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Good evening, Church Family!

Jamie and I returned after a wonderful time away this past week. We were blessed with the chance to disconnect from the busyness of the day-to-day work here at Mt. Carmel. As much as we both love serving the Body of Christ, it was a welcomed rest. Thank you for making it possible for us to be away.

Last Sunday, Jay Roy blessed our hearts greatly with a message challenging us to see Jesus—and to see ourselves—in John 4, the passage where Jesus speaks to the Samaritan woman at the well. If you missed the message, you can still listen to it here.

I realize that everyone of us have been impacted in some way over these past many months—some more and some less. Some of our seniors are being forced to be very vigilant with their choices for the sake of their health. Some of our families are being forced to navigate through working full-time while home schooling. Our law enforcement, healthcare workers, and school teachers have all been confronted with very different circumstances than ever before.Yet though it all, one constant remains the same—our great God. God’s love has not wavered. God’s sovereignty is complete control. God’s mercies are new every morning. God’s grace continues to flow. God’s presence never fails. God’s Word still stands. And God’s promise of eternal life is secure. Oh, what a mighty God we serve! 

Our Life Groups started a series in Romans last week. Two things stood out to me from the first lesson. As Aaron Weakley was leading our group, he led us to Verse 11 where Paul states that he desires to be with the Christians in Rome in order to use his spiritual gifts in order to be a blessing to them. Could you imagine hearing the gifted evangelist Apostle Paul preaching the Gospel? Wow! But then Aaron took us to Verse 12 where Paul told the Roman Christians he also looked forward to being the recipient of their spiritual gifts as they “mutually encouraged” one another. Could you imagine having the gifted evangelist Apostle Paul asking you to encourage him with your spiritual gift?

Then Aaron asked us, “How different would church be if we all had this same mindset? What if everyone came—not viewing church as a place to be fed and served—but as a place where we looked forward to using our spiritual gifts in order to encourage one another?” Everyone remarked that the gathering of believers would be different if I came joyfully seeking to exercise our spiritual gifts—instead of simply gathering to sing and listen to a sermon. It was a wonderful small group time.

I was sharing this with Pastor Micah today when he said, “Imagine if we all arrived at church with already-full hearts! If we greeted one another with joy! If we sang out of an overflow of praise! It would change everything!” And it would change everything! May the Spirit of God speak to each of our hearts—and may we respond with an obedience of faith (as Romans 1:5 says). I’m already looking forward to Sunday—and it’s days away! But I am eager to preach the Gospel to you, Mt. Carmel, and to be mutually encouraged by you! 

I also wanted to remind you that this Sunday we will be hosting our adult Life Groups, teen Sunday school, kids’ Sunday school and nursery at 10 a.m. There are currently two adult Life Groups available on Sunday mornings—led by Gordon DeMeritt and Jim Grandstaff. There is also an adult Life Group on Sunday evening led by Andy Caviness at the home of Brian and Christal Burrill. (All are welcome, but we do ask if you would sign up here.)

Our teens (Grades 6-12) will be meeting in the Grove House with Pastor Micah. Our kids (ages 2 through 5th grade) will start in the cafeteria. The 2-5 year olds will meet with teachers Bill and Maria Copeland, while the K-5th grade will be with teachers Kyle and Jamie Seal.

Pastor Micah meets on Sunday nights at 6 p.m. with our high school teens (9-12th grade) and on Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m. with our middle school teens (6-8th grade). They meet in the gym and end at the Grove House. I’ve seen comments on social media about looking for opportunities for teenagers to be social. What better opportunity than around the Word of God with godly examples who will partner with you in pointing the hearts of your teens to the only answer for life: Jesus!

We also have 3 midweek adult groups on Wednesday evenings at 7. Frank Good leads a Life Group in Room 15 at Mt. Carmel. Carolyn Palmer leads a Life Group for ladies in Room 16 at Mt. Carmel. And Aaron Weakley leads a Life Group that will meet at my house at 7 p.m. (All are welcome, but we do ask if you would sign up here.) 

Finally, I am attaching the minutes from our September 2 business meeting. Alison Seal, our church clerk, took excellent notes. And since it was the first business meeting since February, there was much to cover. At the end of the meeting, the motion was made to make the notes available to the church congregation in writing. This way, we do will not have to have the notes re-read at our next meeting. On Sunday, I will have printed copies of these notes available for anyone.

Thank you for reading this note. This is not the ideal way to communicate with you all, but communication with you is very important during this time.   

Please join me in praying for the Spirit of God to move in a great way—beginning in you and in me. I am praying for Luray to be shaken by the move of God through the churches of Page County. May our hearts be yielded and ready to respond however God chooses to work—but may we be expectant to see Him work mightily!

Have a wonderfully blessed evening! I love you and love serving you!

For His glory alone,

Pastor Brian