“Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given” (John 1:16 NIV). Dear brothers in Christ, serving the precious souls entrusted to your care, The Prologue to John’s Gospel (1:1-18) makes our hearts soar every time we read it. Why wouldn’t we read it out loud often?! It tells us who God is and what he has done to save and bless us. It tells the blessed story of our lives: grace in place of grace, one blessing after another, with God’s eternal storehouse never running out. God does all this for us in his eternal Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior! As you and I begin this New Year, I encourage us to keep counting the many evidences of divine “grace upon grace” in our lives:
- 1st Article grace—body and life, family and friends, talents and interests, to name just a few.
- 2nd Article grace—full forgiveness for all sin, adoption as his child, the right to serve him without fear (including the grace of ministry), and the hope of eternal life.
- 3rd Article grace—the gift of his Spirit; faith, hope, love, and all his other fruits.
We enter 2022 thanking and praising God for all his goodness to us! Praise the LORD!
This sin-filled world needs faithful shepherds under Christ. Believers need to be fed, guided, and protected by their Good Shepherd through the shepherds he provides. Believers need to be equipped and built up with the Word so they can worship and proclaim the name of the LORD.
It is not easy to serve as a spiritual shepherd in our 21st-century world. The devil attacks us constantly. The world entices us, resists us, ridicules us, and otherwise persecutes us. Our own sinful flesh constantly weighs us down, making it difficult for us to serve with joy.
But by God’s grace, we keep on keeping on. Remembering that our Savior has overcome the world, we take heart. By God’s grace, we will continue in his grace in 2022—growing in his grace, serving under his grace, sharing his grace with others even as others share it with us.
As the new director of Grow in Grace (our seminary’s continuing education arm), I want you to know we love all of you. We remember and pray for you often. We will continue doing our best to offer and to provide the beloved pastors of our beloved church body with opportunities for spiritual and professional growth.
Here at the seminary, our Grow in Grace team includes Barbara Rickaby, Kim Workentine, Frosty Bivens, John Brenner, Rob Wendland, Nathan Ericson, and Jeff Mitchell. All around WELS “our wider Grow in Grace team” includes mentors, instructors, presenters, book-reviewers, article-writers, and partners too many to mention here. We all have this in common: We love the pastors we serve, and we want to serve the pastors we love.
May it be so, by His grace, In Jesus,
Prof. Bradley Wordell