Hey y’all! How is your week going so far? Or maybe I should say, how is it with your soul this week? As for me, my body is still very tired, adjusting back from traveling over many, many time zones from the Philippines, but my soul is joyful at all the incredible things God is doing in our midst! This last Sunday through our study of the Book of James, we focused on seeking God’s will in our lives. I’d like to ask you to just take a minute and stop everything you’re doing. I know that isn’t easy, but I promise this will only take a minute to two. Now close your eyes and think about what makes you happy. What activity/place/people bring you true moments of contentment in this life? Go ahead and do that, I can wait….Got it? Good, now I want you to think about where your mind took you. I’m asking us to do this because I strongly believe God has made each one us in a very precise way, with specific giftings, passions, and penchants.
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. (Psalm 139:13-15)
When I was younger, travel to different places fascinated me. At one time, in fact, I wanted to be a travel agent (before Expedia, Travelocity etc. when you actually used to talk with a person to plan a trip!). I loved airports, planes, hotels, everything about it – and I still do! It wasn’t until I started being involved in foreign missions that I realized that this sentiment is not universal. That many people hate travel, airports, planes, and hotels – all things I absolutely love! Back then when people would regularly thank me for going on missions I thought, “How strange. Who wouldn’t want to go?” But the fact is, plenty of people don’t want to go, and that is exactly what God intends. He gifts us individually, with particular passions, for specific purposes and roles in His kingdom.
“But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth” (Exodus 9:16).
Those things that delight our souls - that bring us the greatest contentment and happiness in this world - are often an indication of how God intends us to serve Him. I have met with many people who struggle to understand God’s will for their lives. I don’t mean to suggest that discernment of His will for your life is an easy process. In fact if we’re doing it right, I think it is a process that lasts our entire lifetime! But sometimes we miss the simplest of signs and perhaps in some ways it is easier than we make it out to be. By reflecting on what we love, what makes us happy, what inspires us, it is my hope that we can get a head start to discerning where God is leading us.
“The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out” (Proverbs 20:5).
Speaking of missions, by now you may have heard that our Honduras mission is cranking up and we are preparing for our next trip. We have set tentative dates of July 18-28 and will be confirming those within the next week. I continue to be amazed at how God is constantly working ahead of us bringing things together. Just this week I received an email asking our team if we’d be interested/willing to assist in building a new church in a small town outside of San Pedro Sula during the dates we are planning to be there in July. Incredible - God is so very good! Whether you’re interested in a general mission update, would like to know how you can support our Honduras mission here on the ground, or are being called to “GO!”, we hope you’ll join us for the information session on Sunday, March 26th after the second service at our Plaistow campus (gathering around 12:45 with a hard start at 1:00).
We have a couple of needs I’d like to let everyone know about, one for service the other for donations. If you regularly attend at our Amesbury campus, you may have noticed that our parking is getting a little bit squished. This is a GREAT problem to have because it means we’re growing! As a result, we are going to test out a shuttle program on Palm Sunday (April 9th) and Easter Sunday (April 16th) where we’ll use the church van to shuttle people from the large parking lot up by The Morning Buzz down to the church and back. As we don’t want any one person to have to bear the entire burden, we are looking for licensed drivers and parking attendants to help out either before or after either of these services. If you’re interested in serving in this important ministry, please contact Deb Haggstrom at email@example.com or Lou Stuart at (978)729-3752.
The other need I want to mention is our upcoming Pancake Breakfast/Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 15th. In Amesbury we will be offering a continuous pancake breakfast (with proceeds to support the Amesbury PTO), Easter activities and egg hunt which will run from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. We are in need MANY volunteers, donations of plastic eggs and Easter candy to make this successful. If you are interested in volunteering Deb Haggstrom is going to have a brief meeting after service this Sunday (March 26th) or, if you can’t make it, drop Deb an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let her know you can help out. All donations may be dropped off at the church.
I want to close by saying a big “thank you!” to everyone who came out for our very first Lunch with the Pastors this past Sunday afternoon at the Market Square Bakehouse. It was a great time of gathering to get to know one another better and talk about our church, theology and a whole bunch of other “stuff.” I love being out in the community like that, openly and honestly having conversations about life, about Jesus, and being able to laugh and just “do life” with one another. What a great witness in our community! We’ll be doing this monthly in different downtown venues with the hope that over the course of the next few months Jon and I will be able to share lunch, coffee, etc. with each person in our church family. Keep an eye out for April’s date and place TBA in the coming weeks. Maybe by then we will be able to take a nice spring walk to downtown!
I look forward to continuing our study through the Book of James together this weekend at Rock Church Amesbury at 10:10am, and don’t forget breakfast and LifeGroup beforehand at 9:00am.
Blessings on your week!