LINK (magazine) letter

To know Christ and to make Him known

Dear Friends,

For many, the experience of church is mixed.  It can be a wonderful experience of a loving, accepting and forgiving community with a quality that the world longs for, yet for some it can be a difficult place where there are cliques and factions, where people are criticised and a power struggle between individuals interrupts the serenity of others. There is often a struggle between what we are “in Christ” and what we are in reality. During our Church Week-end away we were challenged by the timeless letter written to the church in Ephesus. Paul, sitting in prison, wrote to remind them that they have every spiritual blessing “in Him” [i.e. Christ]. The letter was to be circulated around the churches of Western Asia Minor as well as the busy, important city of Ephesus, and contained timeless truths of universal importance.

Simon Austen’s study of the book of Ephesians states ”the end point of history is a church, a group of redeemed people from every nation tribe, language and tongue, who have been reconciled to God and to one another in Christ, singing his praises for all eternity in a new heaven and a new earth.” The challenge is to show, that in the church today, we are that new community of faith and hope, a place of reconciliation and grace, a light in the darkness, a place exhibiting truth, a place of humility and generosity, a place where Jesus IS Lord, and where, in Christ, we find satisfaction and are happy with life whether it be one of breadcrumbs or banquets. Ch 1 v.4 says “for He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight”. In order to do that, He has redeemed us and empowered us by His Spirit “to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.” Wow, that is quite something!

Yet, when we look at ourselves, we are struggling with the opposition that the church faces, particularly from a world which is busy with its own agenda and considers us an irrelevance. We are also struggling with the fact that although God chose us to be holy and in Him we have redemption and forgiveness and have the Holy Spirit’s seal of ownership and have a guaranteed inheritance, we still sin in our daily walk with Him. God hates sin and yet he loves us ! How do we reconcile those two things ?

It is true that in our daily lives we let God down and in response to our genuine repentance he forgives. It is right that we feel ashamed and seek to put things right, but our imperfect daily walk does not change our STATUS before God.  We are still loved unconditionally and considered righteous before Him. We are being transformed by his Spirit but we cannot contribute to our righteousness. In God’s courtroom we have no confidence that our good works will gain us favour. Our confidence is our righteousness through faith in Christ.  As the famous hymn {Rock of Ages} puts it “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to thy cross I cling”. Thus the mark of a Christian is humility but also the joy of knowing that our status in Christ is secure. The prodigal son found that out in dramatic circumstances.

So, as I step down as leader at the end of July, my prayer for Eastwick Road Church is that you will continue to seek God’s strength and will, daily, and that “you may know the hope to which God has called you” [Eph 1 v. 19]. May His power at work in you transform you and the community you serve, as together you give Him all the praise.

With  my love,

David

Some thoughts were stimulated by reading Matt Fuller’s book “Perfect Sinners” [Good Book Company]


1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8  >> 
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

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8  >>