During my recent surgery and recovery, I have been reminded of several lessons that are important while we strive to live the Christian life. I want to share some of these with you today.

Several things happened while I was sick and recovering. One of those things was that this time gave me the opportunity to be the recipient of the love and encouragement of the church. I was overwhelmed by the love and support I received from this church. It was amazingly encouraging to get so many cards, calls, and text messages from you. To know that so many people were praying and thinking about me made me eager to get back to worship and fellowship with you. Just as importantly was the constant inquiry and encouragement I received in person. I am so grateful for you and your love for my family. My love for this church has grown substantially in the past months.

This led me to a very important lesson. Not that I didn’t know it before but it was reinforced for me in a very serious way. Since this encouragement and support was so important to me (and it was), it would have to be great for others. This church, these people, need your love and support. Those brothers and sisters need to know and feel just how much you care for them.

I am not perfect and just like you I get caught up in my work and life. I often forget to check on others when they need it most. Let me encourage you to share the very love and support you gave to me with everyone else. They need it desperately.

The scriptures teach us that love is supreme and that as a family we must be there for each other. You can do it! I know you can and I am confident you will hear me and continue to share your love and support with each other. Christianity, first and foremost, must be a religion of the heart. A faith that genuinely cares for others.

I also learned just how important it was for the services and work of the church to be a group effort. The elders and deacons, along with a small group of faithful workers, try to the best of our ability to do the work but we need your help. I am often shocked by how much is falling through the cracks and going undone. You are needed in this church! Needed desperately!

While I was sick and recovering numerous people stepped up to teach, to preach, to do bulletins, mow, and many other things. I am extremely grateful to each of you but let me plead with all of you to continue and to consider taking on something on a more permanent basis.

I can only do so much and we have lots of things that need to be done. I consider my primary responsibility as your elder and preacher to be ensuring that I shepherd and teach; to be primarily a ministry of the word and leading the Lord’s sheep. That doesn’t leave me with much spare time and often leaves a lot of work undone. Work that I cannot simply make time to do.

Over the coming weeks, I plan to get with Dale & Rick to make a list of responsibilities and works and will be asking you to take on one of those.

The success or failure of this church is the responsibility of us all, not just the preacher. Will you join me in making sure that Central Haywood Church of Christ rises to the occasion and makes a difference in the lives of our people, our children, and this community? Jesus needs you, we need you and this world needs you.