Wishing you all a blessed New Year,

St. Pauls East Canton

       Two weeks ago, our congregation voted to leave the United Church of Christ and to become an independent, non-denominational church. You may be wondering, “What will be different?” On an experiential level, there won’t be any real big changes. We will still have the same wonderful people to meet when we go to church. We will keep Jesus central as we have been doing. We will continue to learn and grow in our knowledge and faith in God’s trustworthy Word. The same people will be serving in the same positions as they have been. Our services won’t change any more than they have been changing. Things will pretty much feel the same.
        The things that will change are a little more subtle. We will be free to discover and to rediscover who we are as a church and who God wants us to be. We will no longer be linked to a denomination that has an agenda and beliefs that are increasingly different than ours. What I find most exciting is the fact that instead of comparing ourselves to a denomination or to other churches, we are looking to follow the New Testament example of what the early church has done. While our culture is different, many of the principles and the basic purpose of the church is the same – to fulfill the Great Commandment and to live out the Great Commission. This is to love God with all of our heart and to love others, and as a church to make disciples and to reach the lost with the good news of Jesus. I find it refreshing to remember our basic purpose and to remember to ‘keep the main thing the main thing.”
         Our study in the book of Acts has given us a great description of how the church developed and how they accomplished the mission that Jesus had given them. Although the culture was different, they were real people with real struggles and limitations like you and me. I truly believe that as we reflect the purpose and mission that Jesus gave us which is modeled for us in Acts, God will bless us. I believe God will reveal himself in exciting ways that we cannot even imagine – and it will be specific to our church and our specific purpose in our community. I get excited because I never know exactly what God is going to do next. I do know, though, that he does things that are according to his character and that he works through all of us in ways that only he can do. I am so glad that we get to take this journey together. Please join me in prayer that our church will learn and grow in finding and living out his unique plan for us. Join me also in our study of Acts that gives us so many good examples of ways that God’s Spirit works through his Church.
                              Pastor Ed
                        Freedom to Grow
St. Paul's East Canton
St. Paul's East Canton
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