”From His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” (Jn 1:16). This is how John described the effects of Jesus’ coming into our world. This is the beautiful effect of Christmas, but this isn’t just a Christmas idea. It’s what takes us through Christmas, into every new year, and then through the year again. Why? Because this fullness is a continual fountain of grace that never runs dry and which never flags in providing us with the ample resources of God’s favor. The fullness of Jesus is nothing less than the fullness of God. It is the fountain of living water that bubbles up into eternal life by empowerment of the Holy Spirit (Jn 4:14, 7:37-39). We’ve experienced gains and losses at Eastside this year, but the Spirit of God and the power of Christ continue to move through it all. We’ve been empowered and enabled to serve in tremendous ways this year. We’ve been gifted with new ministry teams with new volunteers who are passionately working behind the scenes to help us be a Serving and Discipling Church. We’ve revised and re-launched our small group life to almost double the results of previous years. We’ve baptized the most people into union and fellowship with Christ since I’ve ministered at Eastside (13!).
None of this is to downplay our struggles, individually and collectively. But it is to say that we have an inexhaustible source of divine favor that can and does work, even in the darkness that rudely intrudes upon our lives. So, let’s consider the effects of Jesus’ coming. He has brought “grace upon grace.” This, and only this, is what will slingshot us into next year and back again. This, and only this, is what we need in order to be a church that develops completely
committed followers of Christ.
Wow! You really came through this year, Eastside! It’s in our spiritual DNA (WRP+4) to be a Serving Church, and you rose to the occasion this month. First, you donated almost $1500 towards the two families that we sponsored this Christmas, ensuring that the children and single mothers would have a happy and memorable holiday. Then, you overflowed our Christmas party with delicious food. And finally, you volunteered with more than enough manpower and food in order to serve the single-parent families at 14th and Chestnut last Thursday. In fact, the community center told me that I had too many volunteers, and so I had to turn some of you down! That’s a great problem to have!
So, Eastside, allow me to say “Thank You” from the bottom of my heart. We’re doing it. We’re living the Kingdom mission of serving others in the name of Jesus and making His salvation known. Of course, we have all sorts of ways to grow and mature. And we will. But the disciple life is a marathon and not a sprint. Let it be our prayer that we see more of Christ, experience more of the Holy Spirit, and live out the love of the Father in more places in our city in 2019!
We are a serving church at Eastside. It’s one of the “4” in WRP+4. As such, our Community Care team is asking us to get involved and serve the children at the 14th and Chestnut Community Center. The team invited a representative from the center to give a presentation a couple of Mondays ago, and here are the needs that we agreed to meet or otherwise assist:
If you can assist, please sign up under the appropriate heading on the volunteer sign-up sheet beside the administrative assistant office. For more information, see one of the Community Care team members: John Harvester, Emily Karaff, Jonathan Stinson, Janie Creedon, Seth Woodason, or Matt Carver.