Well, here we are.
As promised, this is the first of our daily thoughts which will be posted online. We are also looking into ways of making it available to those without internet access, so our desire is that this will become more desirable than loo rolls at Asda!
So, the plan is that we will post a daily thought along with a recorded sermon on Sundays (technology permitting). Each day's thought will take different shapes, so look forward to musings, bible studies, prayer, worship and a range of tools to help us stay spiritually sharp! Here goes...
It struck me last week that we have a massive opportunity in this current situation. Let me explain..If you didn't know, Olive & I mentor around 80 students each week in our capacity as school mentors for CYO. Along with a bunch of volunteers, we work in all the secondary schools in the area (Notley, Tabor, Alec Hunter, Hedingham, Honywood and Ramsey), helping to walk with students through a range of issues they're facing. As Olive perfectly describes it, we are "giving young people a good listening to." No judgement, no orders, no sharing of the gospel. As a Christian charity, there was a degree of concern from some that this new string to our bow was a form of cheap labour for schools rather than an opportunity to share the gospel. How wrong that is! We are being Jesus to the young people in front of us, just by being there. Jesus Christ: the best mentor there has ever been.
Ruth and I preached about it on Sunday but we are facing a situation right now where we have so many opportunities to show Jesus through what we do...We had the privilege of running a drive-thru system at The Coffee House today. It proved to be quite popular and I had the pleasure of being there for a couple of hours. I have shared an example of how effective this has already been in terms of sharing our faith, which has been sent in an expanded version of this post via email. The point is, Jesus was with us this morning and will continue to be in future conversations. This can only lead to amazing things, and I will continue to seek His will in future conversations.
Abbie circulated small notes around her estate earlier this week, offering support to those who may need it over the coming weeks. Within a couple of hours, I gather that Abbie was already receiving calls from complete strangers. Perhaps some of them are just wanting a friendly voice by way of reassurance that they're 'going to get through this'...sound familiar? That reassurance isn't coming from Abbie, it's being radiated through her from Almighty God. There are several groups appearing that are offering grocery deliveries, prescription collections and general help to those in the area. These aren't Christian-established groups to my knowledge, so let's get on board with these as much as we're able and see how He can use us in these ways. And as popularity wains or the impact is potentially lost (as often happens with well-meant initiatives), we can allow God to be the constant thread through it all.
If you're reading this and aren't a car driver, or physically able to help, or aren't digitally connected with the outside world, get spiritually-connected instead. Pray for those who are practically helping, offer support to neighbours where you can, phone or text people to encourage them. We're all on The Pastoral Care Team at Cornerstone. Let's pastor others as we're being pastored! Above all, use the time available to absorb yourself in God. Seek His will, read His word, Connect with Him.
Here endeth the thought for the day. My hope is that it becomes an application for the duration.
The Bible Bit...
Genesis 50:20 says "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good..." God didn't plan this, but He is bigger than it. Look what He is doing through others already. But let's not be bystanders; let's actively seek His will in our lives, to help shine His light into the dark patches that will appear.
Sometimes we struggle to find the words when calling out to the Lord. If that's you at the moment, join me in praying this prayer:
I thank you that, during this time of uncertainty, You are my certainty.
You are my ever-present help in time of need. Please will you show me how to serve You over the coming weeks and months; reveal how I can radiate Your love, show Your love and share Your love to those around me.Father God, will You keep me close to You throughout this time. Fill my head with pictures, dreams, words for others and build in me an unquenchable passion to share You through all I do. And Lord of All, will you put the right words on my lips when opportunities arise to share Your Good News.For Your glory, it's all for You,
The vast majority of us are digitally-connected which is fantastic. Let's use this to our advantage because there are so many Christian resources at our disposal for us to get closer to God.* Anything underlined below is a link, so get clicking!
Simply search for 'Worship Music' to access thousands of awesome songs. In addition, you can find wonderful playlists by searching for Hillsong and Bethel. As for sermons, J John never lets me down for what he offers, and this one is just brilliant! There is even word of a worship party taking place on Friday at 9pm...and we're all invited!! Click here to see an example and find out more about what's on offer.
This wonderful resource gives access to the full Bible in more versions than you could find time to read, along with devotionals and study tools. Check it out.
One of many out there, this daily devotional from UCB can appear in your inbox if you sign up for free. They also have superb radio stations (UCB Radio1 and UCB Radio2) that offer a wide range of music and discussions. We enjoy saying "Ok Google, play UCB Radio2" each morning. Don't do that if you don't have Google Home though...you'll look silly. This should be enough to be going with, but we'll continue to share more ideas over the coming weeks.*We are busy finding ways for us all to be equally-connected to these resources. In the meantime, if you know someone who struggles to access any of the above, please help us in taking the initiative to stay in touch with and encourage these folk.
The End...until tomorrow!
This has been a treat to create (even if I did lose the lot when my internet dropped earlier on, meaning I had to start again!). My hope and prayer is that it encourages, excites and fulfils us all. See you tomorrow...Matt