I love the start of a new year. It is a time to reflect upon the past and to prepare for the future. In my post of January 2020, I wrote:
[The new year] is like you are starting a new chapter in a book. More than turning a page. Maybe a little less than starting a new book. The characters are largely the same. But the storyline gets richer. I love the start of a new year. Especially in the church.
For many years now, I have taken the first Sundays of the new year to look back and to look forward. We look back to celebrate what God has done. And we look forward to anticipate what God is going to do. As Isaiah prophesied for the Lord, “Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare…. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 42:9, 43:19).
The Former Things
Huffman Baptist Church has such a rich heritage. Many of our current members remember the days when HBC was one of the largest and most influential churches in Birmingham. In those days, Huffman Baptist was growing numerically. Baptizing hundreds. Building the facilities that we are now charged with stewarding. Those were exciting days. And they still bring out wonderful memories for many of our members.
Of course, not all of the former things bring out happy memories. There are painful memories as well. I will not recount them here. But based on the multiple conversations I have had with church members these past several months, those painful experiences are not forgotten.
Into these past experiences (good and bad) the Lord himself enters saying, “Behold, I am making all things new” (Revelation 21:5). Jesus is working in and through the pleasant and the painful experiences. He is making all things new. He is redeeming what is lost. Repairing what has been broken. Reclaiming his glory in his church!
A New Thing
I believe with all of my heart that Huffman Baptist Church has a rich future. God is not finished with HBC. Jesus is doing a new thing. And we have the privilege of joining him in what he is doing. I am excited about this Next Chapter in the life of HBC. During the month of January I will be sharing with you the vision God has revealed concerning what he is doing. The new thing. The Next Chapter. You will not want to miss a single Sunday!
The next two Sundays, January 8 & 15, I will deliver my fourth “state of the church” address, or as I like to call it: the annual church health report. You will not want to miss either of these Sundays!
Global Impact Celebration
Our third Global Impact Celebration is scheduled for Sunday, January 22, with Dr. Steve Echols bringing a challenge from God’s word. Dr. Echols is the president of Brewton-Parker College, the alma mater of Scott and Carrie Smith. He is also a former pastor having served with Bill Sears at Bethel Baptist in Moody and FBC Pleasant Grove.
We will also be joined that morning by representatives of most of our ministry partners, including those whom we support through The Blessing and our on-campus partners! We will start the morning with a ministry fair in the fellowship hall at 8:45. Our ministry partners will be set up and ready to engage you prior to the Sunday School hour. This is an excellent opportunity for you to put a face with your giving through The Blessing. We will have coffee, juice, and light breakfast items as well. Following the Sunday School hour, our ministry partners will join us for worship.
GIC has become one of our most anticipated worship services. I can’t wait!