I’ve been thinking about you, and I’m praying for you. Many of you know I’ve been “trying to become a morn- ing person.” At first, my hope was to get up early (between 5:00am – 5:30am) and get to the gym before going in to the office or heading out to my first meeting (insert BIG eye roll here). God had (has) other plans for that time. Instead, God called me into a new time of prayer. I fix my coffee, gather my Bible, study materials, and journal and head to the back porch. It’s a surprise that at 5:30 in the morning it is already too warm and too humid for comfort, but there I sit, start to read and to pray. I pray for the church. I pray that God will gift and equip me to be the pastor EFUMC needs. I pray for those living in the neighborhoods around the church property. I pray that God will release abundant provision for our community. I pray for God’s Holy Spirit to come in power. And I pray for you. In addition to the usual “study materials”, I bring the church directory with me. I open it up and pray for you – by name, by sight, by God’s Spirit.
Now, some of you are reading this and thinking, ‘I’m not in the directory’. Well, don’t you worry. I’m praying for you too. Some of you I know personally, some of you God brings your faces to mind, and then I turn my prayers to those I don’t know, and ask God, who knows us all, to meet your every need.
My question is, when you think of Edinburg FUMC, do you give thanks to God? Not for me, not for a previous pastor, necessarily, but do you give thanks for all that God accomplishes for the Kingdom and for you through Edinburg FUMC? Do you give thanks for the ways this church blesses others in Jesus’ name? Do you give thanks for our music ministry that faithfully works to lead us into God’s presence each week? For the congregational care ministry that helps visit and take communion to our homebound? Do you give thanks for the three different scout troops that meet here? Do you give thanks for the AA group that meets here? Do you give thanks for the people who you have blessed through our Food Pantry and Shoe Bank ministries? Do you give thanks for having a place to belong in the fellowship of Christ? For our fellowship ministry that works to build deeper bonds of connection and relationship among our community. For our Wine and the Word Women’s study, Silver Threads seniors ministry, Sunday School classes, and Bible studies? Do you give thanks for the families, youth, children, and college students who have been cared for through our youth ministry, children’s ministry, VBS, college ministry, Parents of College Students prayer ministry, and support of UM Campus Ministry at UTRGV? Do you give thanks for the things God is birthing here to bless others, like the partnership with UTRGV? I could keep listing God’s work that is happening here. Do you give thanks for all the things that God will do through Edinburg FUMC that we cannot yet dream or imagine?
In a culture and a season where the norm is to see what our churches are NOT doing, NOT providing, are we willing to redirect by giving thanks for what God IS doing in our church? Are we willing to celebrate what God is doing and participate more actively, deeply, purposefully?
Ok – so some of you are reading this and thinking, ‘I already serve, participate, am actively involved...’ I know. Thank you. God bless you! Don’t stop!!! It is a statistical reality that in almost EVERY CHURCH that same 20% of the people carry the majority of the work/ financial responsibility of the church mission. We can be different. It starts by giving thanks for the work of Edinburg FUMC and its people. It starts by praying for each other (and your pastor – that’s me) to be filled with God’s Spirit and purpose. Will you start there with me? Will you pray for our community, our neighborhoods, and our ministries? Will you pray for God to abundantly provide for our church so that we can continue to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth in our little corner of the world?
My friends, I do truly celebrate that I have been appointed for another year here and that we will continue to partner in the work of the Gospel. Let us give thanks together for all that God will do in and through us.
Grace and Peace,