Welcome to everyone joining us for our monthly Celebration Service! Why are we celebrating? Because:
- God loves us,
- Jesus has rescued us from our sins
- The Holy Spirit empowers us to live a new life
- We can all belong to God’s family
- On this first Sunday of each month the St Matt’s part of the family gathers together to enjoy each other’s company in God’s presence!!
It’s so good to be together again. I’m finding it really hard not to see everyone, every week but at least it makes me look forward very much to this very special time. Let’s commit ourselves (in the lead up to each monthly celebration) to praying earnestly that when we do meet together it’s a wonderful time. Perhaps even so special that we couldn’t help but invite our people of peace to come along with us! That’s certainly my goal.
And in between times, we meet in smaller gatherings either in local mission contexts or times of fellowship. If you’re not sure how this can work for you – please ask! Most people are now involved in one of our four Missional Communities. That means that almost all of us are actively involved in mission which means that our life of discipleship (following Jesus) is way more balanced in the three sets of relationships; Up (with God, which we maintain by these times of gathering for worship and our own personal devotions), In (with other Christians, meeting in groups at various times and locations), & Out (with people who don’t yet follow Jesus, at home, work, school, clubs, - our People of Peace).
Meanwhile, for me personally, things have changed dramatically as I have “eased” into being half-time Vicar of St Matt’s and half-time Director of Evangelism & Discipleship for Church Army Australia. Actually it’s far from easy! I’m struggling to juggle the work load, the changes and the challenges and I would value your prayers . . .
The truth is we’re all struggling a bit (or a lot) aren’t we? We have given extra life to a new church but at considerable cost to our own church life. It’s uncomfortable, strange and unfamiliar.
But that’s why, (under trial), it’s important that we indentify first and foremost as Children of our Heavenly Father who has promised, “be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." (6) So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can human beings do to me?" (7) Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. (8) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Heb 13:5b-8)
Our circumstances change but God does not. And that’s the other reason we celebrate – because He is with us!
God bless, Ian.