Summary: An anniversay love letter from a pastor to church. A look at Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi and what makes a strong church

1 Sugar Creekinthians

By Rev. Dan Mahan

Philippians 1:3-11

“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. I always pray for you and make my requests with a heart full of joy because you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.”

“It is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. We have shared together the blessings of God, both when I was in prison and when I was out, defending the truth and telling others the Good News.

God knows how much I love you, and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus. I pray that your love for each other will overflow more and more, and that you will keep growing in your knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until Christ returns.

May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation-those good things that are produced in your life by Jesus Christ-for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

I come today with a message of thanksgiving. Today I thank you for the honor of being your pastor for the last two years. During this period, I have made mistakes. I have stepped on toes. I’m sure you have found out that your pastor isn’t perfect! But my only desire is to serve God and to lead you in the paths I felt that He wanted you to follow. We have seen God working in our midst, amen? And He continue to work in our midst if we allow Him to do so.

In the text today, Paul is writing to the church He loved, the church at Philippi. Paul writes words of praise, encouragement, and joy. Yes, he even writes words of correction and challenge. Paul is writing a love letter to the church he loved, to the people he loved. Today, my message is a love letter to the Church and the people that I love.

Paul often wrote letters to the churches that he planted (started). This letter, the letter to the church at Philippi, is called Philippians. We see other letters of Paul to churches in the Scriptures--Galatians, Colossians, Ephesians, 1st and 2nd Corinthians. My love letter to the church I love I will call “1st Sugar Creekinthians”. Try saying that real fast 3 times!.

“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. I always pray for you and make my requests with a heart full of joy” Paul says “I thank God for you.” I thank God for your help in the ministry.” I can relate. I think of you all often during my day. I remember you in my prayers. Every morning, I go thru the phone list, praying for each one of you by name. Praise God! My prayer time is getting longer and longer, as our church family is growing. If I know your need, I lift it up too. I hope you do the same for one another. God can work in a mighty way in the church that is a church of prayer. In Bible days, people often met near the river for prayer. We see this in Act 16:13; where believers had met for prayer outside the city at the riverbank. What better name for a church than River Boulevard Baptist Church! Now I know we have that name because we are located on the street called River Boulevard and not on a river. But folks, wouldn’t it be great if River Boulevard Baptist Church were a church of praying believers. My prayer for this body of believers is that we will be a church of praying believers. What a mighty way God could use us if we earnestly, continuously prayed for one another and for our ministry together.

Pray for your pastor. Little Abby, only 4 years old, prays for me every night. The other night she asked her mom “Mommy, do you pray for Bro. Dan, too?” Pray for Bro. Dan. Pray that I may be led by the Spirit as I lead this church. Pray that I may speak the words God would want spoken . Paul asked the believers in Eph. 6:19 to pray for him. “Ask God to give me the right words”, he said. Pray that your pastor’s messages would be told simply and clearly. Pray that they will be spoken in a manner that all, even children, may understand. Col. 4:4 “Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should.” That is my desire. Pray that I will be a humble servant. Ro. 12:3b “….I say to every man among you do not think more highly of himself than he ought to think;” Jesus told his disciples that the first would be last and the last would be first, as they become servants of God.

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