Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,

I have a confession to make.  I typically don’t do well with big changes.  My wife can attest to this.  As we were getting closer to my final Sunday in Nebraska, as we were packing up our stuff . . . I started to isolate myself and tried to find things to fill my time so I didn’t have to think about moving and packing and trying to find a house and dealing with the moving company and, and, and … the list goes on.  Even though I was telling everyone that we all need to trust in God for He has all things in His hands and is going to take care of everything . . . . deep down inside I was struggling with that.  My sinful self was wanting to be in charge and that only stressed me out more and more.

Now that we have moved, found a house, have started to settle into somewhat of a routine . . . I am extremely thankful, humbled, and a lot less stressed.  Thankful first and foremost to God for continuing to stick by His promises of being with us, especially through our move and transition period.  Humbled by the out pouring of love and support shown by you in the weeks leading up to our arrival but also upon our arrival.  As of the time of writing this, I have been installed, enjoyed a couple of meals with you, and preached my first sermon.  The welcomes, the chats, as well as the love and support shown through your words and actions have been absolutely amazing.  Even though we have just arrived, you have made me and my family feel like we have been here for years.  This huge outpouring of love has allowed me to be a lot less stressed, which my family thanks you for also.

November is a month where we tend to focus more on giving thanks for things as we observe Thanksgiving.  Rightly so for when we really look back over the year, even if we have traveled through a valley or numerous valleys of darkness . . . there is a lot which we can all be thankful for.  We can be thankful for our health, our friends, our family, our church, and all the other wonderful blessings which God so freely bestows upon us without our asking.  We can be thankful for the time we have had with loved ones who are no longer with us.  But most of all, we can be thankful for the gracious gift of Christ and that through his perfect life, sacrificial death, and victorious resurrections, our sins are forgiven, the promise of everlasting life is ours, and we can joyfully look forward to and anticipate the day when Christ returns.  On that most awesome of days, we will get to live with Him forever as well as with all the saints who have gone before us in the new heavens and new earth.

Numerous times throughout the psalms, God’s people read and pray these words, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!”  If there is nothing for which we can think to be thankful for . . . the steadfast love of God, a love which doesn’t change like the weather but is constant … that love of God is with you and for that we are to be thankful.  The amazing steadfast love of God is with you now, tomorrow, and forever!  It is even with you as you enjoy the most awesome riches of heaven!!!  God’s love for you in Christ never waivers but is steadfast, it is solid.

My family and I have a ton to be thankful for this year.  We are thankful for our health, for having each other, for having a house to move into … but we are also thankful for you, our brothers and sisters in Christ.  We are looking forward to getting to know you better but also in growing together as we serve our ever-giving and loving Lord.  Together we can give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love truly does endure forever!

In Christ,

Pastor Mike