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From the Senior Pastor – December 2020

The month of December has come. Usually in the life of a community of faith this season of Advent is full of activities and excitement preparing for the annual celebration of the birth of Jesus. As we know this is 2020, the year which will be forever remembered as one rife with anxiety, suffering through a global pandemic, and constant change and uncertainty. After watching the retirement service for Bishop Abraham Allende, our synod’s bishop, on the Synod YouTube channel, I was again struck by a sense of gratitude and joy at what has been in spite of everything else swirling around our lives. Bishop Allende included in his remarks his set of anchor verses in scripture which supported him during his term as Bishop. This piqued my interest to come up with my own set of anchor verses which have sustained me during this tumultuous and difficult year.

 

These are my anchor verses in no particular order:

1 John 4:19 – “We love because he first loved us.”

Romans 12:12 –  “Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.”

John 15:16 – “You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.”

Jeremiah 29:11 –  “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.”

Isaiah 43:1-2 – “But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”

Psalm 46:1-2 – “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;”

Hebrews 13:8 – “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

Philippians 4:4-9 – “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Colossians 3:12-17 – “As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

 

Living in God’s amazing grace,

 

Pastor Matthew Groenke

 

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