by: Gary L. Hutchens
Today is the last day of the year 2017. Since the first day of this year was on a Sunday, and this last day is also on a Sunday, there have actually been 53 Sundays in this year rather than the standard 52 in most years. That’s just a tidbit of trivia. I remember looking ahead, during much of my life, to the year 2000, thinking it was a long way off! Now, we’re finishing up the seventeenth year of the new millennium, as it was called, meaning it’s no longer new. Time truly does fly by…
Since I began preaching full time, this is the forty first end of the year/beginning of a new year article that I’ve posted. It’s the seventeenth since moving to Omaha to work here at Sunny Slope. Much has happened during these past seventeen years. Most of it, I believe, for the better.
For sure, we’re a different congregation. Many have moved away, many others have moved in, many more have been born again through baptism into Christ, and many have gone to be with the Lord. The number of those who gather here to worship God on a given Sunday morning has nearly tripled. There have been many improvements to the facilities here at Sunny Slope, enhancing our ability to reach out to this community with the gospel of Christ.
We’ve become much more focused and aggressive in our work to spread the gospel. We sponsor a weekly television program and produce our own radio program, aired four times daily on both AM and FM. We’ve developed a correspondence course ministry that spans our nation and much of the globe. We’ve also developed a vigorous jail ministry through which hundreds of inmates across the country are taught the gospel each year, and hundreds of those, over the years, have been baptized into Christ.
We distribute approximately 5000 CD’s teaching the gospel each year, and many of those get passed on to others by those who receive them. We really have no idea how far reaching this ministry is. We’ve redesigned our website to be an excellent teaching tool. People all over the world, literally, listen to sermons, radio programs and study printed lessons that are posted on our site. We receive emails from all over the world expressing appreciation for the site. We have also been aggressive in local outreach through focused advertising on television and in the newspaper for many years now.
But this is not our church; it is the Lord’s church. We are here by God’s grace, and all we do should be to His glory. All of the progress noted above was initiated to more effectively serve God and was done to His glory. Through His blessings has come the progress we have made. We have done no more than we should have done, and there is much yet to do.
What will this year bring in our work for the Lord here at Sunny Slope? Let’s each of us reflect on the possibilities and pray for God’s direction, wisdom and blessings…
Gary L. Hutchens