Title: Paul’s Thanksgiving
Passage: 1st Thessalonians 1: 1-10
Preacher: Rev. Stuart Love
For all sermons in this series, click here.
30Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20: 30-31 NIVUK)
25Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. (John 21:25 NIVUK)
Holy Week is a special time for me, and not just because it centres around the vital moments of our faith! With worship occurring almost daily, and with regular opportunities to share the message of Jesus in other settings (e.g. school assemblies), I must, out of necessity, set aside some of the other aspects of full-time ministry and focus on these times.
I am grateful to those who helped and supported in the leading of our Holy Week services, and I give them my thanks. Even so, I find I still need to pour a great deal of time and energy into these times of worship, and it is liberating to do so. I personally find it an enriching experience.
I hope that you had a blessed Holy Week, and through it you were able to reconnect with the central moments of our faith; namely the death and resurrection of Christ. I hope this because this is one of the reasons behind Holy Week: to allow Christians and the Church to get back to our foundation, to reorient ourselves around Jesus’ death and resurrection, and prepare to go back out into the world, proclaiming His love and Kingdom.
Holy Week reminds us that Jesus truly was the Messiah, the Son of God. This was also part of the reason John wrote his Gospel: in the first quotation above, he makes it clear that he has written that his readers might believe Jesus is the one who brings salvation to our world, and that through Him we might receive life. The experience of Holy Week helps us to believe that Jesus is our saviour.
The second quotation helps us to understand what we are to do now that Holy Week is over. While I doubt this was John’s thinking, I tend to think that part of the reason Jesus complete work cannot be contained within books is because He is still working today. If we were to try and write it all down, we’d never finish, because He is still working; through the Holy Spirit and through the Church, calling people back to Himself and God.
As a congregation, this is our calling: to respond to God’s call to work for Him, retelling the message of Holy Week, reaching out in love with the Gospel. I’ll be giving you more information soon, about how I hope we can ALL be encouraged to participate in God’s work. For now, I hope we can take the message of Holy Week to heart and be ready to respond when God calls.
May God bless you
Easter is fast approaching and we are having a number of events (some shared with Langside Church). We warmly invite you to any or all of these.
This day will be an opportunity for older people and their carers to find out about local support and advice on a range of subjects. There will be a free drop in cafe as well. I would encourage all in the church to invite a friend or neighbour to this event.
The event is free and to date the following agencies will be there:
Glasgow Old Peoples Welfare
South Seeds Energy advice
Solicitors ‘re advice
Clincarthill lunch club
Cathcart Trinity Dementia Project
Food Train and more
We are looking to get a good turn out of local people so any help to let your neighbours know would be good.
‘So I say to you: ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (Luke 11: 9-10)
2018 has been a busy year, so far. Throughout January, along with the usual demands of parish ministry, I, along with the Kirk Session and Congregational Board, completed the initial stages of the Local Church Review (LCR) process.
LCR replaces what was known as the Quinquennial Visit. Over several meetings, we filled out parts 1, 2 and 3 of the paperwork. We were encouraged to reflect on the history of our congregation, and be honest about where we are at the moment. These were submitted to Presbytery: we now wait for them to send a team to us, which will help complete part 4. This is the most important part because, when complete, it should give us a 5-year mission plan for our congregation. All these documents are available for viewing – if you are interested, please just ask!
March is showing no signs of being any less busy. Not only are we now building towards Holy Week and Easter, we are also reaching the stage when we need to finalise and present the 2017 accounts, and organise our congregational AGM. While these may seem quite dry and boring things, they are actually vitally important: these things give us an opportunity to reflect on the year which has passed, realise how things are going for our congregation, and decide how we wish to proceed.
While the accounts are still to be finalised, a draft which was shown to me gives the rough estimate that, if our finances continue in their current state, we will run into serious problems in around 5 years’ time. While this is somewhat alarming, I cannot help but notice the correlation in numbers here.
God willing, by the end of the LCR process, we will have a 5-year plan for our congregation: a plan which is, essentially, God’s way of saying, “this is what I need you to do if you are following and serving me”. If we follow God’s plan for our congregation, in 5 years’ time, we will see the fruits of our labours. If, however, we ignore this plan and continue as we are, the accounts give us a prediction: we will not be able to continue as a viable congregation.
I am sure we all want our congregation to succeed for God. So, how do we go about ensuring we follow His plans for us? We do so by praying!
Using Jesus’ teaching above, when we pray about this, we should:
ASK: ask God to show us the way forward for our congregation.
SEEK: God’s will and His plans for our church.
KNOCK: at the right doors, the ones which God is opening for us.
Once we have done this, and the door is opened, we then need to have the courage and wisdom to walk through! Only then will we definitely be following the path God has set for our congregation: only then will be succeed for Him!
There are some tough times ahead: but Jesus never said the road would be easy. It will, however, be rewarding!
May God bless you, Stuart