For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. — Philemon 1:7

                The Apostle Paul once wrote to Philemon, his brother in Christ. The letter pertained to an issue with one of Philemon’s servants, but Paul took the opportunity to tell of the encouragement he received from Philemon’s faith. Notice that he took joy and comfort because Philemon had been refreshing the hearts of the saints. Philemon was encouraging the church.

                I have to say, I can relate to Paul in this instance, except my gratitude is not directed to just one of you. Many of you have done so much that lifts my heart and brings me joy during this pandemic. You, Eastern Hills, have been refreshing the hearts of the saints, our church members, and I want to recognize what you have been doing. Each time I, or one of the other pastors, talk to one of our members on the phone and ask if they are doing alright, the response is almost always, “Yeah, a lot of people from the church are checking on me!” Many of you have learned new technology so you can stay in touch with Sunday school classes and other small groups. I’ve heard stories of younger people delivering groceries to some of the older church members or checking in on widows and making sure they are holding up alright. People of all ages have been sending letters and putting together “happies” for one another. Most of the concerns I’ve gotten from church members are not, “Can you help me?” but, “How can I best help someone else?” You, church, have been taking care of and refreshing the church!

                There’s more. You have been taking care of those outside the church as well. Many of you have been busy making masks for medical personnel. You are volunteering at local charities. You are quick to help families in the community that have experienced tragedy on top of tragedy. You are encouraging others on social media. You are sharing sermons and posts so that others might hear the good news of Christ. Oh, and, not to mention, you have been generous with your finances in a way this church has not seen in years!

                I want to say thank you. You are encouraging this pastor and the other pastors of Eastern Hills, but, more than that, you are making a good showing in the name of Christ for the glory of God. May He be magnified through all our hardships (Psalm 34:2–4). May He increase through all our trials (John 3:30). May His great gospel continue to spread throughout all the earth (Psalm 96:3). 

Pastor Josh