How are you feeling as we enter 2021 as a church family? Full of hope or rather anxious? However you feel, we know that the Lord is with us and He has gone ahead of us, showing us the way forward into the new year – a year which promises to be full of new learning and new growth.
Lent Programme – Faithful God, Faithful Church
The new school term coincides with the season of Lent, a time when we ask the Lord to reveal to us what is in our hearts and how He wants us to grow more like Him. This Lent, Jamie and I have sensed that the Lord wants us to grow in two fruits of the Spirit in particular – the Fruits of Love and Faithfulness – and growing in these areas will require us to step out in faith.
Have you ever had a Family Meeting?
A time when you gathered as a family to discuss plans, make decisions or try to find solutions to problems? This Lent is going to be a bit like doing St Nic’s Family Business as we ask the Lord to show us what’s really in our hearts – the good, the bad and the ugly – ask Him to pull out some weeds and co-operate with Him in growing more of the fruit of love and faithfulness in our lives. We will be starting our Lenten teaching a little early this year as the ‘Faithful God, Faithful Church’ programme lasts 8 weeks, rather than 6.
At times it will be challenging. We may have to confront our own sin or disappointments – but thanks be to God, thorugh Jesus sacrifice on the cross He has provided free forgiveness and has promised to cleanse us from all sin. At other times we will be challenged to step out in faith in ways we have not done before. And at other times we will just need to keep on doing what we have been doing – what Eugene Peterson called ‘a long obedience in the same direction’. That can be a challenge in itself. Yet the Lord doesn’t ask us to do anything He isn’t already doing for us daily , over and over again – and Jesus is our model. Learning to love and be faithful like Him is going to be a wonderful adventure!
Church membership can be a little bit like a gym membership. We join full of good intentions but we often do not make the most of the opportunities afforded. In order to grow together as a community, we need everyone to be involved wholeheartedly. We recognise that in our framework for the community. We aspire to Bless abundantly, Belong wholeheartedly, Believe increasingly, Behave with integrity and Become Good News. We don’t want to be merely hearers of the Word, but doers of the Word too – and not just a few of us – but all of us!
We would like to encourage everyone who considers St Nic’s to be their spiritual home to do the following:
- Attend a Sunday service every week of the ‘Faithful God, Faithful Church’ teaching series, starting on Feb 7th and culminating in Easter Week. The family service will be following the same theme each week as the 8 am service.
- If you are unable to attend a service each week, listen to the sermon that you have missed on line.
- Do the Faithful God, Faitihful Church Study Notes each week either with a St Nic’s small group, a spouse or a friend. These notes and exercises will be much more productive if done in conversation and prayer with others.
- Take time to do the personal reflections and responses each week in order to effect genuine change and/or perseverance in your life.
Does that seem like a tall order? Well the good news is, if you commit to each of these you will have your Lenten Disciplines all worked out for you! And what’s more you will have a family of supporters walking the same path with you, praying and encouraging you along the way. And, if you ‘drop the ball’ one week, just pick yourself up and get back on track, with no judgement or condemnation. We’re in this together – all hopefully trying our best, but none of us yet perfect.
For Parents and Children
An information and activity pack will be available by February 7th so our younger members can put some of our learning into practice too. These will be available on the table in the church building. Please ask Amelia if you would like it emailed to you.
I want to end with the famous words of the Three Musketeers – “All for One and One for All”! Let’s aspire to love and faithfulness that brings that kind of unity among us at St Nic’s!
Verity and Jamie