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“For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers…”

Gratitude is often called a spiritual discipline. This practice of thankfulness helps to shape the soul; it does not always come easily… but it does sometimes. For the Wootton family, now is one of those times. Eastern Hills Baptist Church has made it easy for us to practice gratitude. You all have poured out such love and generosity on our family that our first reaction is thankfulness.

I’m reminded of the Apostle Paul’s words as he expressed thankfulness to the Lord for the church at Ephesus. He saw the love the church poured out on other believers and their actions made it easy for him to practice gratitude. He thanked the church and he praised God. I have already seen Eastern Hills pour out love on my family and on others and I am led toward the same kind of gratitude Paul showed for Ephesus.

I did my homework on Eastern Hills before I got here. I wanted to find out what kind of church this really is. If there was something horribly wrong with this church, I wanted to know what it was. I wanted the dirt, but I couldn’t find any. All anyone ever told me about Eastern Hills was that this is a great and loving congregation. This is a truth I have experienced so far and for which I am most grateful.

The excitement of a new pastor will wear off eventually and if the church’s love and generosity is based solely on that excitement it will wear off too. However, I believe there is a deeper reason Eastern Hills has such a good reputation in Montgomery. I believe this church’s love for my family and for others extends not from mere excitement, but from a deep love of Christ. I believe your “love toward all the saints” extends from your “faith in the Lord Jesus”. I believe this kind of love and faith is what will drive us forward together as we pierce the darkness of this world with the light of Christ.

So, I pray, as Paul prayed for Ephesus, in gratitude for this congregation. I also pray, as Paul prayed, that God’s glory would continue to shine through this congregation and grow ever brighter in His wisdom and knowledge. Eastern Hills, I give thanks for you as you give glory to God.

“… that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,” – Ephesians 1:15–17

Pastor Josh