Despite everything that is going on, God is still in control, and always will be.
 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (ESV)
Hang on one second… “Not neglecting to meet together”? What is happening right now? We’re in the midst of the government telling us to stay indoors where you can, don’t have social gatherings, don’t have religious gatherings… And yet here the Bible tells us clearly: do not neglect to meet together.
What do we do with that? Is God displeased that we are not meeting together?
First and foremost, God cares. This is something I will be talking more about on Sunday in my video sermon. God cares for us, as His people. He is not cross or angry with us because we are doing what the government is strongly advising us to do. It is for our own health, to keep us safe. God knows. God cares. He has not turned away.
Perhaps after this COVID-19 issue has completely gone away, and we are safe to meet once again in our old Grade II listed building, perhaps we will have a fresh vigour and enthusiasm in meeting together to worship God as one body, in one locality.
But until then, we are separate, and we just can’t meet together. * (see footnote!)
However, notice what the author to the Hebrews writes in opposition to not meeting together. He writes, “let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another.”
Let me point out the obvious. The text says, “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some.” Let’s be clear here. It is not our habit to neglect meeting together. For most of us, meeting together every Sunday is a habit. It’s just what we do. This “not meeting together” does not come naturally. It goes against the grain. It certainly can’t be said of us that we are in the habit of neglecting to meet together.
Rather, we have been forced to not meet together, due to circumstances that are totally out of our control.
So we can’t meet together physically, but, – consider. In this weird and difficult time, consider how we can stir each other to love. How can we inspire one another in loving God more? How can we inspire each other in loving our neighbours, especially in their hour(s) of need? What good works can we do for our friends, our brothers and sisters, and for those in our lives that at the moment don’t believe in Jesus?
Finally, he gives the exhortation about “encouraging one another.” What an apt word for this day. We need encouragement. And everybody reading this right at this second is able to encourage somebody else.
Stop. Think. Listen to God for a moment. Who does He want you to phone up today and encourage? Who can we get in touch with and very simply share the love of Jesus?
It is as we give encouragement to others that we will receive it ourselves.
* by the way, I hope you’ve picked up by now that we actually CAN meet together, using Zoom! Check your email for that ID number!
It’s OK to feel how you’re feeling. God knows how you feel. We feel the way we feel for a reason. The best thing we can be doing with our feelings is to talk to Jesus about them.
Paul writes, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6) In other words, don’t be anxious and do nothing about it. There is a real danger that when we get anxious, as we all do, we can allow that anxiety to, in effect, snowball – and it can become bigger and bigger in our minds until it gets out of control.
Instead, Paul writes that when we get anxious, “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Force yourself to pray to Jesus. Even if it’s just blurting out to Him what is on your mind. That is a good start. And then say to Him – “please give me Your peace.”
God wants to give us His peace in exchange for us giving Him what we are anxious about. Verse 7 says that when we pray to Jesus and let our requests be made know to Him, that “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
For most of the world, including Christians, Coronavirus is the thing that is among the top causes of anxiety today. There are bound to be other serious things going in in people’s lives – but Coronavirus and the sociological effects of it is the one thing that most of us have in common.
It’s OK to feel how you’re feeling. Let’s pour out our hearts to Jesus and allow Him to give us His peace and to guard our hearts and our minds with it.
For further reading, you might find the following article useful, entitled: “Caring for your soul in the time of Coronavirus.”
Praying for peace for us all,
Due to the coronavirus outbreak and under guidance from the UK Government, we have suspended all CCC meetings including Sunday services from today – Tuesday 17th March 2020.
Please see Pastor Dave’s email relating to this by clicking on this link
We know this is difficult but we are working very hard at online and other options to help us stay connected in the weeks ahead. Following this post, Pastor Dave will be taking over this blog to communicate directly with the church.
Steve (Web Admin)
On Saturday 1st December we had our Annual General Meeting which was well attended by the members of the church. We enjoyed fish and chips together in the hall prior to the meeting which was a great social time.
Appointment of Deacons
This year’s AGM was a voting year and all of our current leaders allowed their names to go forward for re-election with nobody new standing for the first time. The result was that all were re-elected and there was therefore no change for the next two year period.
Finances were presented as usual with some questions being answered. As was said at the meeting, we are grateful to God for His provision over the year and thankful to our members and regular supporters for your very generous giving both financially and practically toward the work of the church here in Christchurch. Your generosity not only helps us locally, but supports ministry that is far reaching. Thank you!
Vision and Purpose
Pastor Dave presented in more detail what he believes the purpose and vision of the church is moving forward into 2019. He unpacked this even further, also giving members time to contribute some ideas toward a particular part of this more focused vision.
Retirement of Assistant Pastor
One of the most significant items to conclude the meeting was the announcement that Pastor Dudley Powell was now retiring from his position as Assistant Pastor after approximately 15 years in this role. We are very grateful to him and his wife Jenny for their contribution to the pastoral work of the church, prayer ministry and also for so much practical work that has been organised and carried out on the building during those years. They were both presented with a gift and our gratitude was made very clear to them both. Although Dudley is no longer officially our Assistant Pastor, we’re quite sure he’ll continue to be quite involved in the life of the church. Thank you Dudley and Jenny for all of your hard work!
We were pleased to have Shane Cooke with as all the way from Australia teaching a small group of us at our workshop on Saturday 17th November followed by his message to us at our All Age morning service on the Sunday.
Shane’s focus was on generational ministry. He encouraged the teachers, leaders, parents and grandparents among us to see the potential in our children and to encourage them in the gifts of the Holy Spirit even at a young age. With some amazing and inspiring testimonies along with some practical workshops during the 3rd and 4th sessions, we all left having much to think about and having seen the young people among us better equipped for service.
If you came along, we hope you enjoyed it. You’re most welcome to join us on a Sunday at our 10:30 and 18:30 services!
20th November 2018