Pastor's Note | Saturday, October 11th

Our journey through The Story is a great way for us to grasp the scope of God’s love and desire to have a relationship with all people, everywhere. It’s a remarkable Story of God coming to us, restoring, reconciling, forgiving, and making all things new - ultimately through Jesus Christ.

Part of the unfolding of God’s plan involved the nation of Israel. This small tribe descended from Jacob (who is later named Israel) and his twelve sons grew from a family of 70 to over 1 million people during their 400 years in Egypt. But God remained faithful to the promises given to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob – this people would live in a land that was verdant and lush, and, most importantly, this people would connect with God in that Land of Promise and bless all the nations of the earth.

We will soon find this nation, led by Joshua, at the bank of the Jordan River ready to cross into the land God. It was, however, a land filled with obstacles and challenges – circumstances that called for perseverance, sacrifice, and courage. As we will learn, the people were willing to do what it took and they made it into the land by the power and provision of God.

Having been dismissed from the PC(USA) and now affiliated with ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians, we are entering into a new “land” of a denominational affiliation. It is something I am very enthused about because of the clear emphasis on essential tenets of faith, the clear call to make disciples, plant new churches, and to learn to function as a “missionary enterprise” right here in our community.

This comes with obstacles and challenges. As we presented at a recent Town Hall meeting, our dismissal settlement includes another $203,000 (in addition to the original $240,000) going to the Presbytery if Los Ranchos. This means we have over $203,000 to raise. Let’s not focus on the negatives but see this as a challenge to be met through generosity and sacrifice. More information on meeting this challenge is forthcoming; however, if you feel led to help provide these needed funds now, they would be welcomed.

The good news is that we are “in the land” in terms of the property. There is no longer any “Trust Clause” meaning the property belongs to the congregation – free and clear. But there’s another challenge and opportunity – improving the facilities. Can you imagine how rewarding it will be to upgrade the look of the campus – making it more welcoming and more easily navigated?

Finally, we are facing a challenge with our operating budget. The deficit to date is high – close to $100,000. We have seen deficits before and our Stewardship Team is working with staff and ministry teams to close the gap. God has provided for us in the past and will do so in the future. As Curtis reminded us two weeks ago, “the good news is that the money is there… the bad news is that it is still in our bank accounts.” God has provided and will provide through you and me if we are willing to be generous.

I believe we are entering into a great new place and time in the life of Good Shepherd. It is a privilege to see what God is doing and a delight to look forward to see what the Lord will do in the future.

Pastor Jim

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