Monday, 04 January 2021 08:21
Happy New YearWritten by Jeron Parkins
Some of you have endured the worst year of your life. I want you to know that God has seen everything you’ve been through and he has watch all the tears fall that no one else has seen. God’s love for you hasn’t departed nor has God forsaken you. There is nothing abnormal or strange about going through trials or suffering in a fallen world. Living in a broken world guarantees that all inhabitants, including faithful Christians, will get banged up and wounded as they walk through it. But we are to remember that God is in control and he has designs upon what we go through – there is purpose in it. God is good and we are called to believe that in his love for us that “all things work for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). The Apostle Peter gave a partial explanation in 1st Peter as to why Christians are allowed to suffer grief: “… you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is test by fire - may be found to result in praise, and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Christian, your faith is worth more than gold. Trials cause your faith to be purified and because faith is more valuable than gold (it brings a better return than gold ever does) we are to trust God that the painful and difficult purification of our faith is worthwhile. If our faith is strengthened, it is worth it! Trials not only purify but also allow your faith to be tested, to be proven. We realize when we live through things that are difficult and we’ve had to rely on God, that our faith is the real deal, that it can withstand life’s challenges. Without the many griefs that come our way in this life, we would be left wondering if we would actually stand when hard times came. Living through trials, we know that our faith works and that we can stand no matter what comes, as we trust in God for his power and provision.
You have encouraged me by your faithfulness this year to the Lord and to your family of faith. Many people have seen the genuineness of your faith and your love this year. Your giving to the needs of others has once again been tremendous in 2020. The people of the San Luis Valley are better off because of our church being here. I remember all those who contributed to Eagle Lake Camp. Thanks for those of you who participated in fundraisers for the youth or filled shoeboxes. I think of Kenny Minnick and your participation in the feeding of the homeless and supporting him in various ways so he could share the gospel. I’m thinking of those of you who contributed to Project Growing Hope, helping Holly and Sara feed hungry children. Thank you everyone gave food to the church food bank and who contributed to the various needs of your fellow church members in Jesus’ name. Thanks for supporting and praying for Anchored College Ministry and the fine young couples who are trying to reach Adams State University. Thank you for going to the Waves Quiz Meets and encouraging Tidal Waves. Thanks for volunteering on Sunday mornings to serve the kids in the Sprung Building and the infants in the Nursery. I hope you picked up one of our missionary booklets and Thanks so much for your prayers and your giving to our missionaries (and thanks to those who have encouraged my kids in ministry – helping my son Will and daughter in law Cassidy and their partners Alan and Kristen Hensely reach college students full time in Durango and helping my daughter Katie go full time in evangelistic ministry – she has almost reached her minimum monthly financial need!). It’s been a blessing also to see the new building go up – thank you, thank you, thank you! - when I look at it I get so excited as I imagine decades ahead of our church blessing generations of people with the gospel and thousands of kids learning to walk with Jesus.
As I look to the new year I believe our biggest agenda is to become close as a church family. Hopefully this will become easier and easier to do as Covid becomes less of an issue. Even without the virus, one of the cultural realities of our valley is that it is all to easy to get in the habit of living apart from one another. Our western culture is individualistic and on top of that our local culture is often isolationist in nature – we tend to live separate from others or we tend to hunker down with extended families and don’t make time for others. Our local economy is such that a lot of people work in isolation and work long hours. The problem with this pattern is that the gospel rides on relationships – the good news and abundant life of Christ is explained and learned and applied in the midst of people. Such things as loving one another, supporting marriages and parents, evangelism, prayer and walking with each other through life’s challenges meant to be practiced outside of Sunday mornings in the context of daily going to work, earning a living, raising kids, talking to the neighbors, normal life. Somehow we need to put a higher value and priority at Living Water on doing life together during the week. We all need friends to be there with us as we walk through this crazy life. As you think about your priorities in 2021 I urge you to consider how you will open more of your life and your time to your family of faith – you need them and they need you. The Christian life can’t be lived well alone. The mission that Jesus gave us is best accomplished as we do it together. Just because our neighbors and our culture have chosen an isolated life doesn’t mean it’s the best life or a healthy life. Hebrews 10:24-25: “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Here's some of what’s happening in the near future at Living Water:
NEW SERMON SERIES starts this weekend
Spiritually, Christians are sojourners, temporary residents of this world, awaiting Jesus to come and save. While the majority of Americans still claim to be Christians, the reality is that our culture is no longer Christian at it’s core. America’s values and behaviors are moving farther and farther from the revealed will of God. Christians in many spheres are being treated as the enemy of progress, as hateful opponents of personal freedom and are being shoved to the margins of society. Our joy is great over the future and what God has planned, but how shall we live with and respond to persecution? Peter wrote his first letter to a group of Christians who were a small minority living in the midst of people who treated them poorly, but his writing was an encouraging call to make a positive difference in the world by living as ambassadors for Jesus. As we study the letter of 1st Peter, we will learn how to joyfully represent and glorify God even while enduring trials of persecution.
WORSHIP SERVICE TIMES
SATURDAY MASK ONLY SERVICE at 6:00 p.m.
SUNDAY at 9:00 a.m. NURSERY
SUNDAY at 10:45 a.m. NURSERY
Children’s Ministry will resume January 10th
I’m grateful that we have our worship services on YouTube and Facebook (thank you A.J., Terri, Katie and Kenny!) but I do get worried for those who aren’t connected with people in a physical and face to face way. Technology is great but we were made to be with people. While understanding that some of you are taking serious precautions not to get sick, I do worry about your mental and emotional and spiritual health – it is not good to be separated from the Body of Christ, which you are a part of, for long periods of time. I hope you are still taking the time to meet with people during the week and encourage and support one another with the Word of God and with prayer. I want to remind everyone that we have a Saturday evening service at 6:00 pm that is Mask Only. It is smaller and more intimate and there is lots of physical distancing! I would love to see you take advantage of this opportunity to worship if you can’t join us on Sunday mornings. Of course everyone is encouraged to wear masks and physical distance on Sunday morning as well.
BIBLE READING PLAN
One of the best things you can do in the new year is read through the Bible. Click on this link for a reasonable and doable plan: https://fivedaybiblereading.com/?fbclid=IwAR19FsCt2-bUJEOZ8fmtjZKvFgRD6ggG2hq1U-IY4HhwXCLEQG6g55kayi4 There are paper copies of this plan on the lobby table in the church. Perhaps one of the ways to connect your community group together would be to get on the same reading plan?
MEN’S BREAKFAST AND STUDY starts January 7
A note to the men from Pastor Greg:
Hey Guys, we will start up again Thursday morning Jan 7 at 6:00 a.m. When we start up again in January 2021 we plan to start a study on the Divine Opportunities that lay ahead in 2021 where God accomplishes what man cannot through men who are completely sold out for Christ. Do not let our culture influence your belief on what real gain and riches are! Join us as we look into the Word and understand how men who abide and mature in Christ through total surrender become the influence our culture so desperately needs. Before we meet Jan 7 read Luke 18: 18-30, Luke 17:33 and Luke 19:25-26 and then be prepared to share your thoughts on the following statement:
Eternal life and unmeasurable gain only comes through abandonment of self and total surrender to Christ. LET IT GO!!!
Have a safe and enjoyable Christmas! What a blessing it is for Christians to celebrate the Incarnation. Indeed, the most joyful news ever proclaimed. At last our Savior and King has arrived! He has slayed the dragon of sin and death! His reign is eternal and His rule everlasting! " Glory to God in the Highest."
PRAYER MEETING FOR NICARAGUA Friday, January 8 at 6:30 pm
Ron Simmons, Joy Massey, Eric Palmer and Pastor Jeron are planning on traveling to Nicaragua January 14-20. We are taking a survey trip to investigate our Mission Board’s belief that we can mobilize our church to participate to a greater degree with what God is doing. Living Water has had a lot of investment in the Granada area through the years as we’ve had several couples and singles associated with our church living and ministering there in the past. With our current missionaries’ invitation and with current favorable circumstances, we anticipate the possibility of a great partnership to develop in which we send multiple short term teams from Living Water to Nicaragua every year, but we are still in the prayer and investigation phase. Please join us in the Fellowship Hall for prayer.
PARENT SUMMIT January 23
Our Family Team has been working on putting together a summit focusing on protecting kids from sexual exploitation. The speaker will be Breanna Fetkavich from Street Grace Church. Breanna, once part of our church family at Living Water, has been involved in anti-trafficking ministries for several years now in Houston, Texas. The topics of the summit will be: Age-appropriate conversations, Healthy relationships, Social media, Internet and phone safety, Pornography and How to tell/who to tell. We’re currently shooting for Saturday, January 23 from 9:00 till 3:00 pm with lunch provided. More information to come.
BRINGING LIFE PROJECT Update
The North Entrance is taking shape! Please be in prayer for the contractors as they push through some cold days. The project remains on schedule and under budget. Please continue to pray for the workers’ safety and for God to provide all the finances needed. If you are looking for a place to do last minute end of year giving, this is a great kingdom investment! Check out https://www.bringinglifeproject.org/ for more information. You can give anonymously and in various ways.
ANNUAL CHURCH BUSINESS MEETING March 7
This year might be a little different but our fiscal year ends February 28 and so we will gather (likely both in person and virtually) March 7th to pass a new budget and elect new church officers. Please be in prayer for ministry leaders as they prepare new year budget requests and for the Facility and Finance Team as they work with Pastor Greg and the Elder Board to put a final budget proposal together by mid – February. A Nominating Committee will be formed soon to make nominations for various elected positions, to be voted on at the March 7 meeting.
EASTER SERVICES April 4
I’m so excited about Easter this year! I’m praying it will mark a turning point in our world. Please start praying about who you will invite to Easter services on April 4th at 8:15, 9:30 or 11:00 am
GUATEMALA MISSION TRIP June 26-July 3
Summer 2021 Guatemala trip. We are scheduled for June 26-July 3, 2021. Cost is approximately $1,300.
EAGLE LAKE DAY CAMP July 19-23
Early registration for Eagle Lake is open now and ends January 31st. Families get $25 off if they register before January 31. Please contact Pastor Bo for more information. There will be an organizational meeting sometime in January for those interested in serving on the local staff team.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!