Happy New Year.
Praise God for an amazing time over Christmas, and huge thanks to all those who helped to make the last couple of months such special times, through which many have encountered something of the wonderful good news of Jesus Christ.
It was great to see how God was at work on the first Sunday of the year, 5th January, as we begun the year together, both in a Baptism service on Sunday morning and in a wonderful prayer night on Sunday evening. The verse we were thinking about on Sunday morning was 1 Corinthians 16:13,14, which is our verse for the year. I am convinced that the faith we have in Christ, who died for our sin and rose again conquering death, should show itself in courageous love. You can read the Sunday morning message here.
I ended the talk with a story from church history, which you can read on Mike Breen’s blog
Doing small things with great love can make a big difference. As we come into this new year I am praying that we will particularly learn as communities how to do small things with great love, bringing the wonderful good news of Jesus Christ to those around us, through both our words and our deeds.
One way we are doing that together centrally is through the night shelter, beginning here at Holland Road at the end of January. Please pray for the 7 other churches in the city who are currently serving the homeless in our city for this first half of the winter, and remember the 6 other churches who on different nights of the week will be joining with us for the second half of the winter at the end of January. Praise God for a great initiative serving our city, involving 14 churches across Brighton and Hove.
Thanks to all those who gave through the gift day in November and at the Candlelight service towards the night shelter and other work. So great was the response that not only were we able to exceed our target of £40,000 but we were able to give some additional gifts, including to a great work at St Peter’s called “Safehaven”, helping men and women from the street community. We also were able to give a gift towards the work of Off the Fence – providing for those who are on the streets and haven’t been able to find shelter. Praise God it looks like we will also be able to give small gifts to a few churches doing great outreach work in needy parts of our city. Jesus said “Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8)
So it is with expectancy that we come into this new year, knowing that we have a good, generous and gracious God – our faith is in Him and what He has done for us, not what we do for Him. That is why we can live with Courageous Love.
Yours together in Christ
PS – I’m already looking forward to our next prayer night at 6:30pm on Sunday 2nd of Feb. Do please specially put those prayer nights on the first Sunday of each month in your diary, for “The Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to Him” (Deut 4:7).