I woke one day last week to an article on the Today programme on Radio 4 about the Edinburgh fringe festival. They were discussing the one line joke of the year. For once this was not won by Tim Vine but by Ken Cheng. The joke is, “I’m not a fan of the new pound coin, but then again, I hate all change”
As we move into the Autumn it is clear that it is going to be a season of great change for us with Mark moving on, Ben’s curacy inevitably coming to an end and also Sarah’s move to Durham. I guess that there is something in all of us that finds change unsettling. In general I really like change and see it as positive, however over the last few weeks I found myself being unsettled by the changes we are facing. Personally we have even more change as Naomi leaves home at the start of September to start the New Wine Discipleship Year in York.
I’ve been really grateful for the time that we’ve spent at New Wine United and Inspire. It has been helpful to have some time with God away from Kairos. He’s been reminding me just how reliant we are on Him, His Presence, His Spirit to live out our calling to be disciples. To be followers of Jesus, to be those who spend time with Him, who become more like Him and who do what He does.
Towards the end of his letter to the church at Philippi, Paul writes “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)
As I’ve reflected on these verses I think there are some important principles for us over the coming weeks. Let’s rejoice in our relationship with Jesus; for the works he has done in our lives and the works he is about to do. Let’s decide not to be anxious but to pray in every situation. Finally, at the start of this season we can decide that in every situation we face we will give thanks to Jesus who is Lord over all.
During the coming weeks there will be gathered opportunities to give thanks, rejoice and pray. Key amongst these are our launch (3 to 6 September) and central gathering on 3 September, the community of practice on 29 and 30 September and the feast on 15 October. The UP on 24 September will be an opportunity to worship and pray together Please prioritise these times as we journey together.
Below are the latest three talks from our central gathering series on encounters with Jesus.
We’ve celebrated and rested over Christmas, we’ve launched into the year with 3 days of prayer and now here we are, in 2017. As we’ve prepared, partied and prayed over the last few weeks I’ve become increasingly convinced that God has things he wants to teach us about identity.
Who is God? Who are we becoming? These are questions I think we should be seeking answers for right now. Not because we are completely uncertain about our identity or our calling, but because God wants to deepen our certainty, renew our purpose, inspire us for more.
Who is God? What is the Father really like – the God we can’t see but are shown perfectly in Jesus? How would a greater revelation of God’s love and power affect the way we saw ourselves, affect the pressures and plans we put on our lives? Over the last year I’ve learned this summary of God’s nature from some other people planting communities of discipleship and mission. It’s called the 4Gs.
God is great, so we don’t have to be in control.
God is good, so we don’t have to look elsewhere for satisfaction.
God is glorious, so we don’t have to fear others.
God is gracious, so we don’t have to prove ourselves.
Perhaps there is one of those phrases that the Lord particularly wants to do some work on with you right now. I believe God has much more to show us about this question of identity. Over the next term our preaching at central gatherings will be digging deep into this whole theme.
We find the answer to every question about identity as we look at Jesus. He is the one who reveals God to us, he also shows us what we can become. We are communities of followers committed to his mission. Let’s keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. Let’s get together in gatherings and communities to seek Jesus. Let’s keep sharing Jesus with as many people as will listen!
You can find out a little more about the 4Gs here.