Jeremiah 29:11 for I know the plans I have for you.” Declares the Lord. “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

As we approach the end of the year, it’s appropriate to look back and ahead. We have many things to be thankful for here at St. John’s. The biggest thing I am grateful for are all the wonderful disciples that I get to work with as we are invited to participate together in the unfolding of God’s kingdom right here in our community. In the five years that I have been here, I have learned how welcoming everyone is, how generous God’s people are, and how ready you all are to do ministry. We have started many new ministries from RePurse It to FLOCK, the Blessing Box, Lenten services, added multi-media, renewed the stain glass windows, refurbished the organ, the Community Goodwill Committee, Cancer Care Bags, and so many more ministry additions.

As we look ahead, I am truly excited by all the possibilities. One change that is coming is to our number of worship services offered. In January, we will be adding an 8:00 a.m. service. We are calling this service “Rise and Shine”. The service will be in the Fellowship Center and only last 30 minutes. It will have two songs, a message, and a prayer and be led in a very relaxed atmosphere. Individuals attending this service will enjoy their coffee while the service is being conducted. If you are a person that struggles with standing up and sitting down, please come. If you are a person that can’t sit for a full hour but still want a message, please come. If you are a young family that has sporting events but still want to come to church. Come in your ball uniforms, jeans or whatever is most comfortable.

In 2019 we hope to have a Young Adult /Worship Leader hired and yet another worship service. Yes, three worship services, all different, all praising God’s holy name. Exciting times ahead!

As we continue into 2019, we’ll be looking at potential new ministries – ways to reach out to the young through social media, looking at how we do social ministry with people we don’t have an established relationship with, and more. We’ll also be making efforts to maximize our database program to improve efficiency and effectiveness so that it can be a true support of our ministries. Maybe I’m being overly ambitious – that’s certainly possible. But even if we only begin to implement half of these things in 2019, it will be moving us in the right direction.

God is calling us to step outside of the church and into the surrounding area to make God’s presence known. God is calling us to proclaim boldly the Good News of God’s loving and saving presence in the world – and especially here in the Dover/New Philadelphia area.

I can’t wait to see how God is at work throughout 2019 here at St. John’s.

God Bless,

Pastor Tom

Fiercely Waiting

“Very soon now, I shall be with you again… I am… the bright star of the morning.” Revelation 22: 12,16

This passage comes from the very last chapter of the very last book of the Bible. Isn’t it strange how the Bible ends? It doesn’t end like a mystery where the culprit is revealed and the riddle solved. It doesn’t end like a musical with a grand finale. It doesn’t end like a novel with the main characters finding some resolution.

The Bible ends by not ending. It ends in anticipation; in waiting. Right now, we are in the season of waiting – Advent. We are waiting for Christmas, the first coming of Christ. But what about the second coming of Christ? The faithful are still waiting.

In a way it seems unfair. Sixty-seven books and a couple thousand years and still waiting?! Except that this is what it means to be people of faith – to be still waiting, still watching, still hoping, still listening…for God. Fiercely waiting.

Waiting is a good thing. If you’re still waiting, it means you haven’t settled in. If you’re still waiting, it means you haven’t given up. If you’re still waiting, you stand an excellent chance of seeing Jesus, “the bright morning star,” the promise for those awake and waiting. Are you fiercely waiting?

Taken in part from “stillspeaking Daily Devotional” by Tony Robinson

Submitted by Pastor Dotty Hartzell