I missed seeing you last Sunday, but I want to thank you for helping me welcome Dr. Alex Himaya to Austin, Texas. I hope you are as excited as I am about our new partnership with TC Egypt. I encourage you to specifically begin praying for the people of Fayoum as our church is in the process of establishing a new TC campus in that city right now. In fact, I’ll be heading to Egypt in March with a group of men from our church to minister to the Egyptian people and to check-in on the progress of our new campus. I cannot wait to see how God is going to change the lives of many in the Middle East through our church’s efforts in the coming days.
Thank you for being a generous church. Like Pastor Alex said last Sunday, ministry like this is only possible because of your faithful tithes and offerings. I hope you realize that your financial partnership is a partnership in the mission of God. My prayer will always be for God to use every dollar in our church to help lead people into a life changing relationship with Jesus Christ. Life change is our mission here in Austin, and it is our mission all around the world. And that mission can only be accomplished through the continued generosity of God’s people.
I also want to thank you for your continued prayers and encouragement in my doctoral studies. I humbly realize that I cannot be doing this without a supportive church. This program will indeed continue to demand a lot of my time and energy over the next 2 and half years, but I do believe this journey is worth the investment. I’ve heard Pastor Craig Groeschel say many times, “When the leader gets better, everyone wins.” My prayer is for God to use Gateway Seminary to make me better. Join me in praying that God will use it to refine me, grow me, and make me better so I can serve you better as your shepherd and leader.
This Sunday I will be returning to the pulpit to kick off our new series titled, “More Than Conquerors.” We will be focusing on perhaps the greatest chapter in the entire Bible: Romans chapter 8. The Apostle Paul is going to remind us that we are indeed more than conquerors through our faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus defeated sin and death, and so can we. Jesus accomplished God’s purposes through his suffering, and so can we. Jesus experienced an intimate relationship with his Father here on this earth, and so can we. And Jesus received new life, and so can we.
A new year brings new things. I’m praying that God will bring a new work in your heart this year. There are things in my life that I know need to change, and there are things in your life that you know need to change as well. The good news is change is possible through walking with Jesus. Over the next several weeks, Paul will help you understand the new life that God has designed for you to walk in through his Spirit. As we study together, I encourage you to do two things. First, invest into our church in these coming weeks. Be here faithfully each Sunday. Come prayed up and expectant to hear from the Lord. Get connected into a BFG and find a place to serve. Introduce yourself to people you do not know and make them feel welcomed. Consider plugging into midweek as it returns on Wednesday nights. As you invest into the life of the church, I believe you will see God invest into your life through the church.
Secondly, invite others to join you. Invite friends and family. Invite neighbors and colleagues. But do not only invite Christians. Of course, Christians are always welcomed into our church. But we must be careful to not be a church that only collects Christians. Jesus calls his church a city on a hill, so we must always make room for those who are searching for light. Who has God placed in your life that does not go to church regularly? Take the time to personally invite that person this week. A new year brings new opportunities. You never know how God may already be preparing that individual’s heart. The only thing keeping them from coming to church may in fact be their lack of an invitation. Prayerfully invite someone to join you each week, and let’s see how God uses this season to shine light into our community in a fresh way.
I can’t wait to see you this Sunday. Keep shining this week, and I look forward to worshipping with you Sunday.
Onward and upward,