Church Newsletter For Christmas, 2001
It is with great joy that I wish you and yours a very joyous Christmas! Let me start this newsletter by thanking each and every one of our members and especially those special folks who post and fellowship regularly on our church bulletin board. We've truly grown into a great and wonderful fellowship here on the internet, and it's you folks who've made it what it is. Each of you is an important part of our church, and your participation is valued by everyone, and especially by me. I couldn't ask for a better bunch of folks to have in our church than the brothers and sisters we have around the world. May God bless each and every one of you.
Our church has much to be grateful this Christmas. We've been blessed to have a great number of new members join this past year. I don't have the final figures, but I'd say we've had as many new members join this year as in the previous two years combined. It's very exciting to me to see our members establishing their own ministries and carrying on the great commission. And it's great to see the many creative and unique ways our members use the internet and other resources for ministering to others and spreading the great news that Jesus Christ is Lord! You're doing a great job, folks. Keep up the good work and I know God is going to bless each of your ministries in truly awesome ways.
Of course, right now is a particularly challenging time to be in ministry, and but great spiritual challenge comes great spiritual reward as well. There is so much for us each to keep in our daily prayers. The world remains as evil as ever, and there's no shortage of hunger, homelessness, and suffering. Please continue to pray also for the victims and their families of the tragic terrorist acts of this year, and for others around the world who suffer from acts of terrorism, war, famine and other natural disasters. Truly, there's never been a time when your prayers were more needed than they are now.
Before writing this newsletter I looked back over some newsletters from the past years and came across something from the 1998 newsletter that I thought I share with you again. Here it is: "Well, Christmas is here! The time we celebrate the Birth of Our Lord, Hallelujah! We, each of us, know what this means to us individually, for we've all experienced His Presence in our lives. We can each testify to how He has changed us. I call on all members this Christmas season to share your testimony with a stranger, or with someone who's not saved. In this season of gift giving, let's proclaim to the world that God has already given the greatest Gift of all when He gave us His Son and His Salvation. Whatever other gifts you give this season, be sure and share This Gift with someone. Far exceeding in value of any trinket or bauble, far more precious than gold or diamonds, of greater use than any tool or appliance, This Gift should be on the very top of our gift lists."
In light of the many new members and ordained ministers of our church this year I'd like to share something else from the past with you all. This is an e-mail I originally mailed out to our ordained clergy while our church was still only a year or so old. Truthfully, I don't remember when I sent it. But thankfully, Brother Harry A. Smith thought enough of it to post it on his web site, so I was able to access it again. This is specifically for our ordained ministers, and the message is as true now as it was a few years ago. Here it is:
"Dear Brothers and Sisters, I wanted to take a few moments and discuss something with you, the first generation of clergy ordained online. Your calling is a unique one, one never experienced before in the history of the world. This is especially so if you've chosen to minister on the internet. And, just as your calling is unique, so are the trials and difficulties you face as you seek to serve as ministers on the internet.
Never doubt your calling, Brothers and Sisters. While we are all learning at our own paces and via different paths what ministering on the internet actually involves, we are, in fact, breaking new ground and establishing new standards in this area of internet use. What we do now will form the future of ministry on the internet. Our commitment, dedication, and resourcefulness now will influence forever the level of commitment and dedication of future Christian internet ministries. As the leading group in this area, we owe it, not only to those to whom we minister, but to all those future ministries which will follow us as well, to demonstrate full commitment and dedication to our ministries.
What a wonderful time to be called into the ministry! How blessed are we to be here, serving our Lord, at this particular time in history! And make no mistake, Brother and Sister. It's no accident that you are right here, right now. It's not by accident that you happen to be alive during this exciting time. If you've felt the call to serve Our Lord on the internet, then you know the Holy Spirit has called you out, and presented this opportunity to you. The Holy Spirt has chosen you and anointed you for this task. It was for this purpose that you are here, to serve God. And God has provided the opportunity for you to do so, as well. And in so doing has brought to earth His new church - a church without walls, a church without barriers, a church with no borders. A simple church, but a church with no limits. And you have been chosen to build this church.
So cherish your ministry, Brother and Sister. Serve your ministry with all your heart, and know in so doing, you are serving Our Lord Jesus Christ. May your desire to minister and serve be as a passion in your heart, satisfied only by the knowledge that you have served Our Lord well in His ministry.
God bless you, and God bless your evangelical efforts."
Well, I hope you've enjoyed our newsletter. If you'd like the newsletter to start being published on a more regular basis, please let me know. If it's important to you, it's important to me. Let me close by saying again how much each of you mean to me and what a blessing you are. Look for some new features for our church and its ministries in the coming new year. Our school has been blessed with some wonderful papers by our students, and many of these will be posted soon as part of new degree programs. Other new materials and resources are being planned as well, so be sure and check in regularly.
My very sincerest prayers for a joyous Christmas, and a happy and prosperous new year. God bless you.
Yours in Christ,