Living Hope Church | 1499 M-32 W | Alpena | MI | 989-358-0338 | Services Every Sunday at 9AM & 10:30AM | Children's Ministry at 10:30AM

Pastor's Pen

December 14, 2018

Good Afternoon, Living Hope Family!

I wanted to update everyone on some events coming up and I also wanted to send out a quick email to thank everyone again for the gracious support you all have shown Renee, myself and the kids during this difficult season. We are so thankful for all of you! The meals that have been delivered, those that have visited Renee, the prayers and kind words…they all mean so much!

I spoke with Renee this morning and it does not appear that they will be released from C.S. Motts Children’s Hospital before Christmas. For this reason, I have decided to postpone our Volunteer Christmas Party, scheduled for December 17th, until after the New Year. It won’t be a Christmas Party, but we still want to say “thank you” to all of our amazing volunteers. Without all of you, we wouldn’t be able to do any of what we’re doing. Not only are you vital to the mission that God has set before us, but you are so deeply loved by Renee and me.

Also, Renee and I were planning on leading the team for our Christmas Cookie Delivery on Christmas Day. However, due to the circumstances with Ezra most likely being in the hospital through Christmas, I will be taking my family down to Ann Arbor on Christmas Eve after our Children’s Christmas Play.

It would be really helpful to me if someone in the church would be willing to lead this delivery on Christmas Day. We have 4 people already signed up to deliver on Christmas Day and could use a few more, as well as someone willing to lead it.  Leading the team means initiating prayer with the delivery team before you depart, communicating the plan of action for delivery (what route you will be taking and where you will be stopping), giving direction for dividing up the cookies, as well as being the spokesperson when you arrive at a destination to make a delivery. It’s always nice to have Christmas carols sung, but certainly not necessary. Expect this event to take about one to two hours. It is possible that Renee and Ezra will be home for Christmas and in that event, Renee and I can still lead the team. Thank you to whomever is willing to step up and fill this role.

Also, our Children’s Christmas Pageant is coming along! I would like to extend an enormous “thank you” to Doug Bruski, Karen Frampton, Jake Stenz and Raymond and Melissa Quintana for their help in building and painting the stage. We will need some extra hands on Sunday following second service to move large pieces of the set onto the stage. So, if you are available to help, it would be greatly appreciated.

I would also like to extend a huge “thank you” to Gail Bruski and Joanne Standen who have worked very hard this week to prepare the costumes for tomorrow’s work day. If you are crafty and willing to help us, we will be meeting at the church at 9am tomorrow to sew, assemble and decorate the rest of the costumes. We have lots of jobs for those who can sew, as well as those who cannot; please consider coming to help!

Our children are incredibly excited! Thank you to Cari Stenz for working so hard getting our children prepared for this incredibly fun event! We are asking if any of our Living Hope family is in town for Christmas Eve, to consider coming to this event, even if you don’t have children in it. It is a wonderful reminder of the blessing of Christmas and it’s a great way to show support to our children and all of those that have worked so hard on this pageant.

We are still praying for provision in reaching our financial goal of $53,000 by the end of the year. We are currently at about 35% of that goal (approximately $19,000) and what a blessing reaching our goal would be. Reaching this goal would allow us to end the year exactly where we need to be having paid off our remaining contractors from the renovation and reaching our budget for the year. So, if you’re able to, we would greatly appreciate any additional donations to help us pay off our debt and start 2019 fresh. Remember that all donations can be used as a deduction on your 2018 taxes.

Lastly, remember that the Christmas Season is a wonderful opportunity to show the unfailing love of Christ to someone in need. There are many lost people in our community that desperately need the love of Jesus and you have an amazing and unique opportunity to show it to them. Don’t hesitate to give someone a ride, pay for someone’s groceries, pay off a lay-away at Walmart, spread encouraging words of kindness…these are some very practical examples of how your love for Christ can shine forth and change someone’s life.

Remember what it says in Lamentations 3:22-23, “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” No matter what you or someone else you know is going through, God is deeply and desperately in love with you (and them). He hasn’t forgotten you and his mercies are new every morning.

Thank you so much. I love you all and am so thankful for each and every one of you!

Merry Christmas.

Pastor Lee