Many have already started their holiday travel as we gather to worship God together today. Some of us will be traveling this afternoon, tomorrow, and Tuesday. Merilyn and I will leave this afternoon to go to Arkansas for a few days, then to Kansas to visit our daughter and son-in-law for several days, and then to Oklahoma City for a few days as we make our way back home. We are looking forward to seeing our family and getting to spend time together again. I hope that everyone will enjoy a wonderful holiday season. Merilyn and I will look forward to being back with our church family at White Rock on January 7.
As we wrap up 2017 and look forward to 2018, I hope that each of our members has a deep sense of gratitude to God for the privilege of being part of the body of Christ. I will be discussing “The Joy Of Receiving Gifts From God” in the sermon this morning, but there is one gift that I did not include just because of time constraints. That gift from God is the church. I am convinced that God’s plan for the church is for us to be a fellowship of faith with our primary focus on Him and the truth of His revealed Word. There are various aspects of what that means but one in particular that I want us to remember is that we are a family in Christ. Jesus makes this clear when He responds to a request from Mary and His brothers in Mark 3:33-35, “And He replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking around on those who sat about Him, He said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.’” As is the case with all families, everything does not always go exactly the way each of us wants. Sometime members of the family say and do things that rub the wrong way. Nevertheless, we love each other, care for each other, and want what is best for each other. We do this because of our primary devotion to God. As John says in I John 4:19-21, “We love because He first loved us. If any one says, ‘I love God,’ but hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that he who loves God should love his brother also.”
I want to thank our members for cooperating with the request from the elders to sit in the middle section by January 7. You are already doing great! Also on January 7, I am looking forward to beginning a new series of lessons from the Sermon on the Mount. Be safe. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone! Enjoy the rest of 2017 and look forward to 2018 as we continue our journey to Heaven together!