Annual Report 2020-2021
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Annual Pastor’s Report 2020-2021
Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22
My oh my has this past church year been a roller coaster ride. Exactly a year ago we were charged to do the unthinkable in the church. We had to close in person services. From that point the Church all around the world had to quickly adapt in order to survive and to continue in the mission to preach the Gospel to all nations. It was like a wake-up call to the world and the church that just maybe we were not being as effective as we should be in ministry through an ever developing and technological world. Even our little church had to quickly adapt in the way we do church.
Immediately we had to put together more of an online presence for our church and our world. For the past year our services have been recorded and then posted top YouTube. The results from that have been greater than I could have ever expected and this is true for nearly all churches that have made this switch to an online presence. Our YouTube channel for example has 20 subscribers and is averaging 50 views a month at the moment. As of last night, we have had 1023 views to our channel for this past year. Some of our views and subscribers are even from out of this country. Our online presence has given us an opening to reach some who otherwise not attend our church in person for reasons of the virus, injuries, other sicknesses, or even because of their location.
I believe that one of the greatest blessings that we received through the entire time that we were shut down in person was that we continued to receive tithes by mail. You the church continued to put God first despite the pandemic. You would not let this virus stop you from giving to the Lord. Dave had to make a deposit to the bank pretty much every week despite the fact that we were not meeting in person. I am very impressed with the dedication that was displayed by people throughout these difficult times. Not once have we missed a payment on our bills and God continues to be faithful to us. Because, we had been blessed we were even able to help several people with some small financial needs. What you the church have given has been paid forward to help others. My only regret is that there have been at least two people since this pandemic that we have not been able to find a way to engage as they have stayed in during this pandemic.
This plague has brought into the light the best and the worse in people. It has revealed the lengths in which people will go in order to inspire fear, power, and control and yet it has also revealed the lengths in which some would go to show compassion and the love of Christ towards others. Some believe that this plague has been a punishment on to the world and our country because of its sins. If that is the case should there not be repentance among the people. I believe there should be and for a few maybe this is the case. However, instead of pointing the finger at ourselves it seems that the majority wants to point their fingers at others. This is not the first opportunity that God gave this country a wake-up call for repentance. One of the most recent ones was 9/11. I will say that God was welcomed back more however it seems that Jesus was not. If we deny the Son then we also deny the Father. I wonder if the same will be said true about the Corona Virus. God in his mercy always provides us a pathway to repentance so that we may be saved even though he may not take away the punishment. The choice is ours to make whether we take our path to salvation or not.
God did this very thing with the Israelites while they were in the desert. They had complained and sinned against God because they were hungry and thirsty for a short period of time. Mind you that they were not really left to starve but they grew impatient. Because of this rejection and lack of trust in God He sent a plague of serpents to them that bit many of them and many people died from their poison. They realized now that they had been wrong and asked for forgiveness and that the snakes would be taken away. If you notice God did not take away the snakes but rather provided them a way in which they might live even if they were bitten. This would require trust and obedience. God had Moses fashion a bronze snake on a staff and when bitten if the people would look to the staff therefore acknowledging their savior the Lord then they would live even though they were bitten. The plague stayed as a reminder but the means to salvation was also present.
God has done this same thing with our plagues of today. However, the biggest plague today is not the Corona Virus but it is the sin of the hearts of men. This is our biggest enemy, ourselves. However, God has provided us a way out so that we might live and survive this plague. God hasn’t removed it from us but if we look to Jesus when we are hit with this plague then we may live. We know this to be true by what it says in his Word from John 3:14-15, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”
The greatest of love and care is shown by the Father in how he has sacrificed for his creation. John continues in then next verses. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” I tell you all today that I love you all very much however, I don’t love any of you enough to sacrifice either of my children or my wife. This is something that I am just not capable of doing. When I understand this scripture in this context then I understand how much love God really does have for me and for all of you. However, there is a catch to all of this. We must look to the Son to be set free. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned,” just like with the bronze snake, “but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
It is very apparent that Jesus is continually left out in Washington and in many of our state capitols. Many of the legislations that are trying to be passed is proof of all of that. Rather than look to the one who can save us we look to the government to give us our stimulus checks believing that this will rescue us from our problems since the pandemic hit. Our problems though go beyond just our finances. And until we can change the problem of our hearts then nothing will be solved. No government can do for us what Christ can do for us. But what the government does do is plain to see. “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
It is my prayer for 2021-2022 that we the church remain vigilant to look towards Jesus as these events continue to unfold. My hope is that we continue to adapt our methods of spreading the Gospel message while keeping the message pure. As time passes it is apparent that there are those who wish to change or at least distort the truth of this message and redefine salvation and even redefine what is and is not sin. However, these decisions are not up to us nor is it within our power to truly do so. This right is reserved only for the Father and it does not seem to be that he will be changing his mind anytime soon. I am grateful that we have survived the dark times of 2020-2021 and though there still may be dark times ahead I am confident that this Church will remain open to share the light to the world.