God’s Gift to You

The text of the 8-minute message shared on “Our Christmas Gift to You” (a CD included in the Family Goodie Bag handed out at Hometown Christmas in downtown Johnston City, November 24, 2018).

VIDEO VERSION                AUDIO

Hello! I’m Pastor Keith Fletcher from JCity Church, the Free Will Baptist Church here in Johnston City, and I want to wish you and your family a merry Christmas and a blessed new year. We hope you enjoy the gift our church has prepared for you. I believe I speak for our entire congregation when I say that we really want to share Christ’s love for you in this season.

We believe that love is the motivation for all we do. God loves each one of us no matter who we are, what we’ve done, or where we go to church, or even if we don’t go anywhere. Christmas is all about how God sent His Son to be born as a human who would live among us, endure life’s trials and temptations just as we do. Unlike us, Jesus lived a perfect life, always in tune with what His Father wanted, while serving rich and poor, teaching, healing, feeding, loving, and leading. In spite of His goodness, Jesus was arrested, tortured, and executed in the most humiliating and painful way. His death on the cross was no accident or indication of Him being weak and less powerful than the religious leaders who hated him. His death fulfilled God’s plan to restore mankind to a right relationship with God. You see, sin (our wrongdoing) keeps us from connecting with a holy and perfect God. No matter how many good things we do, we cannot make up for the way we have offended our Creator. We can accept Christ’s death on the cross as the one and only thing that can give us a good relationship with God again. He took our place on the cross. We deserve to die for our sins and to be forever separated from God. He always said that would be the penalty for disobeying His commands, yet in His mercy, He allows us to come before Him with confidence that He has forgiven us because of the sacrifice Jesus made. Also, the fact that Jesus rose again from the dead on the third day assures us that death is not the end for us either. Once we surrender our lives to Christ, He sends His Spirit to guide us and from that point on, we need not worry about being separated from God or being punished for our sins.

We believe this life-changing relationship with God is the most important thing we can have. In a way, it’s God’s Christmas gift to us. And it’s one we’d like to share with you. If you will confess your sins to God and accept His forgiveness through Jesus, you can enter into this relationship. As His spirit leads you and transforms the old you into the person God intends you to be, everything changes. Your attitude, your relationships with others, your family, and even your community.

That’s the hope we have for Johnston City. We believe the life-changing power of Christ can transform each of us as individuals and all of us as a community. The problems we have now with crime, poverty, child abuse, substance abuse and the like are merely symptoms of unchanged lives. People living in disobedience to God, in rebellion against, or at least ignorance of their Higher Power.

We have a vision of a new city. A place where people actually get along and work together. Where children play in safety and are free from hunger. Where homes are full of grace and truth instead of chaos and conflict. We believe that God has placed our church in this community for a reason. We want to make a difference. That’s why we’ve served almost 20,000 meals in the past 6 years at JC Kids’ Lunch Bunch. That’s why we have a handicap accessible bus to pick up kids and adults who might not be able to get to church any other way. That’s why I serve as treasurer of the Johnston City Ministerial Alliance and go to almost every city council meeting to pray before the city’s leaders meet. That’s why I serve our local police as a chaplain and seek to minister to the officers and those they serve.

I was born and raised in Johnston City. When God led me into the ministry I never thought it would be here. My family has lived in a lot of other places, some of them were very desirable place to live, but God called us back here to my home town. He led me back to the place where everything started for me. To the church I was saved and baptized in and the one where I delivered my first sermon.

The church I grew up in is no longer exists. Most of those folks have died or moved away. Now our church is small in number but large in love. We work hard because we want to make a difference. We want to be part of God’s solution for this city.

What about you? Would you like to see a new town here in Johnston City? Would you like to be a part of a loving community of believers who feel called to serve others in Jesus’ name?

If you would like to know more about having a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ, please call me at the church 983-5254 or contact me through our website www.jcity.church.

If you are following Christ but don’t feel like you’re effectively serving Him in the church you now attend, we encourage you to let the Lord lead you some where you can make a difference in the lives of others. If that place is in here in Johnston City, you can certainly find places to serve in our church. Actually, those places maybe outside the four walls of our building as we take Christ’s love out into the community. We need your help to do all that God has laid on our hearts. Please pray for our ministry and consider being a part of our upcoming ReLaunch in the spring.

Until then, we will be praying for you during this hectic holiday season. Come worship the King with us and celebrate His goodness and grace.  Let me share this blessing with you and your family. This is a quotation from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Rome—and this is my prayer of blessing for you:

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.