The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest
Another Year of Blessing

There was a pastor (much like this one) who struggled to remember people’s names. He developed a system for secretly asking people their names when he couldn’t remember. He knew that most names have at least one “e” or an “I” in them. Whenever he met someone and was unsure about the person’s name, he would cunningly say to them, “I forgot, do you spell your name with an “e” or an “I”? Usually, the person would say their name back and spell it. This worked well until one morning, as the pastor was greeting people on their way out the door following the service, the pastor saw a woman coming toward him. He knew her, but her name had escaped him. They exchanged pleasantries and finally he asked the question, “I’m sorry, do you spell your name with an “I” or an “e”. The woman’s face turned red as she burned with anger, “It’s Hill! H-I-L-L and don’t you forget it!”

It's hard to believe it, but this Sunday, July 31, Cheryl and I will begin our 23rd year of ministry with the First Christian Church family. It is hard to believe that 22 of our 42 years of ministry since ordination have been here in Clovis. Many of you have been with us the entire time while probably most of you have joined in this journey along the way. It was my belief that God led us to this task and continues to guide. There have been ups and downs, twists and turns, and a few full-scale loops along the way, but we have been blessed beyond our wildest dreams by the people who have made this trip special.

We’ve said farewell to a number of folks who either moved away, walked away or passed away along the way. We loved them all and miss them. But we are more than blessed by those of you who are still walking down this path of glory and sharing your lives, your talents, your gifts, your love, your families, your friendship, your finances and a multitude of other parts of your lives with the ministry of this fellowship of believers. All the while, we have shared Jesus with each other and our community. He has been our constant and our joy.

Like the pastor in the story above, I’ve made my share of mistakes along the way, but God’s and your patience have sustained us all the way. While we enjoyed the numerous shorter term previous ministries and made lifelong dear friends along the way, there is no doubt that these 22 years have been special to us. Becoming a part of the community is special too. I’ll be turning 66 in a couple of weeks, but feel that God still has a lot for us to do here and that, in many ways, there is a rejuvenation of spirit and life taking place among us. FCC’s best days are yet to come.

We want to thank you for your kind support of us and our family. We are thankful to God that both of our children and their amazing families are with us and still sharing in this ministry. When we came here, we believed God had a long-term plan for this ministry. We haven’t caught up with Ron and Carole Eggleton’s 25 years, but we are gaining. They certainly set a legacy and standard to inspire our service. With the Lord’s help, we will continue for many years, supporting and encouraging you all in our walk together with and for Jesus.

I still believe in the slogan I’ve shared with you before; “Attempt something so impossible that if God is not in it, it is doomed to failure!” God had always specialized in doing things people believe are impossible.

I want to challenge you and myself to keep our eyes on Jesus and on the amazing things can and will do in and through us. I want to challenge us all to try new things and let God lead us in adventures that can only be accomplished through solid faith in God!

We cannot settle for the status quo. Satan loves the status quo. He loves for us to settle into our comfort zones and reject anything that threatens to push us out. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is still at the core of our ministry together. I don’t know where the saying came from, but it is true, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve already got.” Jesus warned his disciples that putting new wine in old wineskins will lead to disaster. God continues to give us new wine, new life in the Spirit and we need to keep seeking new ways to share it.

Thank you all again for sharing your lives in this exciting new excursion of Faith!

This Sunday we will continue our series of messages from the 10th chapter of John that we have titled, The Good Shepherd and His Flock Follow the Leader. This week’s sermon title is One Flock & One Shepherd based on John 10:16. We will be looking at some other passages that relate to unity and expansion of the flock to the whole world. Join us for another blessed day.

Living in gratitude,

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