Delivered By
Pastor Lee
Delivered On
August 22, 2021

YOU HAVE BLESSED US Vickie and I thank you for welcoming us as your new Pastor’s family here at Grace UMC. You have blessed us with so much in both large and small ways which shows the loving spirit of this church family. Thank you for all the love, support, and many ways you have blessed us thus far. It is greatly appreciated by both, Vickie and me. It shows your true colors when you accept with open arms someone you don’t even know yet.

It reminds me of when I was serving my first appointment in Aiken County over thirty years ago. One of the two churches I was serving was having their annual revival services. 201 S. Church Street, Union, South Carolina 29379 Office: 427-1266 Rev. Lee Phillips, Pastor Cell Phone: 843-909-4122 The visiting preacher was from across the river, from Georgia. He was related to one of the members of the church, and with exception of his cousin, no one else in the church had ever met him. On the first night of revival, I introduced him to the congregation by sharing his name and the church he was serving in Augusta, Georgia. That was all I knew about him. When he stood up, his first words, after he thanked us for inviting him to come, were that he felt like a pig in a poke. I had never heard that phrase before but learned that it meant something that is sold or bought without the buyer knowing its true nature or value, especially without inspecting or studying the item beforehand. I guess it is somewhat like that for churches every time a new pastor is assigned to serve with them.

Again, Vickie and I are very grateful to be here with you. We look forward to getting to know you and serving with you. An example of your open arms welcome to us is seen in all the hard work that has happened and still happening in providing a place for us to live. All that has gone into this venture, including providing a temporary place to live, demonstrates your generosity and love. Your warm welcome of us also reminds me of the judgement of the nations found in the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew when Jesus speaks about the ways we love him in how we relate to others. It is in verse 35 where he says to those on his right, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me…” I can say that is certainly true of you in welcoming Vickie and me.

Thinking about Jesus’ comment concerning welcome and letting it soak in, it raises the question, how do we welcome others? What is involved in welcoming others? Do we continue to welcome those we know very well and see often? I believe that yes, we do need to welcome and be welcomed no matter how long we’ve been a part of the fellowship of believers. It seems Jesus is saying that we need to welcome those who appear to us in a pig in a poke way with more than just words, but in real and concrete ways. Thank you for welcoming this pig in a poke the way you have. I thank God for you and look forward to becoming a part of the Grace family as we serve God together.  Pastor Lee