Christ Church Free Church of England

From the Pastor’s heart  ....                                                                           Summer 2018.

 As we enjoy the summer season we rejoice in this being the prime time for the church to take the gospel out into the high-ways and by-ways as the people come out into the parks, go to the seaside and generally just get out and about.

We start with the now traditional (well its the fourth  such event) Xpedition XGates. This year from 2nd to 16th August & every Tuesday & Thursday in between churches in Manston/Cross Gates seek to take the gospel out and we have the joy of being the first church to host. See our notices below (copies available) for more details of this worthwhile event along the lines of the messy church format.

 Our next event towards the end of summer is our Harvest Dinner and thanksgiving celebration on 22nd (dinner) & 23rd September (Thanksgiving service.) Again details on the flyers below.

 Our AGM this year is scheduled for the 9th September concluding with a fellowship lunch.

 Finally it is our denominational AGM (Convocation) from 3:30pm on Friday 28th to Saturday lunchtime 29th September & we are being very kindly hosted by our Liverpool (Tuebrook) - Christ church fellowship.

 This brings me to share some thoughts prompted by Dr Michael Youseff of “Leading the way” ministries, teaching on the great friendship we read existed between David & Jonathan. (1 Samuel 20:12-17 & 23 vs 17-18.)

Michael made the point that this friendship was sealed by a covenant made before the Lord based on God’s revealed will to David. (cf 1 Samuel 16) – i.e. that come what may David would one day be the King of Israel.

Michael Youseff generalized and applied this to our dealings with one another today. He asked, “What are the bases of our friendships?” Are they sealed by a strong, enduring agreement to walk together based on God’s word & what it asks of us? Or are we just thrown together by our activities?

The problem being that if we are together just out of common interest or our joint programs, whilst they succeed, all is well. If the church members create and sustain a buzz of excitement and activity that attracts outsiders, they stick together and enjoy one another’s company. But if there is a delay or we think the project has failed or the leadership driving the project cools off or moves off – what comes of our fellowship in the Lord?

This is very different from friendships that stick together through thick and thin because they are bound together by a covenant or solemn agreement as to who they are and what they are seeking to achieve under God. In the covenanted basis of friendship, there is a commitment to one another based on an ideal or goal, whether or not, from one year to the next, that goal seems to be being successfully achieved or not. It is based on God’s faithfulness and timeframe, which is often very different from ours.

 “What’s the problem?”, some may say. Surely its no good just being theoretical & principled if you are not actually achieving anything practical. This sounds very convincing & ideally of course we would like both – good theory & principle based on the revealed word of God, actually being fleshed out among the folk covenanting together to see the theory transformed into reality. But there are two dangers here:

a) We are in danger of adjusting or even trashing altogether the God given program to make ours work “better” or quicker

b) We will not be willing to wait upon God to honour his program in his good time, in his good way.

Ponder the example of Jonathan & David again. What was Jonathan prepared to sacrifice in the short term by covenanting with David in this way? (eg: 1 Sam 20:30-31) How unlikely must it have seemed when they made the covenant that David would one day be King? (cf 1 Sam 20:9) How long did it take to actually happen & what did they have to endure together in the meantime? (cf 1 Sam 16:11 & 2 Sam 5:4) In spite of all the obstacles up ahead & what the situation was at the time, Jonathan still solemnly covenanted with David, based entirely on his absolute confidence – naked confidence you might say -  in what God had revealed to David long before there was any visible sign of it ever really becoming an actual reality.

May that be the basis of our commitment to one another in churches – never just our ability or vision or zeal to get things done or even our desire or ability to continue to be personally involved necessarily. Just a quiet, faithful confidence to make our small contribution together with all those who have laboured before and who will no doubt labour long after us & that ultimately God & he alone will accomplish ALL he has promised to do. Remember Charles Wesley’s epitaph in Westminster Abbey:  “God buries his workmen but carries on his work.”

May you know the Lord’s blessing on you and yours this glorious summer time.

 Grahame.

Ephesians 4:1-3

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

  

 

 

Stephen & Emily & grandparents Grahame & Debbie proudly and thankfully announce the arrival of baby number 3 who came one day later than expected on Wed 18th July, at 21.10 weighing 3.335 kgs (7.3 lbs) – by name: 

Connie, Ruth, Eden, Bretton, Wray.

Mom & Baby doing very well!

 

Thanks be to the Lord.