a prosperous family in first century Rome. She had seen her entire family wiped out by the Romans in the fall of Jerusalem. "Bithia (a fellow slave) obeyed but this young Jewess served. Marcus had never seen anyone but his mother touch Julia in that way. What was most amazing was that Hadassah's touch seemed to soothe his sister." In Hadassah's words: "I don't believe the purpose of life is to be happy. It's to serve. It's to be useful."
Our first newsletter included this report from the committee: "But none (of these suggestions) was more important than the belief that we must first seek the Lord through daily prayer and petition and through spending quiet time with Him. Be still, be patient and wait upon the Lord. We ask you to join with us in this time of prayer, that sweet hour that calls you from a world of care. Set aside some time each day and pray for New Hope." Maybe it's time to renew that call to prayer. Pray for our mission, our purpose, God's purpose. And remember to thank God for bringing us safely to this place in our church history: the end of the beginning.
From the Pastor
This wonderful time of year presents so many opportunities for each of us to thank God for all our many blessings. The autumn of the year with cooler temperatures, leaves changing color, long shadows in the afternoons beckon us to contemplate the greatness of our Father God. Take time each day to seek out the beautiful in your life, whether in nature or in people or true friendship. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God’s handwriting – a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.
Many of us spend time worrying about material things rather than appreciate the beauty of the world God created for us. Material things do not last. The love of God is with us still the end of time.
In Matthew, chapter 6, verses 25 – 34, Jesus instructs us that worrying about material things is foolish because it accomplishes nothing. He reminds us to have our values straight – life consists of more than food and clothing. Christ points to God’s care of nature – the flowers, grass, and birds. You are of more value than they. Certainly God will care for you! Our Father knows our needs and if we put Him first, He will meet our every need.
The tradition of fine fellowship dinners continued on August 10. We had special music from David Henderson. We had special guests Mark, Scott, Edward and Bryant, accompanied by Ann Roberts, from Aldersgate at the Oaks. And we topped it off with a fellowship dinner attended by 61 members, friends, relatives and invited guests. Incidentally, we collected a total of $435 for the Aldersgate Ministry.
Our next fellowship dinner is October 12. Tom Jennings will again provide the food and once again it will be voluntary contributions only. It promises to be another exciting day for New Hope, so make plans now to attend. And bring a friend.