February is generally held to be the least exciting month of the year. Nothing much happens in February. There is, of course, Valentine’s Day but that’s kind of a niche market compared to something like Christmas. There’s also the suspicion that it’s going to be cold and damp and likely to snow at any moment! So what do we have to look forward to in February?
Well maybe the issue is not what we have to look forward to but enjoying what we have already. If we are not careful we can be always living our lives in the future and not focussing on today, always looking forward to the next thing and never enjoying the thing that we are doing. Many people are like that and often the things we line up are just more stuffing. We spoke at Christmas about the way that the things we do and the presents that we get can just be stuffing for our lives. People feel an ache inside and they stuff it with material possessions, drink, drugs, sex, or alcohol. Sometimes they stuff it with work or leisure. However much stuffing they use it doesn’t fill the void.
We often tell people that only Jesus can fill the Jesus-shaped hole inside but if we are honest we can all find ourselves doing this. We can use such stuffing instead of seeking more intimacy with the Lord. Somebody once said that the secret of happiness is not found in getting what you want but in wanting what you have. It can be a pretty useful exercise sometimes to stop and recognise the blessings we already have instead of always seeking more and newer ones. Strangeley it was on the non-Christian speakers at 2010’s Willow Creek conference, (an expert on organisations called Jim Collins) who said that one of the things you should do regularly is count your blessings. “And I mean that literally,” he said, “make a list!” I wonder whether you’ve ever done that. I don’t know who Jim Collins thanks for the blessings he has, perhaps it just serves to remind him of the privileges he has in life, but we need to give thanks to God for every blessing we have.
Some of us were talking about this recently with respect to the new church centre. We’ve come on a long journey with this new building, from the earliest ideas until today when we can see it slowly taking shape. We knew we had to do something to make a change to the accommodation that the church had. None of us knew how long it would take. We’ve still got a distance to go but let’s just stop and give thanks for where we are.
We thank God for those who originally conceived of this project, many of whom have gone before us into God’s glorious presence. We thank God for the different people and designs of churches that have guided us towards the design that we have. When we look back we can see that what we are going to have is so much more than we thought we could get even when we started to look seriously at Twyford Road. So we thank God for those that have made that possible, for our building team and their powers of negotiation as well as the architects that we have used. We thank God for all those that have given to make this project happen; not only those, like Eileen Taylor, who gave a very great deal; but those that have given little and often to help us reach our target. We thank God that the original estimates of how much this building would cost have not accelerated away in the four years since we originally made them.
We are at a stage where we know we have all the funds we ned to complete the building. We know too that we don’t yet have sufficient funds to equip the building as we need to. Having stopped to give thanks for all that God has done, we now look to Him to provide what we need to finish the task He’s given us. Haggai 2:7-9 says: “‘I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the LORD Almighty. ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the LORD Almighty.”
Yours in Christ,