Many of you saw the series of five Vision videos that were produced last fall as we launched the public phase of our Forward capital campaign. The script of the first video was edited and included below. The content not only applies to a proposed building project but the words have meaning for every member of St. Matthew’s as we move forward into a new year under the grace of God.

It was a defining moment for the members of St. Matthew’s. After many months of planning and praying, they gathered to dedicate a new sanctuary and to praise God for allowing them to build a church where they would sing God’s praises for generations to come. On May 25, 1952 Pastor Norbert Paustian welcomed members and friends to this historic occasion with these words: “Our hearts are thrilled with great joy today as we behold a glorious task completed. Our own House of Worship and all its parts are being dedicated this day to the glory of God. May God bless all of us, members and friends of St. Matthew’s, and give us the Christian courage and conviction to carry on and go forward in His name and for his glory.”

More than six decades later those words still ring true. We ask the Lord of the Church to fill our hearts with the same Christian courage and conviction, using the inspired words of Paul as our foundation and inspiration: “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14).

This is again a defining moment for the members of St. Matthew’s. Years of planning and praying brought us to this point in the history of our congregation, and right now God is presenting us with a unique opportunity to grow in our faith and to reach out to our community. Our prayer is that every one of you will pray for this effort and be a part of this effort as we move forward together. Moving forward together requires a commitment from each one of us now and in the future. Before we talk about our commitment, it is good for you and me to remember our Savior God’s commitment to us, which is clearly stated in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Committed to saving us, God the Father sent his one and only Son, Jesus, to win for you and me the forgiveness of all our sins. It is only because of Jesus that you and I can be sure of our place in the paradise of heaven.

In response to the love of God our Father and the free gift of forgiveness Jesus won for you and me, God the Holy Spirit fills us with a desire to carry out his Great Commission. One way we do this is by committing to give back to our God the best of our time, talents and treasures. We are at an exciting time in the history of our congregation! We are given a unique opportunity to play a major role in moving the ministry of our congregation forward in the new year and for generations to come. May God bless us in 2018 and beyond!

Pastors Steven Pagels and Daniel Schmidt