Pastor’s Thoughts – February 2014

Dear friends,

In January we launched the new shorter version of our Vision Document. It’s the basis for the current teaching series and I hope by now that you have taken in what it is all about.

Deeper – Closer – Wider

Water Ripples 1

Growing deeper in our relationship with God;
growing closer in our fellowship together;
growing wider in our influence.

Those of you that have stopped and taken time to read our vision document will find it useful in understanding what the church is all about. It clearly defines what we stand for and the values that we seek to embody. What you won’t find is something that’s easy to remember! Whilst I could take you through that document with little prompting, even I haven’t managed to memorise it. Hopefully though we can all remember three words, and from that get the basis of the vision of what the church is here for.

Deeper We know that our relationship with the Lord Jesus is meant to grow. It is not a distant relationship in which we acknowledge His existence and then get on with our lives. It’s not a relationship based on the idea that God needs our worship. Through Jesus death and resurrection He invites us to repent of our sins, receive His Holy Spirit and live a new life. His desire is that we walk with Him, follow Him daily. Song of Songs 7:10 says I belong to my beloved and his desire is for me. Jesus spoke about us as the sheep of the Good shepherd, following Him, being led into pastures that He oversees. This is to be an intimate relationship. So we want to know Jesus more and more. We want our relationship to
grow deeper.

Closer This relationship into which we are called is not just about us as individuals. We are called into a family. This family is made up of everyone that loves the Lord Jesus Christ and acknowledges Him as our saviour; who recognises that he died for us on the cross and rose again from the dead; who has repented of their sins and invited Jesus to reign in their lives; who knows that he is and always has been one with the Father and the Holy Spirit. What unites us is the Holy Spirit who now lives in us. That’s why Paul writing in Chapter 4 of his letter to Ephesus reminds us to keep the unity of the Spirit because there is one Spirit that dwells in us all. Jesus said that the quality of the relationships that exist between us will be a defining characteristic of the Church: ‘A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’ (John 13:34). We want to grow closer to one another so that that quality of love will be seen in the way that we care for one another, speak to one another, honour one another and encourage one another.

Wider If our relationship with Jesus is not just about us as individuals, it’s not just about us as a fellowship either. In Ephesians 2:19-22 Paul says: Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. A temple is a place where people meet with God. That’s our role, to help people meet with God. As we know the church is not a building, so people are to meet with God when they meet with us. We take the Lord to them wherever we meet with people. We take the light of Jesus to touch people’s lives. We are part of God’s work to transform His world. God has not abandoned the world but came to save it. So we are part of that mission and we want to grow in the influence that we have in our neighbourhoods.

Yours in Christ

John