“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.”  Romans 1:8 (NIV)

After worship on January 10, 2016 our leadership had a retreat.  We ate together and shared stories about very special people past and present who helped form our faith.  At the end of our sharing, I asked the leadership what characteristics would describe those precious people.  Many qualities were pooled and words like faithful, humble, loving, compassionate and caring were brought forth.

I shared about my wonderful youth leader and Christian tobacco farmer named Jeff Chipman.  Jeff was a very simple man.  He laughed all the time.  His love for the Lord was so evident.  I have many memories of Jeff.  For example, our youth group went swimming at his pool, which was miraculously made out of a steel silo.  I worked for Jeff in every stage of the tobacco process.  He paid well and was always kind.  He often invited me to have dinner with his family.  Those dinners were very special and I truly saw a fine example of a Christian family.

I praised God for Jeff as I shared his faith story with our church leadership.  At the end of the retreat I challenged our leadership to go and be “Jeff Chipman’s,” to one another, the congregation and the world.

The Apostle Paul gave a very nice compliment to the church he founded in Rome.  He stated, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.”  Wow!  A report about faith going all over the world.  Think for a moment how a TV show is interrupted for a “Special Report.”  It grabs your attention.  It causes your head to pop up and take notice.  Think for a moment how Mt. Healthy and surrounding communities can experience “Special Reports,” coming out of Mt. Healthy UMC?  Wouldn’t that be great?  I truly believe 2016 will be an amazing year in the history of Mt. Healthy United Methodist Church!   How?  All of us committing to take time to be like Jeff Chipman or someone you can name in your mind who touched your life!  The community will get a very special report about God’s amazing love through us!  Is there anything greater than Christians loving all on behalf of Jesus Christ?  I ask you to join our leadership as we live out our faith everywhere!  God bless you and have a great February 2016!

Jonathan