After fifteen years, I now feel like a part of this community. It took a while. We arrived in 2009, after our daughter had already launched her college career. When we moved from Southern California, we brought our two sons, one in High School and one in Middle School. For a handful of years we folded into the school system in support of our kids, which gave us an opportunity to get to know other kids and their parents.

Empty nest years followed, and these have been marked by new challenges and opportunities. We try to stay active with physical fitness and regular walks. My wife has folded into a handful of lineage societies. I’ve gotten involved in Toastmasters, a local group in support of public speaking. We stay active with skiing in the winter and golf in the summer. We attempt to keep in touch with our children and grandchildren, visiting when we can. All the while, we look for opportunities to share our faith in Evergreen, in relational and genuine ways. How do we make friends with our neighbors? How do we build upon interests and hobbies in this community? What does it look like to serve others in Evergreen?

Just this past week I called upon a neighbor to help me re-start my snowblower in extreme conditions. He was gracious and willing to lend a hand. After 30 minutes we got the machine started again so I could be productive in digging out of a bank of snow. Then I had an occasion to share my faith with a team member at Mountain Resource Center. We band together in the distribution of food, and this person was coming from a Buddhist background. She had questions about Christianity and the ways (to her mind) it echoes Buddhism. I had an opportunity to respond with questions that drew attention to the distinctive present within Christianity. My comments highlighted how Christianity is different from Buddhism. Finally, a new friend I made at the gym reached out to me about some personal struggles and hoped we could connect to talk. We’ve made an appointment to follow up on things.

All of these have come as a function of time, presence in the community, and along the existing lines of relationship. Even so, any evangelistic fruit must come from God working in a supernatural and sovereign way. None of us are loving enough (or powerful enough) to break through the spiritual resistance of those still on the way to faith. There must be a sovereign, supernatural work of God in my neighbor’s life to draw him or her to faith. That’s where belief in an all-powerful God gives me hope that evangelism will work. Yes, God uses means, including prayer, acts of compassion, and verbal witness to my faith. The sovereignty of God gives me confidence that my (and our) feeble efforts will in fact bear fruit. God has his people and will accomplish his purposes in this generation.

I want to be a part of that. Do you?

Pastor Jeff

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