A community church in North Andover, Massachusetts

Welcome to the New Year 2023

From the prophet Isaiah we are told, “Thus says our God: ‘I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert’.” While we already celebrated the arrive of God’s Messiah, Jesus, as foretold by Isaiah, let us now be on the lookout for whatever is new this year, showing us the activity of God in our time. When we see it, we are called to follow where God would lead us. Last year was an eventful year, filled with its combination of joys and sorrows, of fellowship together, and of many changes, the majority of them for the better. Let us look ahead with eagerness toward what comes next.

The church committees all made impressive progress in 2022 and we have seen and appreciated the results of their efforts. Looking ahead, we will be working together to increase our outreach into the communities around us, which will enrich our ministry and may increase our numbers. We will attend this year’s National Night Out, which happens almost literally in our own back yard. Combined with our invitations to worship on Facebook and electronic bulletin boards in North Andover and Lowell, the livestreaming of our service, worship services at the Berkeley, Operation Christmas Child, and many other efforts by our committees and inspired individuals alike, we will help further fulfill Jesus’ call to “be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

It is appropriate to wonder, “Where will we find the strength for all this?” Again we can return to Isaiah, “Those who wait for God shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” The new work God calls us to will bring us joy, and that joy will increase our energy and our desire for further opportunities. Such efforts will also draw us together as an even tighter-knit community, just as Jesus intended.

As we face this new year together, Jesus calls us to do so without fear, as we read in Luke, chapter 12: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food and the body more than clothing. Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things and God knows that you need them. Instead, strive for God’s kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” Let us strive together for the furtherment of God’s kingdom here on earth and feel privileged to be called by God through Jesus, empowered by God’s own Holy Spirit, to continue that blessed work.

May we walk forward together in faith in 2023, eager to see where God will call us and what we will accomplish. As Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, let us take the first step together, even though we can’t see the whole staircase. I am certain we are in for a remarkable journey, one step at a time.

~Pastor Jeff