End of Year Thanks, Testimonies, and Giving

By Pastor Mark Tanious

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 107:1

The Christmas season has always been a wonderful time of giving as people remember the greatest gift to us. One of the blessings of Christmas being at the end of the year is that it allows us to reflect back on all that God has done over the past year and give him thanks for his faithfulness.

Testimonies of God’s Faithfulness in 2018 at Grace

This past weekend, we hosted our annual Community Christmas Celebration again and for the first time, it rained during the event. That did not stop us. We moved everything indoors: trains, caroling, live nativity, petting zoo, cookies, and a prayer wall. And God faithfully brought people from the community. We were able to have several conversations where the gospel message was extensively shared. One lady responded that she thought being a Christian meant obeying the Ten Commandments. Another said she her grandmother took her to church growing up, but she never heard that salvation is a gift received by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. God was faithful to provide a wonderful opportunity to bless our community and shine the light of Christ! 

As I reflect on this past year, I feel so honored to be a part of this church family. We have seen God do amazing things in us and through us. We celebrate that several people come to faith in Jesus Christ and many more went public with their faith in baptism. In fact, this year we had two women get baptized after recently converting from Islam. Hearing them share their testimonies publicly was both humbling and inspiring. The cost of following Jesus is great for them, but they believe it is worth it.

I could keep sharing testimonies of God’s faithfulness. Like the lady who pulled into our parking lot on a Sunday morning by accident. She wasn’t looking for a church. But, she couldn’t figure out how to get out of our parking lot. So, she looked up the church website and decided she would attend the service. She had experienced a lot of pain in her family and was hurting deeply. She sensed God speaking to her in our worship service and kept coming back. She is now wanting to learn more about living as a Christian and wants to join our church family.    

A Season of Sorrow and Pain

I also recognize this is not just a season of thanksgiving and joy, but a season of sorrow and pain. We said goodbye to several church members who went to be with the Lord. Many church members are grieving the loss of loved ones. Others are dealing with trials at work and home that will not go away. Suffering doesn’t take a break during Christmas. It is still very real.

But, that’s why the ministry of Grace Baptist Church is so vital. We are a church that seeks to bring glory to God by making fully devoted followers of Christ. Fulfilling this mission is only possible as we walk with people through the ups and downs of life. We want Jesus Christ to be embraced as our all-surpassing treasure. This is a ministry that requires time, sacrifice, and resources. But, by God’s mercy, we all have been entrusted with this ministry (2 Cor. 4:1).

A Year-End Gift

I just want to say how much I love our church family. I am thankful to be a part of a church that cherishes God’s Word deeply and loves people lavishly. We hear examples of your love and generosity every single week. So, during this season, as you are reflecting, would you join me in giving thanks for all that God has done through our church?

For many, the end of the year is also a time to give a special gift to the church and other ministries. For our church, the additional money given this month will fund several key missionary projects like Grace Gives and short-term mission trips.

As the year comes to a close, I would like to ask each of you to consider making a year-end gift. Our vision is far greater than our resources. And I believe that’s exactly the way it should be. We are entirely dependent on God providing through God’s people to take God’s message to our community and our world.

The easiest way to give to our church is to give online by going here. You can also mail a check (postmarked by Dec. 31) or drop one off at the church by midnight on Dec. 31.

I have no hesitation inviting you to give generously to your church. That’s because I get to see so many lives that are changed through the ministry of Grace Baptist Church. And I am humbled to be a part of what God is doing here. As you look back over the last year, I pray you can say that you too have seen God at work in your life and through our church. I pray that you have seen, firsthand, the transforming power of Jesus. If so, I invite you to join me in celebrating God’s goodness by generously investing in God’s kingdom.

Thank you for being such a generous and loving church.