This morning (Fri. morning) as I’m blogging I’m sitting outside on a spectacularly beautiful morning with my heart filled with gratitude and thanksgiving for the excellent ministry that God allowed us to be part of this summer. Sometimes it’s good just to reflect and praise God for how He works and moves in our circumstances and lives. Our summer ministry got a good kick off with our “Taste of the World” event held on Saturday, June 3. This is the fifth year we’ve done the Taste of the World outreach and each year God uses it to touch hearts and lives and bring our church community together in great outreach to our neighborhood. Several hundred people visited and took advantage of the 12 – 14 international food tables that were set up and the hot dogs and hamburgers that were served. The following Sunday I had the privilege of baptizing a young man who had put his trust in Jesus Christ just two months earlier. Later in June, we had our Ocean Grove Pavilion ministry which is always an enjoyable experience. I deeply appreciated those who came out to sing and minister and those who supported the event through their attendance. On July 1st I had a marriage renewal service for the young man who had been baptized 2 weeks earlier as he and his wife renewed their vows on the occasion of their fifth anniversary. This is part of their commitment as they continue to grow in their walk with the Lord Jesus Christ and one another. The following week we received an amazing gift of a week at a cottage on a lake in Northwestern Michigan. With most of my children and my 2 grandsons being there it was a very special time. With no phone or cell phone service, no Internet and no television it was a very quiet week. And yet at that special place God was moving and working in many special ways in my heart.
After we returned from our vacation in Michigan we swung right into our Vacation Bible School mode. It was once again a very meaningful and significant week of ministry as we had a great deal of volunteer support. We ministered to around 75 children a day including some of the moms who were a part of ladies daily Bible study. After V.B. S. my son, Matt and grandson Ethan joined us. Matt was able to join us for a week and he very much enjoyed watching the Tigers beat the Yankees on Wednesday afternoon. Ethan was with us as we went the following week to enjoy our first visit to Wildwood Crest. God gave us a very pleasant time with our grandsons and one day that Matt was able to come down and join us. Also this summer I was asked by a former high school friend, for whom I served as the best man in his wedding 41 years ago, if I would have the committal service for his mom who had passed away. This opened up the door of ministry to Harry and Debbie and they came and down and joined us for dinner in Cape May while we were at Wildwood Crest. One of the special things for me was enjoying the sunrise once again with my grandson Tyler. This has become an annual tradition for Tyler and I (our 4th year) as Tyler really enjoys spending time with his grandpa to get up and watch the sunrise. I enjoyed the sunrise on three mornings while we were down in Wildwood, but I especially enjoyed the time that Tyler and I got to spend together on Thursday morning. One of the best blessings of the whole summer was the wedding that took place this past Saturday at New Durham Chapel. Diane K has been with us for 10 years and last year she reconnected with her college sweetheart. God has been working in this situation and Fritz and Diane were united in marriage last Saturday afternoon at NDC. Diane has been a precious friend to my grandsons and it is the reason that they have stayed out here so long, so they could be in attendance last Saturday at her wedding. It was a wonderful time and both of my grandsons very much enjoyed the reception and all the food they were served.
The Scripture reminds us of the goodness of our God and the fact that we are called to rejoice in His kindness and care. The psalmist states, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it,” (Ps.24:1 NIV). God has abundantly blessed in our lives in so many ways and we should never take it for granted. Paul reminds us, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again; rejoice!” (Phil.4:4 NIV). As I reflect over this summer’s activities in ministry- from the sunset over the Ocean Grove Tabernacle, to the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean I am so grateful and thankful to our God who is a personal God. God in heaven has done everything He could to make Himself known to us by revealing Himself through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. I count it a great privilege to represent Jesus Christ before my family and in the world that He’s called me to serve. Let us rejoice together in the greatness of our God who has ministered in so many special ways, but above all He’s given us His Son, Jesus Christ who makes the way of salvation possible for each and every one of us when we call out in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ. Shalom, Pastor Rich Sivo