Happy New Year
As we prepare for 2020 I always like to spend time praying over what the Lord is saying to us
As I have done that this week Psalm 8 has kept on coming back to me. It began as I attended Christmas midnight mass where Psalm 8 is used! This is because Psalm 8 is a lovely messianic Psalm. It begins with the message of the Angels – Glory to God in the highest and quickly moves to Palm Sunday when the children and infants praise the coming of God (LORD) as our Lord (Christ and king) and finally Paul in Corinthians reminds us that the ultimate ‘ruling’ man is Jesus at the resurrection when all things are placed under Him. So this Psalm is about Jesus, his incarnation and victory at the resurrection. But what might it be saying to Wallingford Baptist Church in 2020? I believe this Psalm also applies to us as we as his followers are placed ‘in Christ’ and seated with Him in the heavenly realms. So I believe what this Psalm means for us in 2020 is…
God’s glory in the earth and heavens is revealed in Jesus. So let us allow the Christmas story to mesmerize us as to its truth, grace and glory. Let it lead us, as the opening verse of the Psalm calls us to do, to choose the LORD (Jesus) to be our Lord (ruler) in 2020. Leading to worship, obedience and witness. Let us sing and share about this to all who will listen. We have two great opportunities this January to encourage our friends to check out what it means that Jesus is God and can rescue people in 2020. Firstly on January 18th at 5pm at South Moreton Boxing Club hear stories of how Jesus rescued people today - “TOUGH TALK: Power Lifters, Body Builders, Ex Bouncers & Debt Collectors, Ex Villains and Hardmen Tell Their Amazing Stories”. Then on Monday 20th at 8pm we are running another Alpha course. Do invite anyone wanting to explore for the first time (or again) the claims that Jesus born the first Christmas is God and rescues people today.
“Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger”
It is through our ‘lips’ that we can know salvation and deliverance. This is the gospel – ‘That if we confess we our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead we will be saved’ Romans 10:10. As you begin 2020 confess WITH YOUR MOUTH Jesus as your Lord, place your confidence in the resurrection and you will see personal salvation but also deliverance against your enemies – those seeking to pull you down, back and away. This is why baptism is so important as it is the God-given way to do this as we begin the Christian journey. So if you have been considering baptism don’t put it off any longer.
It is through the ‘praise’ of the weak that we overcome. Jesus used the word ‘praise’ instead of ‘lips’ when quoting this Psalm, which is why the NIV translates it such. It will be our praise of Jesus that will establish strength and stability in our lives. So make Sunday worship your number 1 New Year resolution because this is the way ‘we fight our battles’.
It is through the praise ‘of children and infants’ that victory will be secured. I believe the Lord is asking us in 2020 to teach our children and young people to ‘praise’ Jesus. We want our children not just to be occupied and entertained but to join in our praise on a Sunday. As worship leaders we have discussed this and are reflecting on how we do this through songs, actions, flags and instruments. We will also be trying to develop this in a monthly 6 O’clock service (more info to follow).
I believe that it is as we train our children and young people to praise that they will overcome the issues/mental health challenges of their age and culture. As Faith Leaders we believe the Lord is asking us how we will better support our Young People to do this, particularly from September when Esther and Amanda will have moved on to their new pastures. We will be bringing this for your consideration and discussion at our January church meeting. So make every effort to be there and do talk to any of the Faith Leaders about this. The Faith Leaders were clear that I could not carry on my own all the demands and opportunities that we have as a church and we believe we need more support to free me up as well as better train up our young people.
“You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honour. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet:”
As the new humanity in Christ we are called to be ‘rulers’ and to know ‘everything under our feet’. Although both the writer to the Hebrews and Paul reminds us that we do not see that fully in this age – we are still called not to just accept all that is thrown our way. We are called to pray ‘Thy Kingdom Come’; ‘Deliver us from evil’. So our response to the victory of Jesus is to pray. We personally as a family have seen the effect of this as a number of friends have gathered around us to pray specifically for some of our challenges ‘in the name of Jesus’. And either through Life groups or prayer triplets this should be the experience of us all. So do commit to either a Life group or a prayer triplet. Be committed to praying for one another ‘Your Kingdom come’ and do not give up praying for ‘For yours is the Kingdom, the power and the glory for ever and ever’.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
7 all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
8 the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.
9 Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
This Psalm reminds us as our responsibility as the New humanity in Christ to fulfil the call of Adam to rule the earth by caring for it and allowing it to flourish. This year I believe the Lord is asking us to take seriously our call to respond to ‘climate change’. To bring changes at the church, in our personal lives and through prayer and ‘protesting’. The mission fund group has made this one of their focus themes this year so let’s support them in what they bring to us for consideration.
Finally as we seek to bring the rule of Christ in our church and world, I ask you to consider what area of church life you could significantly impact this year. We are seeking to bring the ‘rule of Christ’ through a number of ministries. All of which need more personnel and support in 2020. So do pray where the Lord may be asking you to get involved. It may be in one of the areas I have already mentioned. But we are needing more volunteers to support and develop the ‘Living Room’ as a way to bring care to the lonely, the vulnerable and to all. Also we are needing more volunteers for CAP to visit, care and help in supporting those struggling with debt. Also Oasis, Toddlers………
I believe that through Psalm 8 the Lord is laying before us how we should be responding in 2020. Please do share with me (or any Faith Leader) what you feel the Lord may be saying/doing among us – either through this Psalm or any other words you may have.
Please do support the half night of prayer on Saturday 4th at RCC. We will begin at 8pm with an hour of worship followed by prayer from 9pm to midnight. Do join us all at 8pm and then stay as long or as short as you are able as we seek to bring the rule of Christ to our lives, families, communities and churches through prayer. This is what you have been called to do from Psalm 8.
Warmly in Jesus,