I hope you're well. I mean it - so many people in our church community have fallen ill or had freak accidents in the past few weeks, and those are just the ones I know about! It seems more than coincidence. I think we've realised that we are constantly in a battle. No one (usually) wants to go to war, but it is difficult to remain a neutral non-engaged civilian when bombs are falling in your backyard.
I will elaborate on my thoughts a bit more below, but if you're short on time, please at least note these quick points:
- This week, Sunday at 6pm, is the last Worship Celebration before we take a 2 month break over Summer. I've decided to do this one a little differently, which I'm excited about. Please come along and be a part of this evening!
- Join us at 5pm for some pizza, prayer and catch-up. I've really appreciated the opportunity to hear from you and pray together at these brief sessions. If possible, please let me know whether you can make it (helps me order the right amount of pizza :-), but come along either way.
I often like to listen to some helpful audio books or podcasts while I'm doing stuff around the house or some more routine or functional work. I came across an interesting talk by Tim Keller that you can listen to here. It seems to speak at least in part to the place we find ourselves as a church community. Listen to the first 10 minutes at least if you can.
Did you manage to take part in the church-wide fasting and prayer day about a week ago? I was so encouraged by the number of people that participated and the real sense of ownership everyone assumed within the church. The local church community is more than the staff team, more than the leaders - it's all of us... and we're all part of the greater church too! We are a branch of the Kingdom.
Having said that, our particular branch seems to be under attack from the enemy. This could be because there are so many good things going on that he feels threatened and so seeks to take us out, or it could be that we have sin in our lives that has weakened our position and made us easy targets. It's most likely both of these things. I've encouraged us, as those involved in leading our community in worship to examine ourselves and allow God to cleanse us and strengthen us, so that we can set a lead for people we are responsible for. We should also examine ourselves first before pointing the finger at others. Let's continue to do this in humility, knowing that God desires the best for us and will transform us and make us who He designed us to be.
This transformation so often happens within the context of worship, even though we don't worship to make God do anything or so that He will, but rather, as we worship Him because of who He is and as a response to what He has done for us in making a way to restore us to Himself, a natural by-product is that we are healed, transformed, restored, delivered.
As I mentioned above, this Worship Celebration on Sunday evening will be the last one for a couple of months. Even as we started out on the journey to explore this worship space, I'd thought that I don't want us to get into a routine where we lose the passion and energy for what we do in these times. The Summer seems a natural break to re-assess and plan the next step in our collective corporate worship. I welcome your thoughts and opinions, so please let me know! I have to take a lead in these things because that's what has been given to me to do, but I can't make anything happen by myself and I value the contribution you have to make - so let me know!!
I've mentioned that I want to do something a little differently for the Celebration on Sunday evening - this is going to involve setting up the auditorium slightly differently, so I'm looking for a few volunteers to help make this happen - I know your main area of service is in playing or singing or doing sound or video etc, but that doesn't mean that setting up the venue is less valuable a role, please let me know if you can help. It probably involves arriving at around 4pm, so that it's set up by our gathering at 5pm.
Thanks for reading and being a part of all this!