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Honiton Evangelical Congregational Church January

Dear Friends,

Another Year – ambitions and hopes

A piece of advice which is often given to church leaders is not to be over-hopeful about what can be achieved in a year and not to underestimate what might be achieved over a five years. I think it is good advice because the first year in a pastorate, indeed often rather longer, is really about getting to know people and hopefully them getting to know and trust you.  Church life is mainly about relationships rather than structures so this is entirely healthy and right as an approach.

I am encouraged that a small group of people have taken up the two year Bible-Reading Plan – we are to live by (Matthew 4: 4), every word that comes from the mouth of God’ and our ability to live and serve as we should is in proportion to us doing so. There is nothing magic about any particular Bible-Reading Scheme, and if you have another one that works for you stick with it,  but becoming Bible-controlled (actually God-controlled) in our thinking, speaking and living is vitally important to all of us individually and to us as a church.

I am also encouraged that we have been able to make steps forward in our evangelistic outreach. It was a particular joy to see some 40 parents and toddlers at our special afternoon for them on Sunday 10th December.  If our minds and hearts are formed through our immersion in God’s word then we will share his priorities – the priorities which marked out the life of the Lord Jesus and clearly those priorities include reaching out with the gospel to lost men and women. The reason I chose 1 Timothy 1: 15 ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners as our verse for 2018 is because this crystallises for us the mission Jesus had on earth.

With what attitude did Jesus go about that mission? With Jesus we rejoice (Luke 10: 21) that the Father has revealed his truth to ‘little children’ and that no-one (Matthew 11:  27), knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.  However,  if we are to be faithful to all Christ shows us of his attitudes we also weep with him as he contemplates unresponsive Jerusalem  (Luke 19: 41 – 44) and when he weeps over unrepentant sinners who will come under God’s judgment.  We all fall short of what we would be and what we should be but the challenge of being like him is always before us.

Happy New Year


Yours in the Lord,