I am grateful to God for the year He gave us in 2013 at Great Hills Baptist Church. I appreciate all those who served, gave, and ministered in so many capacities. Because many of you gave your tithes and offerings, we were able to finish the fiscal year in the black, meaning, we took in more money than we spent, and that is a very good thing! We have collected almost $80,000 for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions, and I am still hopeful that we will be able to reach our goal of $100,000.
I continue to hear the great reports about the sermon Ronnie Hill preached last Sunday. I, too, enjoyed his message thoroughly. It is so true! God loves a cheerful giver and He will pour out His blessings and financial protection on those who give their tithes and offerings. I encourage you to obey God’s Word and bring your tithe to church and give it with a cheerful heart. In 30 years of preaching the Bible, I have yet to meet a person who gave their tithe to the Lord and tell me they wish they had not done so. If you need help on learning biblical principles on how to manage your finances, we are offering another Dave Ramsey class, Financial Peace University, which begins Sunday morning, January 26, at 9:00am. (We are offering some other outstanding classes that will help you in many ways. Check out the worship guide or call our church office to find out more.)
Sunday is going to be a great day. I am excited about us gathering together and worshipping our all-powerful God. Before the sermon we will have a special time of corporate prayer during which I will invite all who have a prayer request to come to the altar. At that time I am asking all our servant leaders in the church to make their way to the altar and pray with those who are requesting prayer. Then I will preach the annual state-of-the-church address as we look back on 2013 and look ahead to 2014. This message also gives me the opportunity to share more about our radiant church vision. By the way, if you know someone interested in uniting with our church, please have him or her sign up to attend our next new member class which will meet immediately following our worship service on January 19.
I need your help with something. Research has shown that a guest makes his or her decision to return to a church based on how they were treated the last 10 minutes they are on campus. On Sunday please do this for me: before you leave, look around and speak to the person sitting near you, especially if you do not know them. Take a moment to introduce yourself, and if they are a guest tell them how glad you are that they came. You may even want to invite them to lunch. Ok, here is a test. If you read this and are open to at least speaking to those who sit next to you when the service is over, on Sunday either give me a thumbs up or say “Got it!” This will also give me a little indication as to who reads this newsletter or not!
In my heart I feel that 2014 will be a fantastic year for our church. I look forward to all God has in store for us to do and enjoy. I love you and am blessed to serve as your pastor.