The decorations have come down, the Christmas jumpers have been put away and maybe even a new exercise regime has started. As if you need reminding, we have entered a new year. Prepare to spend two weeks writing 2017 and then frustratingly scribbling it out for 2018!
If you were around to gather together on New Year’s Eve for our final Sunday celebration of 2017, I hope you were encouraged and excited. Soroush taught us from the Bible to be a thankful people, citing the various times that Jesus gave thanks during his earthly ministry. There were also plenty of opportunities to hear God together as a number of people brought prophetic words. These included; calls to trust in a good God who is in control, pursue humility, welcome the ‘unlikelies’, know that God triumphs over our enemies, not be surprised by unexpected places, rejoice in being a chosen people, and much more!
It reminded me that I love being a church family empowered by the Spirit and the word! Christianity is not a choice between the two. Neither is it simply trying to maintain a balance between them as if in some way they are in opposition to each other. Rather, we’re to lovingly cherish and submit ourselves to the Bible and passionately pursue the Holy Spirit and His power in our lives.
2018 is the 20th anniversary year of Jubilee and there is much planned. On the 17th/18th March, Jeremy and Ann Simpkins (who started Jubilee) will be with us for a weekend. On the 12th/13th May, Terry Virgo (founder of Newfrontiers) will be visiting and in August we hope to have Michael Akotia from Ghana with us again. There will also be more Alpha and Life+ courses as well as all the reaching-out activities and ministries that happen.
As I think about 2018, one of my prayers is that we continue to be a people who are filled with the Holy Spirit and who draw ever closer to God through reading, understanding and putting into practice all He has revealed to us in the Bible. Let’s pray that we would see God miraculously move in Teesside through all sorts of signs and wonders and that everyone from our friends and family to someone we meet for the first time, would encounter the love of God for them, in Jesus Christ.
Happy New Year!
I couldn’t possibly write an Elders’ letter this month without at least making reference to that amazing night in Madrid on June 1st and Liverpool FC’s historic sixth Champions League trophy. Non-football fans…please don’t switch off!