Dear Friends and Family,
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Thank you to each of you for your prayers, encouragement, and support of New Hope in this past year. I am grateful for your partnership in whatever form that takes, and pray that God blesses you as He provides for all your needs in this upcoming year.
A few news items from this past month...
“Fighting Well”: We just finished our study on a biblical approach to conflict (using Peacemaker Ministries’ curriculum, “Resolving Everyday Conflict”). It was a good time as a group, both with the teaching as well as the discussion times, and the subject matter was relevant to everyday situations. It’s often easy to pretend conflict doesn’t happen, or to implicitly assume that following Jesus simply means being “nice”. As a middle child, I gravitate toward the role of peacemaker, but have been learning the importance of actually engaging in healthy conflict and not just seeking surface peace. Conflict is inevitable, and as Christians we have been equipped to handle it well. This study addressed how to navigate conflict—not just avoiding or attacking, but actually engaging in healthy conflict in light of the gospel.
Sermon Series: After an Advent series on what it means to get ready for Christmas (and for Jesus’ return), we will return to the story of David in 1 Samuel. I have found it a privilege (and for some passages, a healthy challenge) to be preaching straight through a book/narrative, as it means engaging with topics that I might naturally shy away from. But the whole of Scripture is God’s Word, and sometimes the most challenging passages give the glimpse into God’s character and work in our lives that we most need.
Building Search: We continue to look for a more permanent worship space, and in early January I will meet with another pastor in the area to discuss a potential location. We appreciate continued prayers for clarity in mission and direction in this upcoming year, and discernment in the building search (that it would be in service of what God wants us to do and where He would have us be). In a recent budget meeting, it was profoundly encouraging to see the unity and shared vision among leadership team members—and the shared desire that the budget reflect the mission God has given New Hope.
Thank you for taking time to read, and for any prayers. Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly should you have any questions, or find yourself in the Bangor area.
In our Lord,