Letter from Pastor Jon
My Dearest Christ Church Family,
Grace and peace in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As I type this pastoral letter, I’m flying over North Texas at an altitude of 34,000 ft., heading to Pasadena, California for a weekend of gospel ministry. A few months ago Providence Christian College extended an undeserved invitation to give the commencement speech for the graduating class of 2021.
My speech will be constituted of three straightforward exhortations for these newly minted graduates — Live not by the lies of our culture, live only by God’s truth, and live always with courage. I plan to remind them that in our day of growing darkness and moral decay, we need modern Joshuas, Daniels, and Esthers who will be bold and unflinching witnesses for Christ. May God raise up godly men and women in this next generation! On the Lord’s Day I will preach the morning and evening services at Chino URC, a faithful Reformed congregation that resides a few miles south of Pasadena. I will miss and affectionately remember you in my prayers this weekend, even as I ask that you’d remember me in yours. I’m so grateful that Pastor Michael will be at the helm in my absence, as he has my every confidence. In addition, the Rev. Aaron Halbert, our missionary/church planter to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, will preach in the evening service. His dear family will also be with him. I warmly urge you to attend both services this Lord’s Day (and every Lord’s Day), if it’s not currently your regular pattern.
Haven’t the past few weeks been encouraging for our congregation? We moved into our beautiful, newly-renovated facility. This new space has been a huge blessing, and already we are seeing a spike in interest and attendance. Our Sunday school program is running on all cylinders again after a nine-month hiatus. It’s been great to see all the children excitedly attending their classes. Many thanks to our faithful teachers who are pouring into our covenant children every week. The adult Sunday school class on The Westminster Larger Catechism has been spiritually rich and edifying. If your family is not presently attending the 9:30 a.m. Sunday school hour, I strongly encourage you to add it your Lord’s Day morning schedule.
We’ve received several new individuals and families into church membership, and are joyfully anticipating several others taking membership vows in two weeks. I hope that you will reach out and get to know them. Several of our new members are precious covenant children who’ve received the sign and seal of God’s covenant of grace through baptism. Henry Cope, one of the newest additions to our flock, will receive baptism the first Lord’s Day in June. Pastor Michael and I have been working on a revised church directory, and it will be available next week.
Preaching through Paul’s epistle to the Romans has been an indescribable joy. Indeed, I can’t remember ever enjoying the pulpit ministry more. The rich gospel contours of the opening chapter have set the stage for what I hope will be a long and life-shaping study for our congregation. I have witnessed more tears in response to the preached Word over these past few weeks than I’ve seen in a long time. The Holy Spirit is at work through the Word of Christ! He is softening hearts and deepening convictions. May the preached Word strengthen our faith, comfort our souls, and empower us for Christian Witness! We are God’s ambassadors, and our church is an embassy of grace. Therefore, let us like Paul be “unashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16). May we take it boldly to our neighbors and to the nations!
The Gospel Reformation Network conference exceeded all expectations. You may access all the messages on the GRN website (gospelreformation.net) or on the GRN YouTube site. I would encourage you to listen to them. Please pray for the Presbyterian Church in America, and for the General Assembly in St Louis next month. The denomination is at a crossroads.
Finally, I want to give a word of thanks to God for our elders and deacons. They are faithful men who are serving the church with love and sacrifice. Next time you get an opportunity, thank them for their loving (and most often behind the scenes) service to our congregation.
I thank God for each one of you, and for your families. It is an honor and a joy to serve as your minister.
Your Pastor, Servant, and Friend,