Weekly Update: November 25, 2015

Dear Family,

I love Thanksgiving. It is a time to pause and reflect on the many blessings God gives us, even in the midst of challenges and difficulties we all face. Thanksgiving ought to make us think beyond ourselves, being mindful that the gospel calls those who genuinely know Christ as Lord and Savior to enter into people's lives with the good news. As you prepare to enjoy this time, please take a moment to pray for those who have lost dear family. For some of the saints this will be the first Thanksgiving without their loved one. Lift them up in prayer, or even better, include a place setting for them at your Thanksgiving table. If there's anything about Cross Creek that is true, it's that you are a loving, thoughtful church. Happy Thanksgiving.

Speaking of thanks, Tim and Marnie Bartholomew penned a sweet good-bye note as they prepare to return to their native Australia. This Sunday in worship, we will be gathering around them for prayer as this will be their final time with us. Here is their letter:

To our family at Cross Creek Church,

It is with a strange mix of sadness and gratitude that we write a short note to you all to say ‘hooroo’. We write because frankly, Tim is a messy weeper and too proud to try and say something in person.

We wanted to express our deep gratitude to our Floridian family for the grace, hospitality, love and patience you have shown to us over the last three years. We first walked through the doors of Cross Creek Church May 2013, wondering what had we done in moving our family to the other side of the world! But we were immediately made to feel very welcome by Dori Stephens, Clint Larson, Rob Hooper, and many others. When we left that first Sunday Marnie remarked that she felt ‘at home’. Even Frank’s practical jokes didn’t diminish her love!

We could list the many, many practical ways in which God has blessed us through you, from faithful gospel centered teaching, to our crazy life group, the women’s Bible study, the special friendships formed, the grace and patience of the music team and the many moments shared which we will cherish, but this letter is too short and words too inadequate to do justice.

We love Cross Creek Church. Our appreciation of the depth of God’s love for us, and His greatness has grown over the last three years. In this community we have been shown that God is glorified in honesty, diversity, grace and care that exists between His people. We have come to appreciate more and more is just how precious God’s grace appears in the love of His people, when unity exists with diversity. We have been the recipients of this love and have been changed by it. For that we are deeply grateful.

Cross Creek, we will miss you dearly. Over time we have learnt that we are shaped and enriched by those we do life with and this is definitely the case with our American family. We want to thank you for the laughs, the honesty, for sharing your lives with us, for the warmth and love you have extended to us, and the prayers you have prayed on our behalf.

To God be the glory,

Love, The Barts