We had some great things raised in Question Time on Sunday, but time prevented us getting to a really helpful question about the deeper, bigger-picture things our Leadership Team are currently praying for us as a church. It was a great question to come out of Psalm 90, which encourages us both as individuals and as a church family to boldly lay our deep desires before the sovereign Lord of the universe.
Of course, there are lots of ways we’d love to see God at work amongst us as a church. However, a particular focus that the Leadership Team have had for this year has been to see a growing confidence in the goodness and power of the gospel, that overflows in an increasing enthusiasm for mission in our local community.
This focus has shaped the preaching program, for example. We chose to begin the year with the first half of Mark’s Gospel so that we might see afresh who Jesus’ own passion for the mission that he came for: “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mk 1:15). Similarly, Romans was chosen to ground us in the clarity, richness, and urgency of the gospel message. Paul wrote Romans because he was eager to preach the gospel because he was convinced that it is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe (Rom 1:15-16). And even the decision to carry on from Genesis last year into Exodus this year reflected this same desire, as we see that God has always been a saving God who has compassion on his people and comes to save in faithfulness to his promises (Ex 2:24-25). God uses Mark, Paul and Moses to all communicate the same core message. That we desperately need God to take the initiative and intervene in our situation, to bring us from death to life, gather us into his family, and bless us with new life as his children. And all three show us that this is for all people, not just those on ‘the inside’. Jesus went beyond the borders of Israel and sent his disciples on mission, Paul longed to get to Rome and beyond, and God told Moses that the rescue of Exodus was so that all people might see his glory and goodness. Will you join with the leadership team in praying for this deep desire to see us growing in gospel conviction and enthusiasm for local mission?
This deep and prayerful desire has also informed a bunch of the things that we’ve got coming up. For example, in October we’re planning to run a gospel basics course that’ll be great to invite friends along to if they’re keen to find out more about Jesus. But it’s fair to say that most of us find it hard to even introduce Jesus into a conversation, let alone have that conversation get to the point of someone wanting to know more about him. So, this Sunday we’ve got Craig Broman from Engage Work Faith visiting to explain how EWF helps Christians introduce colleagues and neighbours to Jesus. Craig is a great preacher and I’m really looking forward to him unpacking Acts 17:16-34 with us. However, we’ve asked Craig and EWF to take it even further and help us out with two really practical seminars in August. On August 13 we’ll get some great tips on how to appreciate the way our friends see the world, empathising with their perspective and considering where the gospel speaks into it. On August 27 we’ll get some pointers on how to help our friends ‘get curious’ about Jesus, taking our relationships and conversations deeper than just work or the footy or the weather. Here are a few logistics around these two seminars on August 13 and 27:
- Church will be the same as normal on both Sundays, but without coffee in the gym afterwards.
- After church we’ll head over to the Community Centre Hall (where the Mixers group goes for Trinity Kids) for tea or coffee and lunch. Please do stay for lunch even if you’re not able to stay for the seminar. We’ll charge a small fee to cover the cost of lunch and have kid-friendly options available.
- The seminars will run from 12:30 to 1:30pm in the Community Centre Hall. For practical reasons we’re not going to attempt to make the seminars kid friendly or provide child minding, but for those families who might choose to split forces and have one parent stay for the seminar and the other look after the kids, parents can supervise their children back in the school gym and playground.
Please be praying with the Leadership Team that these next few weeks would be really helpful in growing our confidence and enthusiasm for introducing our friends to Jesus. And in keeping with Psalm 90, let’s be really bold in bringing our deep desires for our church to God. Let’s boldly ask that he’d give us a deep longing for our neighbours to find their satisfaction and happiness and significance in him, just as we long for this in our own lives.