|Messiah Lutheran Church||
6201 W Patterson Av
Chicago IL 60634
On July 1st of last year (2012), I was installed as your pastor. And I rejoice every day that God has called me to serve such as loving and talented congregation as Messiah!
I look forward to another year of serving you, getting to know the beautiful members of Messiah even better, and watching God at work among us as we seek to do His will together!
I give thanks to some of the ways the Holy Spirit has worked this past year through such an imperfect Pastor as me! Any good that has happened at Messiah while I have been your pastor is all because of Him! The saying is true, "God more often than not gets His work done in spite of us, than because of us!"
However, I also have remorse, as well — over things I could have done differently and more effectively — of mistakes I have made, offenses I have caused, my personal shortcomings, my lack of discernment, my failure to lead, etc., etc.
If I had the chance to do it all over again, I would have done things differently in order that I might have been a more faithful pastor to Messiah and specifically to you and your family!
As we say together almost every Sunday at the beginning of the Divine Service, "I confess that I am by nature sinful and unclean. I have sinned against God in thought, word, and deed, by what I have done and by what I have left undone. I have not loved God with my whole heart; I have not loved my neighbors as myself. I justly deserve God's present and eternal punishment....."
And the Good News is God promises that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:8-9).
Thus you and I, as forgiven children of God, have the unique privilege of counteracting the remorseful words, "If I had a chance to do it all over again" by adding the words of Good News, "And I do!!"
Because of God's grace and forgiveness, you and I can put our past sins behind us, and strain forward to what lies ahead (Philippians 3:13).
As baptized children of God, each and every day of our lives becomes a chance to learn from our past mistakes, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, do things right this time around to the glory of God!
As I enter my second year as the called and ordained pastor of Messiah, I thank God that I have been given another chance to do things over again!!!
As I look forward to what God has in store for us as a congregation and as individuals in my 2nd year of being Messiah's Pastor, as together we seek first the Kingdom of God! "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (Matthew 6:33).
Your Forgiven Servant,
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