Wednesday, January 10, 2018

FBCP 2017 Assistant Pastor Annual Ministry Report

FBCP 2017 Assistant Pastor Annual Ministry Report

Jesus said, "I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown" (Rev 3:11).

First, the promise.  Jesus is coming back, and it’s going to be soon.  On several occasions, Jesus taught His disciples about what it looked like to serve Him, by using the example of the returning master and his waiting servants.  The difference between the servants gaining reward, and the servants suffering loss, is based on whether or not they were faithful to the master’s parting command (make a profit off the master’s investment, and for us, make disciples).  Jesus wants us to know that He is going to return soon, but not just for the sake of knowledge, or of being encouraged, He wants us to live like He’s going to return soon, so we will live lives of obedience, lives that bring God glory.  Jesus said, "Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.  “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes"  (Matt 24:44–46).

One of the concerning issues for the Church today, is the issue of indifference toward Christ’s return.  Jesus, Himself, presents His return as being imminent, and therefore, as His servants, we are to be prepared.  We should each ask ourselves, “Am I busy working to fulfill the Master’s interests, or am I busy working to fulfill my own?”  This was the issue for the servants in Christ’s parables, and it is no less the issue for us today.  No worries though, the Master will sort it all out upon His return.  

In light of Jesus’ soon return, He advises us to “...Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.”   He says here that we should forcefully hold onto to the spiritual advances we’re making.  In other words, keep moving forward, don’t get lazy, don’t start to coast, keep doing faithful works of righteousness like you’ve been doing, or else you may not finish well, you may not receive a crown.  How we finish the race matters.  Remember, “...we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:1–2).

During 2017, we’ve continued the study of Systematic Theology during Adult Sunday School hour.  We started this class in order to help us all better understand God, and how God relates to us.  We’ve also begun Biblical Counseling Training on Sunday evenings.  These classes are designed to help equip the the church to counsel others/each other, biblically.  Each one of us counsels others, we need to counsel according to God’s word.  Over this past year, we held a Marriage/Discipleship class on Thursdays.  Seeing the need for more Christ honoring, gospel focused marriages, we studied through Frances and Lisa Chan’s, “You and Me Forever.”  Wednesday Evening Prayer Meetings have been an encouragement for those who attend, and we would love to see more and more of you to come out.  

It was a blessing to serve alongside you, as we served dinner to families living at the Bellport Homeless Shelter, as well as at the Christmas School Outreach with Lighthouse Mission.  It has continued to be a great honor and blessing for me to serve my God, my family, and you, my church family, one more year.  

My prayer for FBCP is that by the end of 2018 we will look back to see that we have worked more service projects together, served more meals, met more needs, evangelized more people, made more disciples, and gained more ground for the Kingdom of God, than we have ever done before.  

Jesus is coming back, and it may Be this year.  Let Him find us faithful.

"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen" (Phil 4:23).

Pastor James M. Winslow
January, 2018, East Patchogue, NY 

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