Charlotte and I enjoyed a lovely break in Portugal and as usual it was a time of immense refreshment in God (we never take a holiday from Him!).
As I look over the months of the transition in our own lives (in January I went to 3 days a week in General Practice and as of this August, 2 days a week) I see a season of challenge and perseverance ahead. However I also see a season of potential in God, and of expectation and breakthrough. This tension is often a healthy one, both in our own lives and the life of the church!
As we approach the new term I keep remembering that Jesus is building His church and that in battle it is so important to have our hearts right with one another and with Jesus. Not simply, to ‘watch what we say’ rather ‘how we say it’. Our Christian life is a community affair. That part isn’t optional! I’m also aware that following the lead of God, even in difficult times, is vital.
As Simon quoted the great furry theologian over the summer:
“Sometimes,’ said [Winnie the] Pooh, ‘the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”
We must keep the ‘One Thing’ the ‘One Thing’! This involves seeking, dwelling and gazing upon the greatness and sovereignty of God.
So my question as we approach this next season of church life, is this – is the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord on us?
As we look at the bible this is so clear. In my personal time I have been reading and studying Romans. In everything that the Apostle Paul writes, he is emphatic about not just a head knowledge of God but an experience in the day-to-day life of God the Holy Spirit which goes on increasing as we walk with him over the years. He is our ‘indweller’ – ‘God’s man on the inside’!
I loved hearing Denis and Cerian speak at the first of our Summer Sundays about the empowering presence of God. They have also encountered God in a fresh way recently at a conference in Harrogate with Heidi Baker and Bill Johnson, as they witnessed the exciting miraculous, eye-opening power of God the Holy Spirit.
We are a people in whom God makes his home and shines through. I hope that excites you for what’s ahead!
Let’s remember all that Jeremy Simpkins shared with us in July about encouragement. In everything you do go out of your way to build ‘encouraging communities’ - in your home, around the school gate, at work, in your street, wherever God has placed you. Invite people to our Sunday celebrations, to our all-new Alpha course in October and into your Devoted and Community Groups.
Enjoy your church family in community groups, in ministry, in prayer, in meals, in parties, in youth… in life together. Look out for one another and be there – particularly for those who are finding life tough. Be full of faith in the outworking of a gospel that comes with power.
I am so thankful for this church and the privilege of leading a team of passionate elders as all of us go on an adventure together with Jesus!
Is the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord on you? Then go!
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.
It’s usually this time of year when people reflect on the past year, their successes and challenges, and everything else that comes with them. However, this article is not going to be that.