Goodness Of God
For those new to Creekwood, each Advent we invite a mixture of staff and laity of all ages to bless us with their devotional thoughts to a specific question. You’ll notice we are starting at “Day 2” because Day 1 was Sunday, and the message can be experienced in worship (in person and online). I hope these devotionals bless you each day, and help you envision the presence of Christ fully into your life.
The question this year:
“What do you think of when you hear the expression ‘Kingdom of God'”
The story of the Magi in Matthew chapter 2 has always been one of my favorite stories of the Advent/Christmas season. The Magi are of a different kingdom and different religion, but still embark on a life-changing journey with nothing but hope and faith. Along the way to meet the king who has been announced by the bright star shining, they meet a king of this world who gives them the choice: the way the world is now or bright hope for tomorrow?
Eventually, we see the Magi choose the bright hope for tomorrow as they foil Herod’s plans and, on bended knee, offer a toddler Jesus gifts that are typically reserved for a king. I think it’s a story that ought to make us ask the question, “If our hope for tomorrow is in Christ, what are we offering him in thanksgiving today?”
As we close out the calendar year, we have been reflecting on the goals and ambitions set out this year as our church seeks to share the love of God in the most effective, efficient ways with each other and our community. It seems like a long time ago, but some of our goals were still centered around relaunching ministries from ongoing COVID concerns. We set out to create a cohesive and inspiring pathway for young people to travel along as they move from birth to high school graduation, and age-appropriate programming to promote spiritual growth along their journey. We dreamed of expanding the Open Door ministries to better connect with and serve the adults with special needs community. We aimed to better empower and equip new and existing adult small groups to support each other well and empower each other to live out the hope of Christ in everyday situations. And last, but not least, we aimed to build relationships of care and support so that no one gets forgotten if they can’t participate actively due to health or mobility concerns.
We have made great progress on these ambitions but have come to a place financially where we are unable to further our ambitions, fully recognize our goals, or fully support our staff and ministry teams, if we do not consider the gifts that we are willing to lay down at Christ’s feet. Currently, our church faces a needed total of $320,000 to finish the year, after a very generous November that saw $109,000 given. $320,000 includes expected expenses of $186,205 and a year-to-date accrued deficit of $138,000. We look forward to continued giving in December by honoring pledges and making special year-end gifts to fully fund the ministry of Creekwood.
The leadership of the church is already working on income-generating efforts beyond faithful member giving and appropriate measures to realign budgetary resources to greater effect. A team has been working towards a more realigned, current vision for our church, and I’m excited about the future ministry that Creekwood has to offer. But we need to end the year as strong as we possibly can in order to springboard into next year and the hope-filled future that Christ has for us. I would strongly encourage you to consider a special year-end gift before December 31. You may give online, via stock transfer, from a land sale, minimum distribution from an IRA, or the traditional ways of cash or check.
I’ll reemphasize, I am encouraged and inspired by the current ministry of Creekwood. Every week I send out a litany of good stories to those who give financially that week, and God is around every corner! We simply need to fund the ambitions that Christ has laid on our hearts, while the church governance does its due diligence to bring our funds into proper alignment with our vision and current reality.
Please consider giving, as we are more effective as a body of Christ than we are any one of us by ourselves.
Blessings and Peace,
Rev. David Lessner
Linda Judd, Church Council Chairperson
Dusty Kuykendall, Finance Chairperson, Incoming Church Council Chair
Joni Clarke, Incoming Finance Chairperson
Kathy Bradford, Staff-Parish Relations Chairperson
Dave Compton, Incoming Staff-Parish Relations Chairperson
PS – Don’t forget to invite your friends, neighbors, and enemies to these wonderful experiences of Christ’s presence during Advent. Especially see the deadline on the ACO Toy Drive below.
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