Happy Thanksgiving Friends,

Scripture commands us to give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus.

As you know last week the church council and staff made the hard decision to re-enter online services. Our hope is to Re-Gather on December 13 if the Lord wills. Remember, we are exercising caution until there is an all-clear announcement. Both SVKids and SVStudents will meet online until further notice.

We are optimistic that the Lord will make our in-person gathering happen but we will require a submissive commitment to mask up and practice social distancing when we gather. Jesus commands us to gather, so we long to strive together side by side for the sake of Community. We are a relationally redeemed people. Our family of friends cannot thrive at an ideal level when we are scattered.

Nonetheless, I’m grateful for SV members who have lauded our resolve to shepherd the flock of God among us with integrity of heart and skillfulness of hands. I’m also thankful for other members who have a different perspective but lovingly agree to disagree with our current decision. But both postures reflect true Community. We might not agree on everything, but we must agree on this one thing – as citizens of heaven, live in a manner worthy of the gospel.

The Holy Spirit seals us together as evangelists and friends which is the perfect segue to discuss core value #5 Evangelism. The grace-filled life culminates with evangelism which means we will intentionally invite others to respond to God’s offer of eternal friendship. Evangelism stirs up our passion for Jesus, produces holiness, and yields hatred for sin. In other words, when we think about Jesus more we will think about ourselves less. That does not mean you think less of yourself. It means you no longer become the object of your affection. Friends, grace makes us love God, love people, and make disciples by doing the work of an evangelist. As the lead friend of SV, I will not allow us to bombard our ministry calendar with so many good in-house events that we miss one of the greatest experiences of the Christian life, evangelism.

This week read and pray through John 3 with these thoughts in mind. Ask God to reveal His love for you in everyone you meet.

• Why is Jesus willing to talk to a religious leader at an unconventional time?
• What does it mean to be born again?
• How did God prove His love for the world?
• How will embracing the love of God transform anyone dwelling in darkness?
• Why is the love of God such a difficult doctrine to understand apart from grace?

There’s a lot to ponder. The triune God is cultivating a culture of grace at SV. We gather so that we can scatter out into spheres of influence by pursuing life-giving friendships with all kinds of people that are here, near, and far.

I want you to receive this benediction,

But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and to eternity.

We’ll see you online this Lord’s Day.

Pastor Curtis