Here we stand at the threshold of entering into a New Year. We have been blessed by the grace of God to come to the last Sunday in 2015. This year has been filled with some ups and downs; some good times and some bad times. But through it all, God has been, and continues to be good to all of us. For that very reason, we must be thankful for all that He has done for us in bringing us to this point.

As we look at our world we have seen some rapidly changing cultural shifts. As believers, we are witnessing America becoming more and more a post Christian nation that is moving full steam ahead to remove our religious right to express our faith in Christ. This presents a serious challenge for every believer. It is serious because soon and very soon we are going to be forced to take a stand as to whether we will hold our ground for Christ and His Word. Or one will cower and compromise the truth just to avoid facing any backlash? You must face the challenge for yourself.

We saw in 2015, the Federal Government of the United States of America line up against the church. We saw in 2015 the Supreme Court render decisions that line up against the church. We are seeing State and Local governments lining up against the church. Washington, most state capitals and a major number of local municipalities across the nation are standing in opposition to the church. And when they stand against the church, they are standing against God’s Word. This is not a time to be weak in one’s faith. This is the time to cause your roots to grow deeper as we await the onslaught that is on the horizon. This is the time to immerse yourself in the Word of God and in prayer. This is the time to take seriously the admonition from the writer of the Book of Hebrews, of “Not forsaking ourselves together…” (Hebrews 10:25a); we need each other.

In times like these, it is vitally important for everyone who professes the name of Jesus Christ to look deep within themselves and make a determination as to whether they will get serious or become more serious about their walk with the Lord. The days in which we live necessitate that every person who says they know Christ to step up and earnestly seek to grow closer to the Lord. It is time to stop making excuses for a lack of commitment to God and His Word.

I ask everyone reading this Pastor’s Desk, “Have you sought to do your best for the Lord in 2015? Was the Lord the main priority in your life of 2015? Was His Word a major factor in helping you through the hardships of 2015?

I issue this challenge to everyone, whether you are faithfully committed to God, His Word and His Work or if you are one that is on the fringe, who is casually committed to the Lord. I challenge you to not go into 2016 the same way you ended 2015. I challenge you to give the Lord your best in everything you set out to do. I challenge you to become regular in attending Church School, Bible Study or one of the other teaching ministries here at New Paradise. I challenge you to commit to daily Bible reading and prayer. I challenge you to grow spiritually. I challenge you to “…Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith you were called” (Ephesians 4:1b). Lastly, I challenge you to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” (Matthew 6:33a).

 Your servant in Christ,

Pastor Moore