“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
People of House of Prayer, I give thanks for you! By your very attendance, prayers, giving, teaching, service and fellowship you bear witness to our GOD. We have a God who loves us and provides great abundance for us. God was willing to come to earth in the form of Jesus Christ. This example reminds us to love God and love one another.
We are moving towards fall and the beginning of a new school year. I am reflecting upon the ELCA National Assembly, which I was fortunate to be a part of in Mid-August. I feel great hope for the world because of people like you and the ministry that we do at House of Prayer. That ministry contributes to God’s mission on so many levels and benefits so many people, truly affecting the lives of God’s people.
While at the Assembly I learned that because of the ministry of the Lutheran church (like that which House of Prayer is doing in Tanzania, Africa) there are now more Lutherans in Tanzania than there are in all of the United States. The love, prayers, agricultural training, building of churches and schools we have been a part of in the name of Christ, have made an incredible difference in the lives of the people of Tanzania and have won many to the church of Christ. This is important ministry.
In addition through ministries like Lutheran Hunger Appeal and Lutheran Disaster Response, we have been a part of reducing world hunger from 1 of every 4 people to 1 of every 8 people in the world. This coupled with our own local ministry at the North Saint Paul food shelf and through the ministry of our Love Fund, our School Tools drive, Giving Tree and for the many ways we help in this community has made a difference. By feeding, clothing, providing shelter for ‘the least of these’ and doing what Jesus calls us to do, we care for others.
This is wonderful work and I want to thank you people for it. AND I also want us to know that we still have work to do. At the Assembly I also heard that by the year 2030, if our congregations continue to operate as we always have, that as many as one of every two may find that we need to close our doors. This means that we need to consider what it will take for us to be made new. How can we at House of Prayer be a new creation for the Lord so that these important ministries of which we are a part can continue?
There is a prayer in the Lutheran Book of Worship which reads, “Lord God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
I pray that we might find new ways to be bold in ministry for Christ as we begin our fall, and I ask that you join me in prayer asking for God to guide us on our way!
Again, I thank God for each of you and pray that God continues to make us new! Thanks be to GOD,
– Pastor Dan