As I said in January ReMarks I am so excited by what Jesus has in store for us this year. I think we need to hold on to Him very tightly because when He has His way with us it can be very unsettling! Thank God He is our anchor (Hebrews 6: v 19).
I pray that our preaching series - Hebrews in the morning will equip us in our discipleship as we look at who Jesus is, and who we should become as His followers - and the overview of the Bible in the evening helping us to understand the big picture of God’s Kingdom, and our place in it.
Reflecting on our place in God’s Kingdom, I think we are still a people of God in transition moving from a relatively small pastoral church where everyone knows everyone and everything, to a ‘transforming community church’ where we cannot know everything, nor everyone, because of the growth of the Kingdom. Life Groups therefore must be central to the mission of the church. Not only are they places for discipleship, bible study and pastoral care, but also places for mission and growth in different ways. The Bishop of Oxford says, ‘that the experience of local parishes taking on this model of discipleship, nurture, pastoral care, and reaching out in mission, suggest that there are no limits to people being introduced to Jesus in so many different ways..’
My prayer at the beginning of this year is that Life Groups will bring new life in all its fullness, in order to go out and bring new life to others. I truly believe God is asking of us to do less so that more life in us is available for those who do not know Jesus – and this may well mean giving up certain ministries. However, if you are not in a Life Group and would like to be part of God’s mission, evangelism, nurture, and discipleship then please do come and talk to me.
Having said what I have said, we also go into 2017 prayerfully seeking God’s guidance and wisdom regarding the resurrection of St. Mark’s café – which I think is going to be very exciting, and in the vision of St. Mark’s. And we pray for discernment as we seek God’s will for building a mission shaped community/church centre for a mission shaped church.
I want to give thanks to God for an amazing first month of this year with God reaching out to us, so we can reach out to others. I want to particularly give thanks for our Messy Church service on Sunday 22nd January which was a picture of God’s Kingdom – fun, smiles, friendship, conversation, worship, teaching, and eating together – thank you Messy Church Team. Remember if you too would like to get involved in this ministry they would love to hear from you.
Also I give thanks for our recent time of fun, friendship, fellowship, food, and wonderful dancing on Friday evening at St. Mark’s Ceilidh. It was a powerful testimony to our Season of Invitation. The amount of people who had asked friends and neighbours again was a picture of God’s Kingdom – quite beautiful which it would be with God at the centre! Thank you all who helped in so many different ways, and a very special thank you to Maggie.
We start February with our Alpha Course so please pray for God’s blessing, and we pray for our guests, and all who are serving in the many different ways.
Lastly can I ask you to join in praying for 50 new people to come to know Jesus this year? The prayer group that meets on Tuesday feel that is what is on God’s heart and so we are stepping out in faith to pray this big prayer. In fact we are now down to 46. Praise God.