As I write this article, my wife and I will be celebrating 21 years of marriage this week. Here we are now with four daughters, 18 years through 11 years. For some reason she still loves me and, if possible, I love her more now than when we were first married. Marriage is God’s idea!! I always say this to couples when I do their weddings, “Your marriage will be what you make it. If you want strife, then you will have strife. Don’t blame your spouse, your parents, or the devil; you make a choice. Even if those things that you could blame are somewhat valid, you still make a choice to have them define you and your marriage. Let brokenness and forgiveness define your marriage.” I believe this is what keeps a marriage full of life, peace and joy. Amen.

As many of you know, our theme for the year is ONE! This theme was birthed in times of prayer with a team from the church that was put to- gether to seek the Lord for sermon themes throughout the year. As we met in prayer, we felt there were three things we wanted to emphasize for the health of our church this year. The first and foremost is Jesus, himself. He must be at the center of everything.

The other two were evan- gelism and community. We have spent the month of September exalting the name of Jesus during our Sunday morning sermon time and challenging all of us to evangelism and community. We have asked many of you to think of one person who needs the Lord. We asked you to pray for them through the fall. Then, after Thanksgiving, invite them to church when all of the sermons will have a salvation emphasis. Almost all of you have responded that you will pray for someone and in- vite them during the Christmas season. Praise the Lord!! Some of you have already started inviting people and they are showing up. That is great.

Many of you also have responded to our monthly relationship, mentoring commitment. More than sixty percent of you have committed to meeting with someone in the church monthly in a peer or mentoring relationship for one year. Some of you are just getting coffee; some of you are being discipled. However, all of you are building relationships in the church and praying for one another. This is what the local church should be. The Christmas season is a great time to invite people because Jesus is everywhere at that time. If the person does not respond, it’s okay. At least you have reached out and prayed for them for months. Who knows when the harvest of your pray- ers will come in for that person’s life. Jesus is pleased that you have invested in His kingdom.

May the Lord bless you as we together exalt Jesus, build relationships, and reach out to the lost.