The Pastor's Peace - February, 2009
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Welcome to the year of the Ox, as represented by the Chinese zodiac. The Ox is seen as a sign of prosperity through fortitude and hard work. Many are still waiting for our nation's prosperity to kick in; however, the official Chinese year of the Ox starts January 26th, so perhaps February will be a bit better. This description has been the butt of many jokes, since the outlook for 2009 seems to be one of disparity, not prosperity. Despite this, however, it is more of an appropriate description than we might think.

We are quick to long for prosperity in 2009, but there is another part of the Chinese description; this prosperity must come through fortitude and hard work. If ever there was a time in our world for fortitude and hard work, now would be the time. When things are easy and convenient, you don't need to work hard for prosperity; it is already here. When your life is difficult, when times are uncertain, that is when you need to dig in, trust in what you know, and work hard to accomplish your goals. As Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." This advice is sound in times such as these, and is important to keep in mind for the church as well.
From the time of the Prophets, to Jesus and the Disciples, to Paul, and even to today, church work is hard. If you are looking for something easy that won't challenge you, then don't send your resume to God Incorporated, because they are all out of those positions. The Prophets all dealt with a people who were difficult and didn't believe, Jesus was crucified, and even when Paul wasn't in jail, it seems he always had to deal with some issue in the church. Yet despite the difficulties, the tragedy, the hardship, unimaginable prosperity came to this world. It came through a fortitude and faith in God, and the hard work of carrying the cross as Christ did for us.

As was discussed in the annual meeting, there are some challenges Beaver UCC faces in the years to come. This, however, does not change my view that Beaver is a fantastic church, with a bright future, and with much to offer its members and the community at large. Will accomplishing our goals take some work? Yes, it will. Will there be some difficulties along the way? Yes, there will be. If we come together as a church and faithfully work to build our church, will we be successful? Yes, we will. Nothing of value ever comes easily. Every benefit one generation has, came from the work of those that came before it. It's the year of the Ox; let's get to work and share the prosperity of Christ amongst ourselves and with a world in greater need than ever.

Peace and Blessings,
Pastor Brian