Pastor Robert Stephens
A New Year is always an exciting time with renewed hope and endless possibilities. My family and I are thankful to begin our New Year with First Baptist Church as our new home. We spent our New Year’s Eve playing the game of Monopoly together. For the first time, the most valuable property was Virginia Avenue. We know that the real Virginia Avenue is located in Atlantic City, NJ. Still, with our future moving to Virginia, my children (9yrs, 7yrs, and 5yrs) all wanted to own Virginia Ave as it reminded them of our future home.
We look forward to relocating and joining you in person very soon. Our house is being packed, and moving trucks will be coming soon to help us begin the journey to join you. Please continue praying for us as we navigate this transition.
One of the common things to do at this time of year is to set New Year's resolutions. These resolutions are often goals or plans you have for the year ahead. Resolutions can take the form of lists, statements, or even single words that cast a vision for the future. I often set New Year’s resolutions and find them helpful to start the New Year strong. But as we all begin a New Year, I want to remind us all of the Good News of Jesus Christ.
For us as we begin the New Year…….
Jesus died on the cross for you - for your flawed self, not your good, improved, and crafted self. You are not worthy because of your good behavior, accomplishments, job title, or how well you keep your New Year resolution. You are, right now, without your own efforts, loved fully by God in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is working in you like a master craftsman to clear away the excess and reveal what God sees in you. The Creator and Sustainer of the world loves you right now because when He looks at you, He sees the Righteousness of Christ Jesus.
Begin the New Year with this confidence from Philippians 1:6 “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Even if you fall short on your resolution, miss a day or totally fail to complete it, God’s work in you will continue this year.
May God’s Grace and Peace guide you in this New Year!
Your New Senior Pastor
Thanks, Pastor Robert. Annie and I are praying for you and your family as you begin your transit north. You are so blessed to have young girls who are so excited about this move God is moving in your life and in theirs. Isn't it amazing!? I was in the Coast Guard for 30 years and moved over 13 times. I also have three daughters and moves were not always a positive event. My advice - Enjoy your move. Show the girls as much as you can on the way north. Take your time. A quick side trip to show them the mountains, landmarks, waterfalls, and all of God's glory are precious memories that cannot be missed. While we are all anxious and ready for your arrival here - make sure you take the time to give those girls and your wife the opportunity to see God's creation as you head north. Just some thoughts I have for you today. Love in Christ - Mark