2013 - THE YEAR IN REVIEW
It's been quite some time since I posted a blog post. I was hoping to have a year end post made before the year ended. While I am writing this mid-day on December 31st, I'm not sure if I will have it posted before the year ends. We'll see.
I would like to take a moment to look at some of the highlights of 2013, if I may.
As 2013 began I felt the Lord telling me that I would be retiring from pastoral ministry sometime in the coming months. In my own heart I knew it was time. Knowing it was time, however, did not mean it was easy. Having been part of the lives of my church family for five years upon retiring it was hard to break the news to them.
The church building was literally moved from one location to another location. It as about a three block move. That was both interesting as well as challenging. Due to several variables involved in that community I do beleive this move was in the best interest of the church. As you can imagine when you look at a task of this proportion not everyone will be in agreement with it. The church survived the move.
What started out as a 2-3 week endeavor turned out being a 3 month endeavor. We had our church meetings in the parsonage for about a month or so until it got to muddy. We then met in the basement of a local bank until we were back into our building in late May.
In June we marked five years of pastoral ministry at this local assembly. This was five years of being intertwined in the lives of our church family - people we have grown to love. I have never served a local church for this long of time as pastor.
The end of June, through tears I announced my retirement from pastoral ministry with Cindy standing by my side. This was one of the hardest things I have ever done. These are people we have rejoiced with, laughed with and cryed with. We were part of their families as they were a part of our family. Though diffifult, I know this was the right thing to do and the time to do it.
July 30, 2013 was my last day as pastor. Since retiring from the pastorate I have felt such a freedom and liberty that only comes when one is in the center of God's perfect will. I praise God for it!
Since leaving the pastorate, God has been faithful and has opened so many doors for our gospel group, New Jerusalem Singers (www.newjerusalemsingers.org). We have traveled places we have never been to and sang in venues we have never sang in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We realeased a new cd, REDEEMED! in the fall of this year. It has been well received. We give praise to Jesus for this. Bob Moore, our lead guitar player, released his first cd, PICKIN' FOR THE LORD in November, as well. We have been busy.
From November 9th - December 25th Cindy and I had the priviledge of continuing our Santa & Mrs. Claus work. This was the best season yet for us. We also had numerous requests for Santa to share the real Christmas story. I had the opportunity to share the real Christmas story in a church, business and home. It is such an honor to be part of so many families Chirstmas traditions. Again, I say PRAISE GOD for His goodness.
While we normally don't sing in December, Janurary or February, we have sang once earlier this month, we sing tonight and already have two scheduled in January. We must give God praise for this, as well.
Tonight we sing at a church just outside of Grafton, IL for their Watch Night Service. It promises to be a good time in the Lord.
As you can see, 2013 had it's share of challenges, but through it all God was faithful. Through it all God's hand and leading was evident. Through it all we give God praise for His goodness.
We are approaching 2014 with great anticipation of what God has in store. We believe it will be the best year we have ever had in regards to ministry. We are not going to limit God by any means. We know He has a plan and we are excited to see His plan unfold.
From Cindy and I, we want to wish you a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!
Until next time...enjoy the journey!Ray
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