Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Philippians 4:6-8
The next day aroma of turkey continues to fill some of our homes, the taste of sweet potatoes is more than just a memory, and the craving for more pumpkin pie seems to take on a contagious spirit in our homes. While the delicious food associated with yesterday's celebration of Thanksgiving likely results in some leftovers, our unconditional thanks for our full plate of blessings is a true reflection of God's unconditional grace.
Over the last three years, the community of First Presbyterian Church was blessed with the wonderful ministry of Pastors Mark and Toby Mueller. As God has a unique plan for each of us, the Mueller's evolution in ministry takes them on another journey as Mark fulfills a calling in developing mission programs at churches throughout the United States. Both Mark and Toby will be dearly missed and I am extremely thankful for the unconditional love and grace they extended to the congregation, the Presbytery of Wabash Valley, and the community during their time in Indiana.
As we wish the Muellers special prayers in their new ministries, our thanks also abounds as Ken Crews continues his outstanding work in developing children and youth programs as the new Director of Christian Education and Youth Ministry. Ken's abundance of spirit, energy and creativity results in an exceptional connection with the youth which offers growth opportunities for First Presbyterian. While the church begins the transition into a new era of change, we are also thankful for the leadership provided by our elders, deacons, and overall staff - all of whom offer great stability and continually accept any challenge.
Throughout this Thanksgiving weekend, as I watch the horrific videos of the Southern California wildfires, I am reminded of the bond of suffering we share with the victims and their families through prayer. I am also reminded of the unity of suffering we have with God's creation of nature which has been destroyed along with many schools and churches, thousands of homes, and has traumatically changed the lives of our brothers and sisters. Presbyterian Church U.S.A, through its Presbyterian Disaster Assistance ministry https://pda.pcusa.org, has taken an active role in responding to the needs of those whose homes, schools, churches and lives have been destroyed as a result of the wildfires.
As we anticipate the season of advent and the birth and return of Jesus Christ, let us offer prayers for the people of Southern California, the firefighters, first responders, medical personnel, and for the rebirth of nature in California. The unconditional grace of God bestows hope and rebirth through Christ's birth and resurrection.
A special thanks to all of you for being God's hands and feet!