Dear Church Family,
I hope you have had a fantastic New Year! If you’re like me, you’re still getting used to writing “2016”. Here at Custer Road, we welcome this new year, and look forward expectantly, knowing it will be one of incredible and exciting change for us.
Last Fall, we initiated a capital campaign to fund some fairly major changes to our buildings. If you made a commitment to be a part of this, then you should have received a letter in the mail about this upcoming Sunday. When we take up our offering, you’ll also be able to use the “First Fruits” offering envelope you received in the mail. This is to encourage you to make your first capital campaign contribution, something above and beyond your regular offering. In fact, that’s part of why we called our campaign “Above and Beyond”. If you didn’t receive an envelope, that’s no problem. There are offering envelopes in the pews and in the registration pads. You could bring a check and simply put “Above and Beyond” in the subject line to distinguish it from your regular offering. You can always give online, too. Using our online giving, there is a place for “Giving Type”, and “Above and Beyond Campaign” is one of the options you can choose. You can give online here, and learn more about the entire campaign at aboveandbeyond.crumc.org.
If you’ve lived in Plano for a while, you know that Plano is changing rapidly. There is a huge influx of families to this area, and many of them are moving here from other countries. They are coming from India, Indonesia, Iran, Korea, China – quite literally from all over the world. What a remarkable opportunity we have, then, to talk to people about our Messiah! We help support missions work around the world, but how great is it that the world is coming to us? In light of this, I hope you’ll take advantage of our series starting this Sunday called “Christianity and the Religions of the World”. You can see the promo video here. We’ve sent postcards to homes all around the church, and our hope is that people of other faiths will join us. In this order, we’ll talk about Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. If you have friends, neighbors, or coworkers who would benefit from this, please invite them. I will attempt to give an honest and fair explanation of these other religions. It will be respectful – there will be no bashing of other faiths. But I’ll also highlight the contrasts and show how unique the Christian faith is among world religions. We just celebrated Christmas, and Easter proves it: God has come to us, and dwelt among us! The word Gospel means “Good News”. Is this not the greatest news ever? Invite friends to join you as we proclaim this life-changing truth.
We were honored to host disaster relief teams from all over who came here to assist with tornado relief. I’m so proud of Stephanie Mills, our Missions Director, and the work she did do arrange meals and beds for them. The Plano Star Courier even told the story, which you can read here! Things like this make me so proud of the people of Custer Road.
Today is an important day in modern church history. It was 60 years ago, January 8, 1956, that 5 missionaries were martyred by the very tribe they were trying to reach in Ecuador. Among them was a young 28 year old man named Jim Elliot. What is remarkable is that after Jim’s death, his wife Elisabeth did not give up. Two years later, she moved to the village of the tribe that had murdered her husband, and many became Christians. There is a community of believers there to this day, and the story of Jim and his companions has inspired missions work around the world. In Jim Elliot’s journal is a quote that has now become famous. “He is no fool,” Jim wrote, “who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” What a profound reminder to all of us in this new year. May our lives bear fruit like Jim Elliot’s did.
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday!
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