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Monday, May 1, 2017

A Word of Blessing

I wrote this as a benediction for my church family before going away for 4 months on Sabbatical.

            “Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you.  And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you.  And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints” (1 Thessalonians 3:11-13).
            I wanted my final column before a 4-month Sabbatical to be a word of blessing.  Candy, Igor, Henry, Merone, and I will be away and in all likelihood not see people from HillSong until September 17.  However, I know our God and Father will guide us back.  And when we return we will have the experiences of the summer affixed to us, tattooed on our psyches and souls.
            Furthermore, God will be at work within the church.  People will make new spiritual discoveries and will grow in Christ.  New ministry will be birthed in my absence.  New people will come.  I hope this happens.  I am sure it will happen. 
            I pray the church will support Heather in her leadership.  I know you will.
            I pray the church will encourage Enam and give her space to grow as a pastor.  I have confidence this will happen and that the church will show her great love and great grace.
            I pray the church will welcome Holly onto the staff.  I know you will and I know this will be a great experience for her as she learns the ins and outs of ministry.
            I pray the church will embrace Hong and a new work; a ministry to Chinese people.  What a great opportunity!  I am confident God is in it. 

            The most important things are found in the blessing that Paul sent to the Thessalonians.  I now pass Paul’s words on to you.  Increase in love for each other and for all who come to worship at HillSong.  May love abound; may it be a defining characteristic of our church family.   Turn to Christ, allowing yourselves to be vulnerable and exposed before him, and His Holy Spirit will strengthen your hearts as you grow in holiness.  HillSong, you are numbered among the saints because you are in Christ.  I look forward to seeing you in September and hearing about how God has been at work among you and sharing with you how God has shaped our family’s life.

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