Prayer Points from Presbytery – Mar ’17

Grace Church, Larbert – Facing some accommodation issues – needing to find a temporary home for July – August. They are still looking for land and there is one possible option. Growth in the congregation has been more stable than spectacular but around 200 in the congregation now. Sean Clokey is halfway through his training at ETS

Trinity Church Aberdeen – Looking at a building and a need for wisdom and courage in this. Have been preaching through Luke’s gospel and encouraging the congregation to use Uncover doing 121’s with friends. This has seen encouraging results. Encouraged by having Ben Trainor on staff doing Cornhill part time.

HIC Inverness – Quite encouraged with recent growth – up to 50 people on a  Sunday morning, celebrating their 5th anniversary soon. Continued prayer for health of James and Jane Torrens

Trinity York – Encouraged – 2 elders are being put to the congregation which is good for the church but pray for unity in this. There has been an increase in attendance particularly in the number of Non Christians coming to church. Mums and Tots groups has started and a Drop in coffee for older folks. All their interns will finish this summer and so there’s a need to recruit new ones. Very grateful for Peter Leach coming under care and staying for another year.

Christ Church Derby – Lots of be thankful for, quite a number of new faces, 5 new members. Recently finished an evangelistic course and lots of good conversations. Pray for the Christ Church Central Leeds launch – it’s very exciting but that will have an effect on the congregation in Derby and particularly the finances as people move on. Pray for Jonty and George as they prepare to move house  – Ottilie Esther Grace Rhodes was born on 7 March.

New City Fellowship – Shepherds Bush – A stable time, have appointed a communications guy to the staff. Grateful for a woman who has moved back from New York. Marcus, Oong and Chris H meeting as a proto session and preaching through Acts. Grateful froa  Somali man coming and the music beginning to sound better

New Life Massih Ghar, Southall – Barry Schutter has just returned from a trip to India with the aim of reaching the families of people in NLMG back in India, helping publish books in India and real encouragement from a  girl in NLMG giving her testimony in Hyderabad.

Immanuel, Brentford – One of Stuart’s neighbours coming for a few months from Catholic background. There has been a family coming from the start and some people randomly coming. Hoping to run Life Explored after Easter. There are a number of pastor issue with older people who are frail and depression in the congregation.

All Nations, Ilford – Steady, Having an Away day in May. Pray for people on fringes for God to work. Still grappling with language issues and how to minister to those in a different language. Keep praying for a musician.

Grace Church, Kyle of Lochalsh – Not an easy situation. Week to week it seems to be settled and congregation is recovering. They are still below the scale where they need to be to call a minister. Hamish serving heroically

Ealing IPC – Training 4 men for eldership which is going well. On the building project, encouraged that we’ve been able to sort out legal situation CIO and a loan but the builders are proving problematic. Very grateful to have recently had Dariusz Bryckov with us from Poland and hope that we can have a long term partnership with the congregation in Warsaw. WE are looking at ways we can reach out to Polish people with the gospel. We are looking forward to having Gethin Jones work with us for a year and Chris Roberts coming back from London Seminary this summer. We need to pray for Graham who is having an operation for Colon cancer with quite a few uncertainties.

St Peter’s Liss – Has been a more settled time with loan elders working well together. The way forward plan for the congregation is being developed and there are encouragements. A pastoral search committee has been appointed.

Culcheth Community Church – Phil Wren has decided that he won’t serve as an elder and so Church Planting committee are talking to Bruce as to the best way forward  for the congregation.

Christ Church Central, Leeds – Jonty and George will be moving to Leeds in April.

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Day 195

Day 195 – Thu 16 Mar -Today was a day of meetings. It began with Session prayer and there was 5 of us there, it was good to be able to pray for Immanuel, Brentford and hear from Stuart. Then I had church staff before doing a couple of hours work. I traipsed over to London Bridge to see Dick Lucas for lunch who was in good form, he’s had the flu but is on the mend. We discussed the usual things on preaching, and he bemoans that we’re not grabbing people in our preaching.

From there I got the train down to Liss for the second meeting of the Pastoral Search Committee. We had dinner together and had a really encouraging time, I am more hopeful than I’ve been for a long time about St Peter’s. Paul Meiners gave me a lift back and we were home for just after 10.

Day 194

Day 194 – Wed 15 Mar -I had an early morning meeting with Natalie our intern and then spent the rest of the day in the study. I’m slightly stuck on Isaiah 56 and have gone round and round on it. I listened to a couple of sermons from others which I don’t usually do but in all honesty they weren’t much help at all.

The issue I’m struggling with is how did Israel keep the Sabbath and not profane it whilst in exile and when Isaiah commands them to do justice what does he mean? It’s too easy an application to say we must be doing social justice today, that is lazy exegesis. I finished the day with more questions than I started.
The kids were in good form this evening, Noah has made it to the Quiz Club team which will compete against other schools which will be great fun. Phoebe is beginning to adore being in the bath and causes carnage.
We had housegroup at the Littles on the end of 2 Peter which Adrian led. It’s not an easy book and doesn’t lend itself so easily to small group bible study.

Day 193

Day 193 – Tue 14 Mar -4 of us met in the Knowing God group and had a great time. I came back and worked in the morning on ELT and Isa 56. ELT had a good turnout again, I’ve stopped counting but I think we’re in the mid 30s. I preached on Romans 13 on submission to authorities. In the afternoon I had a pastoral visit with a new family to the church and enjoyed reading Calvin on Justification on my journey. Graham is back home and I was pleased to get to see him before going back to 5 a side. It wasn’t a great game but a good run out, some of the guys were a bit irate with each other towards the end but just handbags. There’s something embarrassing about grown men arguing about 5 a side.

 

The Evangelical Magazine have just published my article on Regeneration.

Day 192

Day 192 – Mon 13 Mar – Today was one of those Mondays where it just felt impossible to get going. In the morning I worked on Romans 13 but it was so slow and there was no blood going to it. I had a pastoral meeting in town over lunch and then worked from a Café in the afternoon but I’m not sure I achieved anything. I’d have probably been better just to take the day off. I even ended sleeping after dinner for half hour just to try and get some energy. Discouragement comes when you’re tired and undisciplined, it skews your view of how things are going in the church and the devil can use that. I’m going to try and read Willie Still on rhythms of work and rest and his piece on the devil.

 

We had deacons meeting in the evening that was good and picked me up, we’re waiting for our builder to come back to us on the building project but it’s hard to put up with the slowness. We need to get better as a church at encouraging giving I suspect this year there might be a shortfall which will make us pray more and be more proactive.

Day 191

Day 191 – Sun 12 Mar –  Children’s Sunday school was an encouragement with a full house and I spoke to them on Isaiah 55. After that I popped in on elders training and there was a discussion on the Civil Magistrate and Divorce, the men are making good progress through the Westminster Confession. Chris Roberts was back from Aberdeen so he led and I preached on Isaiah 55. People listened and I was really thrilled that some work colleagues of one of our members were there. We didn’t have any folk back in the afternoon because I wasn’t done for the evening sermon. It’s a strange thing that you can get into terrible habits, I’m in one at the moment of finishing off the evening service on Sunday afternoon. I was preaching on Justification at night and I had good material but was slightly dull. We had a couple back after the service so it felt a pretty full day.

Day 190

Day 190 – Sat 11 Mar – We had a morning with the brothers in law before going to the Duke of Kent for lunch. If I keep eating out at this rate I will be both obese and broke before long. In the afternoon we just chilled, I took kids to the park. Thankfully I didn’t watch England wallop Scotland. In the evening I visited Graham who is still in Northwick Park, we had a lovely hour together and he’s good for me.