"But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,
made us alive with (Jesus) Christ even when we were dead in
transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved."
(Ephesians 2:4-5)

2017 Here We Come

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2016 has been a whirlwind of a year. I graduated from seminary, moved to New Jersey, and began serving as Pastor here at Bunker Hill. While there have been a number of challenges both for myself and Bethannie, we have felt incredibly blessed by the selfless hospitality of our church family. Everyone has really taken us in and made us feel like one of their own. We’ve been introduced to “the Shore,” jug-handle left turns, and aggressive driving—which does not come naturally for this small-town, Midwestern couple! Through everything though, we continually thank God for His faithfulness in providing such a strong, supportive group of people that continually lift us up in prayer, provides me with an ample supply of Gluten-free waffles, and invites us into the intimacy of their homes for cookie bakes.

Reflecting back on how deliberately people have reached out to us, I cannot help but be reminded of the Bible’s emphasis on community and relationship-building. Right from the very beginning, in Genesis 2:18, God says that “it is not good for man to be alone.” While I’ve always thought about this verse strictly within the context of marriage, it also speaks to the importance of relationships in general. While Adam enjoyed a perfect relationship with God in the Garden of Eden, God still said that it was “not good” for him to be alone—even though, in the strict sense of the word, he wasn’t truly alone. But he did need another human being. We need each other. There is something incredibly life-giving about that intimate connection with other human beings. It always used to puzzle me why five minutes of deep conversation with a close friend could bring as much comfort to my soul as time spent in the Scriptures. But not anymore. As the hands and feet of Christ, we “enflesh” the Gospel, and we become the living, breathing body which reaches beyond itself to minister to the needs of others. It’s through those relationships with one another that the love of Christ gets spread, and—as much as we’d like to imagine that we can do things on our own—we desperately need one another for love, support, and mutual encouragement. We can’t do this on our own, and it is such a blessing to know that we can always turn to our brothers and sisters in Christ and know that we are all in this together.

I thought it would be fun to give you a heads-up on a couple of things to look forward to in the new year as well. Get ready for a new sermon series or two in 2017. Lent starts on March 5th, and during this time we’ll be going through a series entitled “Embodied Worship,” looking at how God calls each part of our bodies to be actively engaged in worshiping Him. After Lent, we’re probably going to be diving deep into one of the Epistles. I don’t want to give too much away since the details are still up in the air, but I will tell you the that it rhymes with REE-fee-sians (good luck with that). Finally, look for AMPLIFY Bible Study to kick into gear again, probably later in February or March. Last time we looked at Jonah, but this time we’re going to do a book study—likely focusing on what it means to be “the church” in today’s postmodern culture.

I’m excited. Are you? 2017, I hope you’re ready for us!

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