I was grabbed recently by something in a piece of literature put through my front door. Unusual, I know. It was a prayer diary for the Middle East. In it I found a prayer for government officials to return to displaced peoples equality, dignity and responsibility. Lack of these things, or violent suppression thereof, in many countries is the very reason many refugees are fleeing in their droves. And it really got me thinking.
It is an exciting time for the church, new people are coming and finding Jesus and the promise of Isaiah is once again fulfilled in our age:
“Lift up your eyes round about and see; they all gather together, they come to you. Your sons will come from afar, and your daughters will be carried in the arms.”
In my first post in this series I explored the question “what is God’s mission?”, and the second post briefly answered “who are we and how did we get here?” in regards to our New Creation Christian Community. In this final post in the series I’ll set out to describe some of the new vision stirring in our community.
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Northampton Jesus Centre celebrated its 10th anniversary in December 2014. What have we learned along the way that has seen us through to this point?
Early on we discovered that where you think you’re going when you start isn’t where you end up but in it all God gets you exactly where He needs you to be in order to bring Him the glory.
Three weeks ago, I picked up a few friends who were new to the country and took them to our mid-week small group. When I got to the hostel where they stay, eight happy souls were waiting for me outside. I wound the window down, waved, and called them to cross the road to get into the minibus. We began talking as soon as they sat. I enjoyed their company for that half hour journey to our small group.
I was 22 or 23 when I was first asked to move to another community house in 1998. When I moved in there were only five of us living there and it was up to me to make things happen. I wasn’t an evangelist particularly, but I was stirred by a desire to love people and share Jesus with people. In those days, we took a few risks, there were lots of good things that happened but also loads of mistakes. I was learning wisdom, learning to love and win people into the church.
It’s estimated Jesus walked up to 20 miles a day to spread the Gospel. He travelled light. He wasn’t looking for earthly possessions.
Jesus was looking for relationships. Jesus was looking for people. As a church we intend to follow the example of Jesus, sowing the kingdom of God, seed by seed among the people we interact with.
I was recently watching a documentary about the Gloriavale Christian Community in New Zealand. While convicted by their daily devotion to God and each other I kept thinking of one of my favourite parts of the Bible. Jesus has defeated death and gives his followers the Great Commission:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28)