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,


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December '10
The mystery revealed

January 2011
What is happiness ?

February 2011
Possibility of change

March 2011
Bride or Groom ?

April 2011
Putting out into deep water

May 2011
Resurrection power on display

June 2011
God's challenges to us as a church

July 2011
Gospel certainty and change

September 2011
Our response to the riots

November 2011
Remain faith and pray to our Sovereign God

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