Mark, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ: Greetings.
Psalm 92: 1-2,
“It is good to give thanks to the LORD
And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning
And Your faithfulness by night.”
In the form of a thanksgiving letter, I would like to share with the entire Sola 5 community what our gracious and merciful God is doing in and amongst the people of Robertson Reformed Community Church (RRCC).
Firstly, we as the Lillie family, after having travelled up and down to Robertson for seven months, finally sold our home in Sun Valley and moved to Robertson on 30 November 2010. At last, I was able to take up my full time position as pastor/shepherd.
However, the entire process was far more arduous than we had anticipated; only by God’s grace and mercy did we manage to finally arrive. After our arrival, we still had to house sit (moved five times) before finally moving into our new home on 3 February 2011.
Was this difficult for us (my wife and four children)? Yes, indeed, but by God’s grace we endured.
Was this difficult for RRCC? Yes, indeed, but God gave them wisdom, patience and strength to endure with us as well.
Were we all learning from this? Yes, indeed: to love, to be patient, and to trust our Lord Jesus Christ through prayer. “Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes wait for the LORD” (Psalm 27:14).
We as a church are learning every day to trust, know and believe that our God will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
We praise God for his wisdom. At times we may question—like Job—but we thank our God that he is our all wise, all knowing, all present and all powerful God, who is sovereignly and providentially watching and helping us all the time—even when we are asleep in our beds.
We are truly grateful and thankful that our almighty God remains faithful to us, even when we are at times unfaithful; when we might act in unbelief. “What a mighty God we serve” (Romans 11:33-36).
Secondly, we as a church are very grateful and thankful. We give all the praises and thanks to God our Father through our Lord Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit for what he is doing in RRCC.
I am a living witness of a Scripture verse that I daily experience at work in the life of my own family; a verse that I am understanding more and more which I now also see at work in RRCC. Ephesians 3:20 speaks of God as “him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think.” Throughout my life, and now the ministry, I have seen and now see God do far beyond anything I could ever have thought of! I believe that through our prayers, our mediator, the man Christ Jesus, truly hears us (1 Timothy 2:5).
Are we a great praying church? No! We are weak and pathetic at times, but we give thanks that our God hears us.
We give thanks for new visitors; some have not returned, some are inconsistent and some have chosen to stay. Do we follow up on our visitors? Yes! We give all the praise and thanks to God for our visitors, but we leave the staying for his will for RRCC.
We give thanks for people and children that have returned—who were once part of RRCC. We have not sought or contacted these people, we have only held them up in prayer—so we give thanks to God for his willingness to allow these people to return and be built up, made strong and courageous in God’s Word, in the gospel of Christ.
We give thanks that we are growing in both maturity and numbers.
In maturity: We give thanks to God that as the congregation hears sound doctrine. They are maturing in godliness, to do good deeds which lead to fruitfulness—all for the glory of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Are we growing in fruitfulness? Yes, in a very small manner.
In numbers: We give thanks to God. Big numbers? No. We thank the LORD that we are growing and therefore we sought and applied to move to new premises. We thank God that he is willing for us to move to new premises—and, yes, everyone is in favour of this. We give thanks to God for his goodness and kindness.
Are we a perfect church? No, but we are willing to preach and teach the gospel so that Christ can build his church upon his word. God’s word—the gospel of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, not my power, not my innovation—builds the church. God’s word alone will build and enable RRCC to become fruitful in the Robertson community—amongst believers and non-believers.
Thirdly, as the pastor/shepherd, I give thanks to God for his grace, lovingkindness and mercy toward me, toward the deacons and toward RRCC—for the congregation’s love and support.
Has the road travelled been easy? No! I have had some challenging people, situations and emails, as it goes with ministry, to deal with along the way. I thank God for these; they keep me on my toes and knees. I try not to grumble when I am in a bad circumstance, but instead cultivate a heart of thankfulness. May I learn to be thankful for whatever God gives me. This will take all the sourness out of my life. Giving thanks can be a powerful thing. If I can cultivate a thankful heart, I will solve many of my problems in love.
Can we ever give too much thanks? Can we ever be too thankful? No! First Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
Lastly, please, as Sola 5 members and affiliates, may you all continue to pray for us (we thank you all for your prayers); for the people in RRCC; for the deacons; for me and for the God of the harvest to continue to bring in a fresh harvest from the community of Robertson.
“Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his lovingkindness is everlasting” (Psalm 106:1).
Thanks for reading this.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with us all.
Robertson Reformed Community Church