“I Am Thankful for December 5, 1999”

Twenty-two years ago on this very day, December 5, I preached my very first sermon as the pastor of Summerville Baptist Church. The day before that, we had a Men’s Prayer Breakfast on Saturday. We had just arrived at Dad & Mom Beickel’s house the night before that after spending a couple of days in Layton, UT, with Pastor Chuck and his family. We had left Indiana on the Monday after Thanksgiving Day; Sunday night our church family we were leaving had a good-bye service which was overwhelming in love expressed to us for the twelve years of ministry that we had there in that church. Over the past two decades plus, God has done many wonderful things, and we have seen Him work to continue building His church here in this community. We have seen many people come and go over the years, but we thank the Lord for all those who are still with us today. December 5, 1999, began a journey with this church body that I am thankful for and thankful that it is a process that God has continued us on together. None of us knows what tomorrow holds and none of us knows how long God is going to allow any of us to continue the work He has given us to do with Him in this place, but I am looking forward to the days ahead and what He has planned. Just as God has done some wonderfully amazing things in the past years, He has some great successes and challenges ahead for us to experience with Him. The coming year will bring to us many changes, but before we experience those let us all finish this year together well. My prayer is that the weeks concluding this year will display in us increased faithfulness to worship, increased fruitfulness to God’s glory through us, increased giving by faith from the blessings of God, and increased love for our God and each other as a church family. Over the years we have lost many wonderful friends and beloved people from our church body to eternity and to other places in other churches, but we trust God to continue adding to His church in this place in the days ahead as He has done before. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve in your life and in this church body as a shepherd under our Great Shepherd. It truly has been a blessing for which I am grateful. Praise to the Lord, the Almighty!