“Ponderings from the Pastor”
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! As the world begins a new year and we all remember to write 2021, I am prayerful that here at Stockton Memorial Baptist Church we are of one opinion about moving forward. I think we are all in agreement that this past year has been a very difficult one; and for many, if not all of us, we would just as soon forget about 2020. But I also think that to simply “write off” this past year would be a mistake. Let me explain…
I believe it was the author G.K. Adams who once wrote, “Sometimes in order to keep moving forward, not only must you take one step at a time, but you must be willing to look back occasionally and evaluate your past, no matter how painful it is. Looking back lets you know whether or not you are headed in the right direction.” Most of us would agree that these past nine months have been very painful. Several saints of Stockton have gone home to be with the Lord, and while we rejoice for them, we continue to grieve our loss. It’s hard not to see them sitting in their usual places in our Sanctuary, but as I have said too many times this past year, “their legacies live on in our lives, and we are all much richer for having known them.” I am also a strong proponent of the philosophy that we learn and grow from all of life’s experiences, the good ones as well as the not-so-good. And while some lessons are more painful than others, each one makes us a little better. Looking back also helps show us how far we have come. As I begin my sixth year as your pastor, I am pleased with the direction that our church is going. That’s not to say we do not have a lot more working and growing to do both individually and as this Body of Christ. And while I am not a fan of “New Year’s resolutions”, I do have several hopes and plans for 2021, both personally and for our Church. I will discuss them more in the days and weeks to come.
And I hope you are looking forward as well in your own life and also in your walk with Christ. Each one of us has been SO incredibly blessed by our Heavenly Father. I think that in spite of… or maybe because of… what we have experienced over these past months, we have all become more aware of how favored we each are, and how much God has blessed us and blessed our Church. We are literally sharing Christ with more of the world than ever before in our 127 year history! We are reaching a greater audience each Sunday than any of us ever dreamed possible. Maybe not by our choice… but through God’s grace and mercy we have become modern-day evangelists; spreading Christ and His Word to all the world! And the best part is, each time we have a “technical breakthrough”, we open the door to something even better. 2020 was indeed filled with disappointments and pain, but it has also yielded us even greater opportunities for reaching the people that Jesus referred to as “the last, the least, and the lost”.
So let us shake off the doldrums of winter. Let us all look for the blessings in the midst of the chaos of Covid. Let each one of us as children of God and heirs with Christ to God’s riches look ahead with confidence and courage to 2021. Our Life Verse for January will also be our theme for all of 2021. From I Thessalonians 5:19- “Do not quench the Spirit.” It is worth pondering…Prayers for a very Blessed, Safe, and Prosperous New Year!
It's Worth Pondering!