We welcome everyone to our services today and we trust this Christmas holiday season has been a blessing to you. There has been much hard work in preparing for Christmas in the church and we thank each person that helped in the ministry to make Christmas special. Our special thanks go to Bro. Gary Moline and the choir for the cantata presented in last week’s service. Many weeks of preparation were spent to bring us the music for our Christmas service. Our faithful choir members are much appreciated.
I also want to thank Dave Morrow for building the props for the school Christmas play and Donna Miller for working on the costumes for the children. Also, Steve Miller and his company blessed us by donating expensive work on our candelabras for the Christmas Eve service. And then, we cannot forget about the many members that gave so generously to our special Christmas offering. This year we will send a check for over $3000 to our Missionary Tim Ekno for his work in the leper colonies of India. This is remarkable for our church especially when so many of you are having difficulty in these tough economic times.
These acts of sacrifice show how a church works together to accomplish God’s work. We are reminded of Paul’s words to the Corinthian church as he told them of the sacrificial giving in the churches of Macedonia. He said, “In a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves.” Giving time, energy, and resources to God’s work is a marker of healthy Christianity. Too many people are looking for what they can get out of church rather than what they can contribute. This church is blessed by those who faithfully continue to give to the ministry.
As we look forward to the New Year, God’s people must continue to step up. Most people have very little confidence that 2011 will be a better year economically. Recently, the newspapers reported that our area of California will not see much improvement for at least two years. If our spirituality were tied to the economy, then we would be depressed by the outlook. We are not depressed, however, because God has promised to supply our needs. The next two years can be the greatest Berean has ever experienced if we will continue to put our hands to the work.
I suspect that at the end of next year we will still report that the economy is bad. But I also suspect that we will look back and see more sacrifices made for the ministry, more people stepping up to bear the burden, and more saints determined that God’s work will continue here in Rohnert Park. Let us pray that every member will do their part to make the next year in Berean a truly great one for God’s kingdom.
Pastor V. Mark Smith