Do mysteries intrigue you? Are there times you sit wondering about the future; what it will hold, what things will happen, what people will cross your path, what new adventures may take place?
The Summer of 2023 is winding down, and now we are preparing for Autumn, the Fall of the year. Its been a long hot Summer, to be sure. It doesn’t look like the triple digits are completely gone yet.
I can’t explain it, but I am filled with a delighted expectation for this coming time of year. I was born in the Fall of the year, and it has always been my most favorite season. I love the smells and tastes, the crispness of the air, the style of clothing, the falling leaves, the longer nights. It is just a season I truly resonate with.
With the season of Autumn looming before us, I wonder what it will bring this year? During the Summer months, we tend to see some thin crowds at church, its of course a time when people engage in other activities. I wonder if new people will decide its time to give church a try, or simply to return to a more regular schedule of attendance? When they begin to show up, I’m praying we are prepared to welcome them and help them fit into the life of the church. Sometimes we aren’t always as welcoming and helpful as we can be. Sometimes we don’t exhibit a truly loving presence. My experience with the people of Preston Hollow has been they are extraordinarily hospitable. We have folks who go out of their way to make others feel at home, to be one step ahead of their needs.
I wonder what missional opportunities will present themselves to us? Sometimes we get set in our ways, and don’t necessarily make room for new and fresh ideas. Knowing the people as I do, I’ve found Preston Hollow is eager to help and engage in mission as it presents itself. This is a true blessing, we aren’t locked in to doing things because we’ve always done them. Sometimes we just need to look beyond what we’ve enjoyed doing, and do new things that reach and serve new people and needs.
I can’t tell you how delighted I’ve been with Jim’s Bible study using The Chosen series as a springboard for discussion and engagement. The people who have attended have been so engaged. What new things will we decide to offer that will reach others in new ways?
Several scriptures come to mind as I look forward to this next chapter of our ministry. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 we hear Paul saying, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” We are all new creations, each day! We are given an opportunity to re-create ourselves to embody the very essence of God’s love and service. We aren’t shackled to anything, we are freed up to be who God wants us to be. We can look forward to what God will place in our lives.
The author of Lamentations 3:22-24 tells us, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’” Can we hear the hopefulness and excitement in this passage? Every morning God showers us with mercies unbounded. God is faithful to us, and we have every reason to be hope-filled and excited about the future lying before us.
Finally, the prophet Jeremiah gives us a message which should make our hearts soar with hope and excitement. In 29:11 he writes, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” We don’t know the future, but God does. We can’t predict with any reliability what will happen to us, who we will meet, what opportunities will fall in our laps. But what we do know is, God has a plan for us, a plan filled with more than we can imagine. God’s plans for our future are positive, life-giving, hope-filled plans, all we have to do is walk into them.
I’m praying you will join me and all the good folks of Preston Hollow as we look forward to the Autumn season as a time of renewal and excitement.
Blessings and Peace,