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From the Pastor's Heart

January 2024

     The Christmas holiday will soon be passed in a matter of hours.  It seems to get here quicker each year and leaves quickly as well.  All of the work, decorating, shopping and festivities are gone for another year.  The great thing is that JESUS remains.  It also means that we have about a week until we turn the page on the calendar and start a new year.  I always enjoy the week between Christmas and New Year’s as a time to recover, recharge and renew my commitment to Christ.

     As we begin 2024, there are certain milestones that come to mind.  Our family will be celebrating 17 years of ministry here at Exmore Baptist Church.  Andrew and Bethany were 5 and 3 when we moved here.  Where has the time gone?  I also realize that we’re approaching 4 years this March since the COVID pandemic began.  By God’s grace, we navigated those difficult days and managed to reopen in June 2020 with two services each Lord’s Day, a practice that we have continued since.  I certainly cannot take credit for coming up with the idea.  It was born out of necessity, for people to be able to spread out and worship safely.  However, the early service has brought more growth to our church than almost any program or event that we have attempted in the years that I have been here.

     One thing we’ve all had to learn is the need to be flexible and go with God’s plans.  During the pandemic, a saying started that caught on and has been imprinted on T-shirts - “Get Used to Different.”  We were even told this in our Pastors’ Meetings, that “different” is here to stay.  While our natural tendency is to resist and fight change, sometimes it is forced upon us.  God even sends us change to get us our of our comfort zone and where we need to be.  As long as we are not changing the gospel or core convictions of the Word, we must be open and willing to allow change in our lives.  Without change, we become stagnant and cease to grow.  If we allow His Spirit to work in us, we can be “changed into His image from glory to glory.” (2 Cor. 3:18)

                                            ~ Pastor Carpenter

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