My Blessing For City Centre Church Family in 2022

I love benedictions!  Not because I’m a Baptist pastor but because I know the power of a word of blessing for people who want them.  And people seem to want them more than ever, at least in my experience. It’s a weekly habit at City Centre to pronounce the “benediction” not just so that people know the service is finished but to send them out with a word of hope and encouragement.  Sometimes it’s a simple prayer. Other times it’s a direct quotation from Scripture.  Sometimes they are seasonal, like “Merry Christmas”.  It all depends.
Last Sunday I quoted a short blessing from the 3rd book of John.  It’s one of my favourites.  It simply says: 
Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” 
While it’s short and simple, it’s by no means lightweight! 
Notice how John addresses these early Christians.  They are “beloved”.  They are dearly loved by God and by one another.  Remembering that you are the object of the eternal love of God should give you encouragement and hope. “Twice in the first two verses of this little letter John uses the word beloved.  In this group of letters John uses agapētos no fewer than ten times. This is a very notable fact. These letters are letters of warning and rebuke; and yet their accent is the accent of love. It was the advice of a great scholar and preacher: “Never scold your congregation.” Even if he has to rebuke, John never speaks with irritation. The whole atmosphere of his writing is that of love.” (Wm Barclay)   
Take careful note of John’s means of conveying his blessing.  He says, “I pray”.  Prayer is always a reference to the one great source of blessing.  It’s God Himself.  He is the Blesser, and we are the blessed.  Everything we pray and hope for others is dependent of His great mercy, which He is eager to bestow. 
Then John lists the three things that he is praying for his beloved friends.


1.  “I pray that all may go well with you.”  It’s a comprehensive blessing that shows us that God is interested both in the physical and the spiritual health of Gaius (recipient of this letter) and thus his people. John was conscious that mankind has bodies as well as souls and that they both matter to God.  I love this simple line in Scripture because it reminds us that God desires us to prosper physically and spiritually.  He wants us to live in peace and to enjoy every good gift that He sends down from above.

This word of blessing strikes me as a good-hearted man simply wanting the best for the people he loves.  

2.And that you may be in good health.”  It’s always acceptable to pray for people to be in good health and when they are not, this verse leads me to believe that I am authorized to pray for healing for the sick.  Which I do, often on a daily basis.  I keep a list of people who are unwell in both body and mind, and I pray for healing and wholeness for them.  When I’ve been sick, the prayers of God’s people have meant as much as the care of a physician. 
3.  “As it goes well with your soul.”  The NIV translates it to read “even as your soul is getting along well.”  I love that. You have a body and a soul.  And God cares about both.  But the cool thing is that the Bible teaches that these bodies are wearing out, but the soul is ever young.  It can prosper or it can die.  Life doesn’t always “go well” and our bodies are not always going to “be in good health” but our soul can ALWAYS thrive in grace.  God made it that way.  The soul leads the way for your prospering.  Keep it with all diligence.  
So, church family, this is both my benediction to 2021 and my blessing for you in 2022. 
Beloved church family, I am always remembering you in prayer.  I ask the Lord to bless and keep you in all your ways in the coming year.  I ask Him to preserve you in good health and to heal you when you get sick.  But above all, I’m asking Him to bless, protect and prosper your soul in 2022 so that you will be faithful to the truth and will continue to walk in it until the day He returns in great glory or calls you home in your eternal rest.” 



Pastor Deric

How To Have A GREAT Christmas In A Pandemic

There are over one hundred names and titles given to Jesus Christ in the Bible. Here is a short sampling: 

The Almighty, the Amen, the Alpha & Omega, the Author & Finisher or our faith, the Bread of Life, the Captain of our salvation, the Chief Cornerstone, the Deliverer, the Desire of all nations,  the Door, the First and Last, the Good Shepherd, the Great Shepherd, the Chief Shepherd, the Great High Priest, the Great I AM, the King of Kings, the Lamb of God, the Light of the world, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Lord of all, the Mediator, the Messiah, the Morning-Star, the Prince of life, the Prince of peace, the Ransom, the Redeemer, the Resurrection and life, the Rock, the Son of God, the Son of David, the Son of Man, the Word that became flesh, the Word of God, and the Word of life. 

He is clearly unique. There is no one like Him, period. In fact, when Gabriel was preparing Mary with the news about her Son, he summarized her Child as “great.” The word can be transliterated as MEGA. He’s a big deal. The greatest of all. 

Luke 1:30-32 And the angel said to her, “Mary . . . you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

I’ve often wondered if Gabriel’s description of Jesus as “great” is why Mary testified that “He that is mighty has done great things for me.” All Christians can say the same thing. 

Let me point out some of the ways that the Bible makes it abundantly clear that He, Jesus Christ, is the greatest of all heroes. 

  • He brings great joy to the world (Luke 2:10)

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”

  • He is the great light of the world (Matthew 4:16; John 8:12)

When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee. Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake . . . Galilee of the Gentiles— the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

  • He is the great GOD Almighty (Titus 2:13-14)

Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”

  • He is the great Saviour of the world (Matthew 1:21; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 2:3)

“You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Great . . . is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.”

How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard.”

  • He is the great Shepherd of His sheep (Hebrews 13:20)

“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

  • He is the great Deliverer (Luke 9:42-43)

But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. 43 And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.

  • He is the great High Priest of His people (Hebrews 4:14)

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

  • He is the great Judge of the world (Matthew 24:30; Revelation 20:11; Matthew 5:12)

“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.   31And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”

“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.”

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

My Christmas prayer for you is that “the eyes of your heart” will be open wide to receive the greatness of our Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ. There is no trial or difficulty that can rob us of His greatness and sufficiency in our lives.

Have a GREAT Christmas everyone!
Pastor Deric

P.S.  To experience the good news of great joy that is meant for all the world, you have to grasp two truths: (1)  How much He loves you and (2) How freely He shares everything you need to live a godly life.

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4).

“He has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them we may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (2 Peter 1:4).