A Sense of Blessing

After a brief salutation, the Apostle Paul begins his letter to the church at Philippi by saying, “I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you” (1:3-4).

I could say the same as, indeed, ever since the congregational meeting in November when I was called to serve you as pastor, I have begun and closed each day with prayers of thanksgiving for the people of Mount Olivet, its manifold ministries that touch so many lives, its commitment to excellent music and education, and its nearly 100-year history of faithful witness to the grace of God we know in Jesus Christ.

When people ask me how I feel about taking on the call to lead such a congregation, I reply truthfully that I feel a great deal of excitement at the opportunities before us, a sense of tremendous good fortune to be joined to this congregation, and just a bit of trepidation that I live up to the trust you have placed in me. But in addition to all these emotions, what I feel most strongly regarding this call is a sense of blessing.

Blessing is an interesting and important biblical concept. We often think of blessing in terms of good health, success at work or home, strong relationships, and material abundance. And while blessing may include these things, it is also something more: it is sensing God’s presence in and among the joys and the hardships that we may experience in life.

The Apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians while he was in jail. Sitting alone in a dank and dark cell, he nevertheless experienced joy when he remembered his congregation because he experienced God’s presence in his relationships with them. This is blessing.

There is one other thing about blessing that is important to keep in mind. Whenever God blesses, it is with the expectation that people share that blessing. From the time God established a relationship with Abraham, the pattern has been consistent: you are blessed in order to be a blessing to others.

Mount Olivet has been blessed in so many ways. That is, we have not only experienced consistent growth and good fellowship, but we also know God has been with us in times both good and challenging – to guide us always to care for the needs of those around us and to introduce others to the abundant life we share in Christ.

Please know that, indeed, “I thank my God every time I remember you,” and I look forward to working with you to discern how God will use us in the future to help all those we meet believe in the grace of God, feel a sense of belonging in this faith community, and become what God desires each of us to be.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor David J. Lose
Senior Pastor