Well, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel as we hear talks of moving from level 4 to level 3 in the days ahead! Of course, this is dependant on a variety of factors, but if anything it gives us some encouragement that this is only a season, ‘this too will pass’. For many of us this will mean some change, but for others very little will change and we need to be mindful that this is a marathon and not a short sprint.
This Sunday we have got Testimony Sunday across all our morning services as we hear from different voices what God has done and doing in their lives, and then an Edge youth service at the 6pm. It’s always uplifting to hear others stories, so I would encourage you to head to our webpage here or to our YouTube channel here to participate in either one or all four services!!
Over the past weeks we have received some really encouraging feedback about our online services and how they are reaching not only your bubble, but others that normally wouldn’t connect with us. We’d love to hear these stories of hope and connection, be it someone who is in your bubble, someone who might not usually come to church or others that you may have forwarded the link onto. We’re experiencing a far greater reach now as a church than pre-COVID-19 and so we would love to hear what God is doing in the lives of these people.
So, if you have got a story, an experience or someone you know who has been impacted by our online services then we’d love to hear from you. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or simply just ‘reply’ to this one and let me know your experience.
Thanks church – keep reading to hear from our new Senior Pastor Den and we look forward to connecting with you on line at either 9am (Hornby) 10am (West Melton) 11am (Rolleston) or 6pm (Edge).
From Den’s Pen:
As we passed through Easter and I happened to be reading through the end of John. The cross loomed large on Jesus’ horizon and it was in this scenario that he makes some of the most profound statements. One of these utterances got my attention; Jn 12:23 “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels-a plentiful harvest of new lives.” In context, Jesus is talking about his journey through the cross. He is the kernel that is going to die, but in dying many people would find new life. My attention spiked with Jesus saying, “I tell you the truth.” When Jesus utters such statements, he is saying, “listen up – I am giving you a glimpse into a mystery.” The thought crossed my mind, what if the kernel of wheat is my life? Do I need to die to bring forth new life? Then I began thinking, where is there an example of this principal? In Lk 22:31, Jesus warns Peter, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat.” Note, it wasn’t just Peter Satan asked for. What follows is Peter denying Jesus three times, and we find on the last denial, Jesus turning to look at Peter, and Peter realizing what he had just done. The man was cut to the heart. (62) And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly. A trial so severe, Pater could have been lost. Before-hand we find Jesus praying Peter’s faith would not fail (32). In this, Jesus also gave hope, “So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.” Repentance, Peter would soon know about deep heartfelt repentance. I would suggest Peter edged in and out of weeping over the next three days; his own death experience while Jesus was in the heart of the earth. Peter, the bolshie one, the man never lost for a word, the disciple who seemed to speak for the other disciples, the faith man who of all the disciples attempted to walk on the water, died. Of all the disciples, he knew first-hand the mercy of God, and God’s acceptance. Peter’s cross experience had been noted in the council of heaven. Look at the angel’s words at the empty tomb, “Now, go and tell his disciples, including Peter …” Mk 16:7. The kernel of wheat had died and come back to life. So, where’s the increase Jesus talks about? Acts 2:14 Then Peter stepped forward … and shouted to the crowd, “Listen carefully, all of you, fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem” … Acts 2:41, Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day – about 3,000 in all. Why Peter? Why not the other disciples? Because Peter was believable. Because he could speak about the repentance (38) and forgiveness from personal experience. Peter’s words pierced their hearts (37). To Peter the power of the cross was first- hand. On the inside he had died and come back to life again. Dare I say it, God couldn’t use Peter as he previously was, he needed a man acquainted with death, acquainted with the cross; a man acquainted with God’s mercy and grace, his forgiveness and the goodness. A kernel of wheat had fallen to the ground and died but its death had produced many new kernels-a plentiful of new lives. Unless our lives are cruciform; first-hand experience of the principal of the cross, we won’t see the reproduction Jesus talks about. Your cross, the journey through your own darkness to experience forgiveness and life makes you believable, and fruitful.