It’s great to be back in Austin, Texas! I missed seeing you all last weekend, but our family did have a wonderful time away on vacation. Bethany and I were grateful to spend most of the week celebrating our anniversary in Charleston, South Carolina, while our kiddos had an adventure filled week with their grandparents in Houston. We also had the opportunity to catch up with old friends from our last church, and they were thrilled to hear about all that God is doing here at ABC. It was an encouraging reminder to me that there are many people in other cities that pray for our church family daily. I believe God has been answering their prayers, as well as our own, as He continues to bless ABC.
While I did miss seeing you all last week, I was grateful to be able to leave knowing that a fantastic staff would keep the ship sailing just fine. I especially want to thank our Executive Pastor, Dr. Matt Gillum, for delivering a terrific message from the book of Proverbs last Sunday. God has truly assembled a great team here at ABC. Last weekend happened to be my one-year anniversary, and because of that, I’ve spent the last several days reflecting on all that God has done these past 12 months. The list goes longer than any single article I can share, but one thing I’ve been thanking God for is our staff. God has brought a dynamic team to serve our church family. Our staff is filled with individuals who are passionate about Christ and eager to serve our church family. They have worked incredibly hard this summer to equip our volunteers and to provide leadership in ministries that are making an impact for Jesus. From our facilities and food services teams, to our administrative team that keeps us organized and on track, to the ministerial team that helps shepherd our flock, I’m very proud of each staff member and grateful for their contribution to this church. I encourage you to thank them when you see them, because the truth is we could not have had the summer we’ve seen without their A+ efforts.
This summer we’ve welcomed 50 new members into our church family and 24 individuals raised their flags for Jesus Christ through believer’s baptism (May – July YTD numbers). In fact, this Sunday will be our sixth straight weekend with at least one baptism, and we’ve been seeing multiple first-time visitors enter our doors every Sunday morning. I share those numbers for two reasons. First, we should all thank the Lord for blessing our church during this summer. We cast the seed, but we must not forget that He makes it grow (Cf. 1 Corinthians 3:15, Matthew 16:18). But secondly, I share those numbers in hopes of motivating you to join in on that good work. Reaching people for Christ does not happen by accident. It happens when church members embrace their individual callings and step up to share their time, treasure, and talent for the glory of God. Reaching people is indeed hard work. Paul reminds of this fact when he wrote, “For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me” (Colossians 1:29 ESV).
Paul toiled for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He worked hard to reach people so that he could “present them mature in Christ” (verse 28). My hope is that you and I will likewise roll up our own sleeves for the Gospel . We roll them up when we come to church ready to serve others and not just be served. But we also roll them up during the week when God sends us to our mission fields in our neighborhoods, workplaces, and schools. If we commit to toil for God’s glory, Paul says the good news is “His energy” will work powerfully in and through us. I pray that you will make an impact for the Kingdom this week, and I look forward to rejoining you in worship this Sunday as we learn how we can speak to each other with “wise words.”