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January 2016 - Pastor's Message

posted Jan 7, 2016, 8:30 PM by Karen Lindsey
Dear fellow believers,
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you always!

In the last two newsletters we have focused on God the Father and His Son Jesus our Savior.  It seems appropriate that at the beginning of the new year we are reminded of the work, presence and fellowship of the Holy Spirit.  

Throughout Advent we heard predictions of the arrival of Emmanuel, "God with us".  Don't forget, He is still with us every day of the year through the fellowship of the Holy Spirit!  We are in fellowship with the Holy Spirit when we hear and study the Bible, since the Spirit always communicates with us and guides us through God's living Word.  Through faith we can also trust that the Holy Spirit ministers to us through the sacraments. 

But what, specifically, is the Holy Spirit up to in the lives of individual Christians?

For one thing, the Holy Spirit is tending the garden of your heart and mind.  He is at work producing the "fruits of of the Spirit".  Paul writes in Galatians 5:22, 23:  "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."  (This list reminds me that the Holy Spirit still has a lot of work to do in my life!)   

The Holy Spirit is also kind of the Santa Claus of the Trinity (bad comparison!) because the Spirit blesses our lives with spiritual gifts.  Paul writes the following in 1 Corinthians 12: "There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit ...  Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.  To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and still to another the interpretation of tongues.  All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines."  

The Holy Spirit gives individual Christians gifts that will serve the hurting neighbor and the church. But the Holy Spirit is also in close companionship building up each individual Christian in faith, hope and love.

As I write this it is New Years Eve.  We can't help but look back at 2015 and think about our successes and failures, our joys, fears and aggravations.  We faced challenges to our faith, but also growth in faith.  With another year behind us we can see how the fellowship of the Holy Spirit comforted us, how he guided us through difficult times and decisions, how he increased our joy even as troubles increased.  As Christians in fellowship with the Holy Spirit -- especially during difficult days -- our picture of God's love and faithfulness is enlarged.

Now at the beginning of the new year I pray that the fellowship of the Holy Spirit will build us up in faith, guide us through daily life, and help us use our Spirit-given gifts to help others and strengthen the Church.

In Christ,
Pastor Lori