Dear Friends, Hello (again)! This letter is going to be published in our newsletter and on our new website. (Our new website will be up and running this month.) It is interesting to think of the potential reach this message may have being both in print and online. Whether you are brand new to Good Shepherd and are just checking us out or if you have been a part of our community for a long time -- welcome! Either way we hope you find our community a place where you can find support, growth opportunities and spiritual enrichment.
And, either way, I can relate a bit to what you are going through. If you are new, so am I, kind of! This is the first thing Iâ€™ve written for Good Shepherd in over half a year. I have been off healing after a liver transplant. In other words, Iâ€™ve been gone for a long time. Some things have changed in that time. So I know what it is like to walk in to a church not always knowing what to expect or how I will be received. If you have called Good Shepherd your church home for a long time, I think I can relate to your experience as well. As of July 2015 my family has been a part of Good Shepherd for 13 years. There are reasons why we are now into our 14th year of being a part of this church. Good Shepherd makes a significant difference in serving our community outside of the walls of our church, we have authentic community inside the walls of our church (and outside on days we like to barbeque or have other parties), and what we have here is unbelievably ripe with potential. In other words the future is wide open for how we can continue to live our mission of â€œSharing the Love of Jesus!â€ Just like this message has an unlimited potential for all the people it may reach being both in our newsletter and online, our message of Godâ€™s love for all people has unlimited reach through each of us as individuals. If you are new here, welcome! There is a place for you here. If you are established here, welcome back! Be sure to invite your friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances, mailperson, doctor, people you run into in the grocery store lane as you are sharing small talk, whoever. We live in a hurting, confused world that aches for the grace God freely gives. The problem is that too many people think that grace comes with strings or that there is some catch in being a Christian. Itâ€™s much easier than that. God loves us just because. And it is time more people lived in light of the fact that no matter what they have done in the past, or who they are, God loves them anyway. But everyone need to hear that from someone. It is our job as Christians to get that message out. Jesus came, lived among us, and quite clearly gave us the admonition, â€œGo and make disciples of ALL nations.â€ God is planning on us to bring Jesusâ€™ love into our world now. As someone once wisely said, â€œGod doesnâ€™t have a backup plan.â€ So I look forward to the rest of 2015 and all that the future brings. Whatever it brings it is wonderful to know we can face it in the joy of what God has done and continues to do in our lives and in the strength of our gathered community! Godâ€™s Peace, Pastor Ted