Hallelujah! With us!
-Iris Carter (aged 20 months) this morning
As it’s the last Sunday before Christmas, this is as good a time as any for some words of encouragement (and it makes a fine substitute for sending Christmas cards).
So what do you say by way of an encouragement to a church that is bold enough to break the embargo on the fourth verse of O Come All Ye Faithful and sing it before Christmas Day?
In Cord this term, we have been studying 1 Thessalonians, and Paul’s greeting to them seems very appropriate.
We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers,remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers loved by God,that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
Grace has abounded- I see it in the leadership, in my small group, with the families at Word Alive and on Sundays (and even when some of the students were mocking my taste in in-car music)- this year, and I know I have been encouraged by it. Thank you so much.
We’re kind of settled now, as settled as you can be in what we hope is a temporary arrangement, and it’s good and exciting to see the evangelistic programmes start up again (regardless of my small group’s dog biscuit analogies). The Gospel Project to read Mark’s gospel is really exciting and I am looking forward to studying it next term to equip our small group in telling people about Jesus.
The shepherds on the hills of Judea had angels tell them the good news of Jesus’ arrival- it will be so much more a privilege to tell people ourselves.
Let’s pray for this to be a success in 2016.
Have a great Christmas!