Greetings, brothers and sisters. I hope you understand how much I and all the elders love this church. We are just so grateful for you. You are enriching our lives, and you help to make every weekly gathering such a spiritually encouraging experience. It seems like every Sunday we hear about something new that is happening at Northside, new ministries led by dedicated disciples, new opportunities to serve others, new ways to grow in faith, and new chances to connect even deeper with one another.

My wife, Sharon, and I first came to Northside almost 42 years ago. Some of you have been here longer than we have, and you know just how precious this church is. In those 42 years, we’ve had our peaks and valleys, experienced struggles and victories, shared together in successes and disappointments. And reflecting on all those memories, I can say with confidence and honesty that I have never been more excited about the future of the Northside Church of Christ than I am right now. I look at the gifts God has provided, the men and women he has sent to us, the new understandings that we’re learning, and I am filled with such joy and anticipation.

Several weeks ago, I had a conversation with a young disciple who was asking me about our church, and he inquired, “What is it about Northside that excites you right now?” Looking back, I realize that I gave him the wrong answer. In my response, I reflected on the skill and commitment of our ministry staff, the character of our congregation, the changing attitudes of our church. And at the end of the encounter, I thought I had been a pretty good ambassador for Northside. In truth, my answer may have been accurate, but it was profoundly flawed and incomplete, for I had neglected to mention the most important reality upon which the bright future of our church fundamentally rests: the unwavering faithfulness of a loving God.

In our history, Northside, like all churches, has gone through periods of difficulty. I confess that sometimes our problems seemed so great that I wondered how they were ever going to be resolved. But, you know, they were resolved, every one of them. When I look back, I realize that it was not because of any special insight that came from us. You see, when we were weak, God was strong. When we were ignorant, God provided wisdom. On every occasion, God would take our deficits and supplant them with his power, and his church just kept moving forward.

In the experience of Easter, we are reminded again of God’s absolute faithfulness. For when Jesus was resurrected, his followers learned something that would change them forever. They learned that even in the most challenging and uncertain times, God will always prove faithful. For even when the Messiah has been killed, soon he will be coming back to life. At the Northside Church of Christ, whether times are good or bad, whether circumstances are hard or easy, we can know the future is incredibly bright because of the enduring faithfulness of a God who loves. Let’s continue to trust in Him on this amazing journey we share.

From the shepherds,
Bruce Utley