Onaway United Methodist
Friday, March 23, 2018
A church with Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors

Pastor's Letter

Many of you have heard by now that Todd and I will be moving to Gladwin where I will be the pastor at Gladwin First United Methodist Church. As of the writing of this letter, I do not know who the pastor here will be. I know some of you are concerned about the future. Change isn't easy. Some of you are upset because you have come to love me and Todd - we love you, too. Change isn't easy. But, here is the thing - when the Lord called to each one of us and said, "Come follow me" he didn't call us to be stationary. He called us to follow where He leads - He called us a to a life of change.
Change? Yes, change. We were changed from death to life when we accepted Christ as our Savior. We are being changed as we move along the Christian journey and experience the Lord's sanctifying grace and power. And, we will be changed when we cross the finish line and hear the words, "Well done thy good and faithful servant." Change isn't easy, but it is what we are about - becoming what God has meant for us to be all along. 
Jesus said, "I am the Good Shepherd". Here is the thing - he isn't good just part of the time. He isn't good just when things are comfortable, easy, and the sun is shining. The Good Shepherd is good when the path is rough, the way uncertain, the winds howl, and the body grows weary. He leads us through the dark valleys to the green pastures and still waters. He is good all of the time - in all things and in all ways. How do I know that? Because He has a track record of proven faithfulness in the Bible and in my life; and, in the midst of all the change we go through - God doesn't change. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
So, back to change....do you trust the Good Shepherd that He is leading us to the good for our good? That all things work for our good - for those that love him and are called according to his purpose? That there is a plan and purpose for you life and for his church? Do you trust God enough to say, "Lead and I will follow?" I do. I have no question that the Lord is calling Todd and me to Gladwin; and, if he is calling us to Gladwin then he has called someone to be the pastor here. Someone that will help the churches to see him a little more clearly and will help them go into deeper water. I have to trust God in this - otherwise I couldn't do it. God knows what you and I need. He has said in Matthew 6:33, "But seek ye first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." He is the Good Shepherd. He is Jehovah Shalom.
In this season of change I am asking for prayer - would you please join me in praying for:
1. Our Churches - Onaway & Millersburg
2. Gladwin First
3. The new pastor
4. Our communities
5. Todd, Caesar, and Me
6. Retiring Gladwin First Pastor David Amstutz and his family
7. Bishop Bard and our District Superintendents Anita Hahn & David Kim, as well as the others
Pastor's Challenge - Let us memorize - Matthew 6:33, "But seek ye first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well"
May your JOY be outrageous,

Pastor Carmen Cook