Sunday, 25 November 2007

Dear Friends - December

Dear Friends

The Christmas period presents us with unparalleled opportunities for the gospel. That could be our church run events like our Carol Events on the 16th December, our Christ Church Kids party on 12th or the Christmas Quiz night on the 6th. It could also be the informal conversations with colleagues or friends over lunch or at the school gate. This is a time of year when spiritual realities are allowed on the agenda. Whilst it can sometimes feel that the secular media is largely antagonistic towards the Christian faith it’s not always the same with our secular friends. Many of our non-Christian family, neighbours and colleagues, though they don’t share our religious convictions, are nevertheless willing to engage on a personal level with some of the deeper spiritual issues. That’s perhaps especially true at Christmas. The big questions are not always permitted to be front and centre but people seem to soften under the influence of ‘twinkly’ lights, presents and mulled wine! We’re committed to helping people to hear and understand the message of Christmas.

Of course, we’re all pulled in one direction or another. It can feel as though everyone wants a piece of us. There are work, family and church commitments that compete for our attention and loyalty. But I’m eager that we don’t look back on these years and regret the opportunities we wasted. We need to be doing all we can, accepting our limitations, for God and His glorious gospel. The writer of the book of Hebrews encourages church members to ‘consider how to stir up one another to love and good works’ [Hebrews 10:25]. With that encouragement to think about how to incite, provoke and agitate one another ringing in our ears can I ask you to do three things this year?

1. Would you pray?
God will not share His glory with another. When we pray we recognise that we are dependent on the Lord to give us the success for which we hope. If we don’t pray we’re exercising independence from Him and we have no reason to expect His blessing. We need people who will pray that God will bring people to hear and understand the salvation that He provides in His Son.

2. Would you invite?
Every year I sit in the Carol events and regret that friends aren’t there. The reason they’re not there is sometimes because they’ve said ‘no’. But often it’s because I failed to ask them. That’s just foolish. And it’s my fault. We need people who will invite their friends.

3. Would you attend?
Events sometimes fail because they lack a critical mass of people. Social dynamics mean that we’re put at ease when there’s a bit of a crowd around us. Is it overstating it to say that no one should miss these events? Whatever you’ve got in your diaries, cancel it! We need everyone there.

With grateful thanks for your partnership in the gospel. To God be the glory this Christmas.