Year-end letter:

The Opportunity Before Us

 

Hello Cedar Grove Family!

In 1962 Dick Rowe, the producer of Decca Records passed on an opportunity to sign a band named The Beatles because, to quote Rowe, “Guitar groups are on the way out.” Whoops. In 1979 an investor named Ross Perot turned down a chance to buy a small company called…Microsoft. In 1999 CEO George Bell rejected an opportunity to purchase a young company called Google for $750,000. Have you ever passed on an opportunity that you later regretted?

An opportunity is fundamentally related to time and circumstance. It is the time between a current reality and a desired outcome. Opportunities come and opportunities go; They’re here today and gone tomorrow. According to Colossians 4:5, God urges us to “make the MOST of every opportunity.” I think of that often. When God presents me with an opportunity do I overlook it or recognize it? Do I shrink back or do I *make the most* of it?

I believe we are amid a unique opportunity as a church. Have you considered how many believers would be THRILLED to be a part of a church like Cedar Grove, where people are encountering God, growing together, and making a difference? Seats are filling, people are coming to Christ, Bible studies and life groups are forming, wonderful staff (like Andrew Poe & Sarah Alessi) are being added, marriages and families are strengthening, and many are finding comfort and hope even in the midst of profound loss and pain. God is up to something among us…and it's imperative that we don’t miss the opportunity that we find ourselves in.

We only get so many years in life. As we are on the cusp of closing out yet another year I want to THANK YOU for “making the most of every opportunity” by inviting your friends and family, volunteering your time to serve, praying for your church and community, and giving faithfully, sacrificially, and cheerfully. Your financial support provides us with the resources to lead, shepherd, and equip the body, support missionaries, replenish our Care Fund, and create and tend to a beautiful campus for us to gather, worship, and grow.

Many of you know that we recently renovated our Elementary Kids' spaces! In the near future, we will present you with a “Give $20” opportunity. These resources will be used to furnish the spaces with new, kid-friendly furniture. We want everyone who visits to know how important kids are to God and to us. With great environments and wonderful leaders, we believe our kids will grow up with cherished memories of their time in the CG Kids Ministry! Kids and students are worth every investment that we make into them.

We’ve also replaced all 4 of our auditorium HVAC systems. The units are both more efficient and quieter. Believe me, we will appreciate them in the winter and summer months. Additionally, there has been a desire for many years to connect our lobby with a beautiful courtyard space for people to enjoy. Well, that long-held desire is AT LAST becoming a reality! We still need to raise funds to furnish the courtyard…but we are SO CLOSE!

The reality is that it's not cheap to care for our property but necessary and worth it!
Did you know a well provides water to irrigate our lawns, trees, and plants? It’s a blessing, however, the pump that has faithfully chugged along for years decided to quit this summer.
Did you know our front lawn is used throughout the week for people to walk their dogs, play with their kids, and meet with friends? This gives us opportunities to be hospitable and sometimes engage in conversation. Additionally, officers from the Livermore Police Department use our parking lot daily to write reports. We joke that we have the safest church property around! We love that our campus is a blessing to the community, but sometimes accidents happen like when someone drove over the curb and crashed into our brick wall. Consequently, we had to replace a large section of our fence at our own cost.
Did you know we were able to replace almost every roof on our property this year? No more leaks! While we budgeted for the main roofing projects, the extra work and high costs of materials increased what we expected to spend.

Frankly, these repairs are expensive, HOWEVER, as a result of some exceedingly generous giving by a few people aware of these situations we’ve been able to cover most of the unexpected expenses! I can’t tell you how THANKFUL we are for people like you, whom God uses to provide just what we need when we need it!

As I wrap up this end-of-year letter, I want to remind you that we typically receive 20% of our general fund income in December alone. Will you prayerfully consider how you will partner with us so we can finish this year strong and move into 2024 with confidence?

A few closing thoughts: 

(1) Our giving is not merely a tax-deductible donation — although it is that. It’s an expression of faith, gratitude, and worship. Worship always means sacrifice.

(2) Eventually we’ll need to give the Preschool classrooms a facelift, complete the kids' outdoor play area, renovate the High School/Middle School spaces, resurface the parking lot, and redo the uneven and damaged portions of concrete. But we are also committed to being wise stewards. The only reason why the property matters is because people matter. Making fully devoted followers of Jesus is our mission and all that we do is related to that singular objective.

(3) Lastly, as previously mentioned, God is at work among us. While the enemy prowls and seeks to disrupt and discourage our God’s plans are perfectly unfolding in the world. What joy that He’s allowed us to participate in His eternal and life-transforming work!

THANK YOU for your unbending, unceasing, unrelenting partnership in sharing the hope of Jesus. I hope that you love both our God and your church. I sure do.

- Joel