Thy Kingdom Come
We have started!
I hope you are aware that as a church we have decided to join in with ‘Thy Kingdom Come’. This is a prayer event between Ascension (Thursday 30 May) until Pentecost (Sunday 9 June). To find out more about ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ check out their website or watch this video.
But for us (and hopefully you) it will mean:
Choosing 5 family members, friends or neighbours who do not know Jesus to pray for each day for the 11 days between Ascension and Pentecost that they will come to love Jesus. Write the names down and keep them somewhere safe. On Sunday we gave out an outline of a hand to write the names on each finger. Perhaps you could make and cut out your own?
Coming to church and committing to pray for 30 mins for our community at least once (but preferably more) between Ascension and Pentecost. Esther and Gale have set up church to allow you to pray using various stations and it looks fab (and is set up and ready to go now). Come on your own, as a family, with friends or as a life group. To access the church do text me and I will let you know the key box number.
Praying with those you live with each day between Ascension and Pentecost. If you have children we have copies of a ‘prayer adventure map’ at church that you can take home and use or there are lots of other resources you could use online. Or even try joining to pray with other Christians who live in the same vicinity.
In your home place an LED candle in one your windows during this period with an A4 poster which says ‘We are praying for this community’. These are available at the church do drop by and pick one up.
Please get involved!
Also I hope you have been challenged by the start of our Joshua series as I believe it is very prophetic for us as a church. Even this week as an all age service I believe the message ‘You are called to be Rock Solid’ from Joshua 4 is prophetic to us and the church in the UK.
I will probably be misunderstood, misinterpreted or even criticized by what I say, but I write this not as a legalist, or traditionalist, or a disillusioned or egocentric pastor but as one who is asking you to weigh up the message from the word.
You have been warned if you decide to read further..!
The 12 memorial stones taken from the Jordan by Joshua are a call to us as the church to become the ‘living stones’ that Peter talks about in 1 Peter 2:5. Just like the stones of Joshua 4 so as living stones we are meant to be ‘wonder stones’ – a living memorial of the salvation of God in our lives. Praising the God who has lifted us up from the depths and leads us out of slavery through the desert into all the promises of His word. As we declare the praises of God together we are being ‘rocks’. They are also ‘witness stones’ – a witness to our children and our community that God has come and rescued us and that all can be rescued by Him. And so as we come together as church week by week we witness to our God as rescuer. And just as in Joshua 4:21-24 so when our children, other children or anyone form the community ask – Why do these people (these living stones) give up precious time every Sunday to worship? We can answer because they are praising and witnessing to the God who has saved them. When they ask ‘Why do they meet on a Sunday?’ We can answer because Jesus went down into the depths of death and came out victorious on the first day of the week (Sunday), we meet on Sunday to declare that Jesus rose again and is Lord of all (and me).
During this ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ we are also wondering what it might look like to be ‘witness rocks’ in our local communities. What it might look like if Christians in a given area stood together in prayer. How about during ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ invite around the Christians in your immediate area for coffee and prayer.
However I do think it is the challenge of Sunday Church that these ‘rocks’ might most speak to us. As a Pastor I am always encouraged by those who are ‘Rock Solid’, who worship and witness every Sunday whatever is happening! Those who come not because they get something from the service (which I hope they do) but because they are, in the fact of turning up, worshipping and witnessing to their families and communities. They are my heroes of faith who despite complex health or family situations turn up week by week - or those who come and spend most the time just trying to keep their children calm but in doing so are worshipping and witnessing to them. These are the ‘living stones’ – those who are part of the furniture who are rock solid. I know the modern day family challenges of Sunday Church (and that is why we put on two services) but my concern is that, just as no one now can be certain where the memorial stones of Joshua 4 either are or were located, so as we become less ‘Rock Solid’ and more ‘blancmange like’ about church the church in the UK will continue to have little impact - not only in its witness to the community but even in the lives of those who do come. Because finally on Sunday we saw that the rocks of Joshua 4 could also be seen as the ‘White stones’ of Revelation 2:17. They named the location of the stones as Gigal (rolled) as God has rolled their shame away (Joshua 5:9). The stones witness to the forgiveness, freedom and blessings of being the people of God. And as we join week by week declaring we are forgiven, loved, free and blessed, we will meet with that God. We will then move away from having just a form of godliness but have the power as well! Because it is when we gather to worship and witness that the glory, presence and power of God is present.
And it all begins by becoming ‘Rock Solid’. The writer to Hebrews challenges us ‘Not to give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing’ and this is why as members we covenant to worship Sunday by Sunday and we will renew our covenant on Pentecost Sunday.
So see you on Sunday!