LINK (magazine) letter

To know Christ and to make Him known.

Dear Friends,
This is my last letter as your Local Church Leader. Future letters will be written by others, and they are likely to be shorter!    It has been such a privilege to see God at work among His people here in Bookham, and exciting for me to have been on the scene whilst change has taken place. I am particularly excited that the Revd Gill Hawkins from the Baptist Church will, from July 1st, be assisting us part-time in God’s work in this church. We extend a very warm welcome to Gill and pray for God’s blessing on her and her family as she works with us for a year.
 I heard a talk this week given by Dr Derek Tidball, about ministers and leaders being like shepherds, and there would seem to be three major tasks that you, and elders and future leaders should  carry out. Firstly, care for the sheep in the ERC flock. That care involves the physical, emotional and spiritual condition of the flock. Each person needs feeding from God’s word and to drink of the Living Water in order to grow and mature in their daily walk. They need the security of boundaries that are protected, so that they feel safe. Secondly then, it is important that the flock is protected from wolves that seek to destroy. In practical terms that means that all our teaching should be faithful to scripture so that no false teaching creeps in. It also means that we should build each other up and strengthen each other to guard against attack on our faith and beliefs.  The Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, has been a clear example of what can happen, as he has found his daily walk with the living Christ running counter to the political culture in which he worked as a political leader. May we encourage each other in standing against all that would erode our long held beliefs. Thirdly our task is to go in search of the lost sheep. There are many people, all of whom have been created by God to be in fellowship with him and to enjoy living as part of his family, who live apart from that family. God would have us seek them out to bring them back into the sheepfold
Many churches appear to be trying to manage decline and have no clear idea of their purpose. Society would see the purpose of the church as being around when needed. This often takes the form of holding a service in times of tragedy. The importance of this was seen In Kensington recently as those affected by the awful tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire gathered to support each other in grief as they looked for comfort and hope. The local Methodist church which did not normally have a large congregation, found itself full of those grieving and seeking help and answers. This was such a vital task for the church as people sought comfort, and hope. At other times the church is seen as being on the side of the disadvantaged as they provide food banks and seek to help the homeless. The Gospel is at the forefront of caring for all of God’s creation and in healing our broken world, so it is important we give a lead in restoring society through God’s salvation plan and seeing Christ bring healing to our nation.
The church seems less relevant to the wealthy and those whose lives seem sorted as they do not feel in need of help. But the church is a pointer to the future for all people as they find purpose and direction in Christ. People need to know that a restored relationship with God is a matter of His mercy, not our merit and to discover in our world of spin and political correctness, that Jesus is the Truth.
So, as I step down, my prayer for you is based on prayers of Paul for the church in Colosse [Colossians chapters 1 and 2]. I will continue praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will. I pray that you may live a life worthy of the Lord, pleasing him in every way. I pray that you will bear fruit, grow in the knowledge of God and be strengthened with his power, always giving thanks for the hope that he has placed in you as you share in the inheritance of the saints. Give thanks also for God’s mercy and forgiveness. I pray that you will continue to live in Christ, rooted and built up in Him, that you will be strengthened in your faith so that no one takes you captive through the deceptive philosophies, traditions and principles of this world.
I thank you for your love and encouragement.  You have been such a blessing to me. I pray that you too will know God’s blessing.
With my love,
David

 


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January 2010
Letter from the leader

February 2010
Coping with sorrow Dear Friends, This time of year some find unwelcome with its rain and cold, its overcast skies and long nights, and they look forward in anticipation to warmer days, brighter skies and the promise of Spring. Recent days have also been overcast by the news of the death of Heather, Mike and Jean’s daughter, and others have had the sad news of their loss of loved ones. In addition to that we have been saddened by the news from Haiti of their utter devastation by an earthquake. At such times as these many people question belief in a God who allows such things, and even ask whether he exists at all. How does our faith stand up in such circumstances ? What do we believe ? Christians are not immune from the troubles, dangers and sadness that this world brings, and we at times find our faith tested under such circumstances. We are not immune from aches, pains and decay, nor from the natural processes of the physical world expressed through floods, hurricanes, volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis. We do not pretend to answer the question “Why?”. But we do know that Jesus knew suffering and death as a human being and that he thus identifies with us in our sorrow. We do know that we live in a fallen world. The politicians are talking about it as a broken society, and it is, because until Jesus returns this world is a battle ground between the forces of evil and good; and we also find that struggle in our daily lives. But we do know that Jesus is the Lord of creation and all powerful and that he lives in us through his Holy Spirit who identifies with our struggles and sorrows and assists us in our internal daily battle. We do know that one day Jesus will return and that there will be a new creation in which only good and the glory of God will exist. As believers we do know that we will be part of that (the King will say…’come you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world”. Matthew 25 v. 34). But for the moment as we struggle with the sorrows of the present, that glory is the promised Spring – only a trillion times better! We live in the light of that promise which is the blazing light at the end of our tunnel. We have confidence that because all God’s other promises have been fulfilled, the promise of Heaven and sharing in Christ’s total victory over death and evil is also true. Jesus said to his disciples (followers) those now familiar words - “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you”.(John 14 v. 2). At the present, as we live with the Spirit in our lives, God graciously gives us little tastes of heaven which are expressed in Jesus. For now, we must work to diminish the results of our fallen society- reduce the huge disparities between rich and poor, between the hungry and those with plenty, in a world which has immense wealth and resources. We need to care for those who are marginalised or lonely, comfort those who mourn ..…. the list is long. We too need to share the Gospel of love, forgiveness and hope that is to be found in Jesus, so that others may know “the true light that gives light to everyman. (John 1 v.9). So let us pray for those known to us who need the reassurance of the comfort and hope that is to be found in Jesus. May God bless you. Letter from David

March 2010
Letter from David

April 2010
The message of Easter

May 2010
Link letter

June '10
Christ in the middle of our radar screen

July '10
A challenge in difficult times.

Sept '10
Guided by the Spirit

October '10
Growing into maturity in Christ

November 2010
The challenge of change

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