Hopefully you received this in your inbox, but if not, here's my email to the congregation . . .
Beloved Family of Grace,
On behalf of the staff and leadership here at Grace, it is my pleasure to wish you and yours a very merry Christmas! Once more, we together set our hope on Jesus Christ, the gift of the Father to our broken world . . . our Bread, our Shepherd, our Light, our Life.
Looking back on this interesting and challenging year, we have so much for which to be thankful. In our life together as a church, I recognize these blessings and many more from the hand of God . . .
- Our amazing, faithful, hard working Ministry and Administrative Staff Teams who make Grace go.
- The countless hours of volunteer service by our incredible lay leadership teams and you.
- God's gift of a new Student Ministries Pastor in Todd Roughton and his family.
- The opportunity to give Family Ministries Pastor, Ken Peet, a much deserved sabbatical rest and renewal.
- The dedication and now ongoing enjoyment of our newly remodeled Founder's Hall and Early Childhood Center.
- God's amazing provision through your faithful giving in the most challenging economic year in decades.
- Experiencing real life transformation through the study and application of God's Word.
- A full year of fellowship, fun and life together.
On the personal front, among God's abundant blessings, I'm grateful this year, for these:
- My beautiful and hardworking wife, Susie, who contributes more to my life and ministry than anyone knows.
- Our four growing and delightful children . . . Sage (12), Eden (10), Ezekiel (6), Haaken (3) It is an inexpressible joy to watch them become who God created them to be.
- The opportunity to serve you, the family of Grace, through the teaching and preaching of God's Word. To love what you do and do what you love is a rare gift.
- The blessing of excellent and active health at age 40, and the opportunity to enjoy good friends and our beautiful Central Coast through cycling, hiking and running.
- Your expressed and experienced care and love for our family. It is an ongoing pleasure to entrust ourselves to you.
Let us praise God from whom all blessings flow!
As we look ahead, I suspect that 2009 may well bring more uncertainty, more instability and more trials. No matter what happens, God's Word assures us He ordains our circumstances so that we might trust Him more. These days force us to fix our hope on Christ and the eternal blessings that are ours in Him. That's a good thing! Let's strive to do this together, united and encouraging one another along the way. Let's be committed to these 3 things in 2009:
- Worshiping Together: We need to be intentional to be together and we need to focus on eternal realities when temporal realities are crumbling and fading.
- Serving Together: We need to joyfully "give away" our Gospel hope to those whose false hopes are being exposed as empty.
- Encouraging One Another: We need one another more than ever. Let's fight isolation and self-dependency by open, vulnerable sharing, caring and praying for one another.
Here at Grace, like you, we will be carefully and prayerfully taking practical steps to weather this economic downturn. Beginning in January, we will be looking for creative ways "to do more with less." As we trim our expenses and balance our budget, our first priority will be the care and provision of our staff, who we believe are essential for the thriving of our ministry. Whatever changes and cuts we make, we're steadfast in our conviction that God will provide what we need to do what He's called us to do. Keep praying, keep trusting, keep giving and stay tuned.
It is my joy to serve as your pastor. Thank you for that opportunity.
With much love and affection, because of and for the Gospel,
Read the blog: http://pastortimgraceslo.blogspot.com/
See the year in pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/graceslo/