Linked in

 

Dear Friends

Sharon joins me in wishing you all a very Happy New Year. It carries with it a sense of anticipation for all that God will lead us into as we journey together in His purposes for us as a community of faith. 

Each New Year is an opportunity for new beginnings and a fresh start. But then so is each week. Every Sunday is the first day of the week - a new beginning. Actually every day is an opportunity for a new beginning: God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). I wonder what new beginningwe would like to enter into this year? 

‘Linked-In’is a social networking website for people in professional occupations and as of June last year had 175 million registered users worldwide. It seems to me that the expression ‘Linked-In’very neatly sums up our resolve with which to start the year. 

We want to be more closely ‘linked-In’ to God and our walk of faith and we want to be more closely linked in to one another so that together we can work out what it means to be a community of faith in 2013. 

Linked-In to Jesus.

The Christmas event has reminded us that Jesus is ‘Immanuel’ which means ‘God with us’. The message of the angels to the Shepherds was that; ‘Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord’ (Luke 2:11). The very name ‘Jesus’ means, ‘he will save his people from their sins’ (Matthew 1:21). Every time we use the name, Jesus, it reminds us that our greatest need is not for happiness or contentment (although these may both be by-products). Our greatest need is for forgiveness. Therefore we need a Saviour. May we be more linked in to our love for Jesus, who has saved us from the consequence of our sin and allow His Spirit to keep our faith alive, fresh and relevant. 

 

Linked-In to the Word

The best way to keep our faith alive and vibrant is by reading a portion of scripture every day (even if it is only a verse or two) and by allowing God to speak to us and nourish us with His truth. Why not try the Bible in a year reading scheme? 

Linked-In to one another

This year we would love to see everyone in our church experience the joy of being more connected with one another. We grow friendships by developing a sense of belonging and this helps us to feel committed to one another.

Although many enjoy regular cell life, there are others who for all sorts of reasons feel unable to commit to a weekly meeting, but yet would like to feel connected to a small group even if they cannot attend on a regular basis. So this year we would like to ‘Link-In’ everyone with a cell group so that we all can have a place where we belong with a group that loves and cares for us and shares with us in the journey of life. In the coming weeks Jo Davies, our cell group coordinator, will be working out how to guide us through this process. 

Linked-In to Prayer

Each year we come together to pray as a church for the year ahead and listen to all that the Lord might be leading us into. There is much to look forward to in the coming months:

Alpha, Discipleship and Marriage courses starting soon

Visit of the African Children’s choir after Easter

Launch of Tewkesbury’s first ever Foodbank

Church family weekend away 

Do join us at one of the three daily sessions of prayer and get excited about all that lies ahead (Mon – Thurs 14-17thJan). 

Linked-In to the out-working of our faith

On Palm Sunday (24thMarch) we will be having a service of Believers Baptism. This will be an opportunity for those who have decided to follow Jesus to make a public commitment through Baptism by full emersion in our Baptistery. For those who have never been Baptised (or Christened) as infants this will be their personal decision of faith. For others it may be a renewal of Baptismal vows that reflects a major turning point in their journey. Either way, if there are those in our church family who would like to step up to this commitment, please do let me know that this is something you are considering. It is usual that those who are considering Baptism (or renewal of Baptismal vows) attend the Alpha course as part of their preparation. 

Alpha starts on Wednesday 23rdJan 7.30pm– do let Sharon or myself know if you are interested in attending the course. 

It is exciting to consider how much richer our experience of life can be when we resolve this year to beLinked-Inmore effectively to God and to one another and find our place in his purposes. 

With every blessing in Christ

Stephen