12 December 2012

From the Evangelist desk, December 2012 edition.

Yet again this is strange to me where I am writing to you in the first week of November and you will be reading the article mid to late December, and should I have got the timing right you will be running around making the final preparations for Christmas.

Well may I be the first, at the time of writing, but not the first at the time of reading, to wish you a very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year. (Gosh I just checked spell checker and I spelt Prosperous correctly). I must be getting better at my spelling.

Now one thing that I have noticed wherever I have travelled and that is that the majority of our churches are in decline, we can’t miss the fact, as we have had meetings about it, we been shown how parishes are joining with other parishes and how we are going to continue with less clergy than we had previously. But has the penny dropped with us and are we really coming to terms with what is happening within the church?

Now this Christmas I would like all of you that are reading this article by whatever means, albeit the WEB version, or the paper version, to spend some time with the Lord. Choose a nice quiet place where you can pray to the Lord without interruption from family and friends, or if you could, it would be great to include your family and friends.

Now either on your own or with your family and friends take time to read Daniel 9:2-9 (NIV), My choice.

2  I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. 3 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.

4 I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed:

“Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.

7 “Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. 8 We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, LORD, because we have sinned against you. 9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him;

Now I’d like you to try and make Daniel’s prayer personal to you, and read it something like this.

I, RICK, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Our Church would last until we truly turn back to Him3 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.

4 I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed:

“Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.

7 “Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people of Your church, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. 8 We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, LORD, because we have sinned against you. 9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him;

Lord rebuild your church and let it start with me.

I think one of the best gifts that the Lord could bestow upon us this year would be to make our church relevant to the mass of people who do not know the Lord, and that needs to start with us, but those outside of the church see that we also get caught so many times in the material aspects associated with this world.
One thing to remember is that when we act on our own and try and build something by our strength alone we may become a colt. Any building must be done in the strength of the Lord, and in the Lord’s strength it will succeed. And one of the best ways to seek God’s strength is through prayer.

So please join me this Christmas time and pray that the Lord will rebuild His church in our time.

A Very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year to you all.

Blessings
Rick Hayes