As I write, many are celebrating the end of 2020 and looking forward to a better year in 2021. Believers have a special reason for hope – our faith in Christ. This coming Sunday (January 3) we are preaching on Ephesians 1:3-8 when Paul says we have plenty to celebrate because God called us before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless, and adopted us as his children. Regardless of the personal circumstances each believer faces, we can be joyful and confident that God will deliver us according to His plan in 2021. Happy New Year indeed!
Here are some things going on around our church:
For those of you not yet able to worship with us, our church approved in a called business conference on December 13, the purchase of the adjacent property beside our church parking lot. Church leaders are working now to complete that purchase. I am also thankful we could leverage technology through Zoom and other media to have a fairly healthy participation of church members in the voting process. Thank-you for being a part of that decision.
We were not able to do many of the normal Christmas worship activities because of the novel Corona virus, but we did have a successful month in the ministries and outreach of our church. Here is a rundown of what our church did in December.
--Our month began as we gathered nearly 45 Samaritan’s Purse shoeboxes to ship overseas in support of the Billy Graham Association’s evangelistic outreach in Operation Christmas Child.
--On December 6, we hosted the PMBA Toy Store for the fifth consecutive year and provided toys for nearly 100 children and 45 families in our community. In addition, donations allowed us to provide 69 new winter coats for children from 36 different families in the toy store. Donations also allowed us to provide each family in the toy store with a Jesus Storybook Bible for home study and devotions. On behalf of Donna Craig and Lisa Ore, who provided leadership for the toy store, I want to thank everyone that participated in this year’s toy store by purchasing toys for the children, volunteering time, or providing additional donations to make this event a success.
--On December 26, we conducted Hope Kitchen and delivered hot meals to nearly 200 people in our community representing 96 households. This important ministry has gone on monthly without interruption for over 10 years and is an important outreach of our church. I deeply appreciate those who work hard each month to faithfully prepare and deliver these meals. I am especially thankful this ministry has continued through the pandemic even though many of the key leaders have been affected by the virus.
--Finally, the pastors and deacons delivered treat bags to our shut-ins and other members on December 27. Men in our church prepared 250 treat bags that were in one way or another placed in the hands of church members on December 26 and 27. Thanks to all of you who made that possible!
I remind you of all these things to let you know that our church is continuing to minister during the pandemic season. More importantly, I encourage you to take advantage of the momentum from outreach events and take time to share your faith with your “One.” Perhaps your “One” is a family member, work associate, friend, or even someone you meet through church outreach. While the pandemic has taken away many opportunities, it has certainly opened others for us to use. Always stay safe but find ways to take advantage of the slower pace to share the Gospel with someone within your circle of relationships. Perhaps this is a time to begin a mentorship or Bible study within your family circle, and even use technology to help you. Many of us connect with family members by Zoom or Skype so consider these tools for Bible study, Gospel conversations and building relationships to advance the Gospel.
Don’t forget our Wake Health counselor, Mr. Mike Nuckolls, who continues to work in our church building one day per week. His number is 336-713-0886. Remember, he accepts major insurance and in the absence of insurance, the church will cover the cost of meeting with him. This service is available as a ministry both to members and those in our community.
Finally, as we begin a new year, I urge you to stay safe, and be patient, the vaccine is coming. We look forward to you returning to church as you believe it is safe. I think our services are as safe as we can make them but we still ask that you use your own wisdom in returning. As always, we stand ready to assist you or speak with you as you need us. God Bless You!
Rev. James A. Cohn