During the Autumn we had many prophetic words. It feels like an important time for us.
These words include promises of what God will do and the impact we will have. However, as leaders we feel the key word for the year is “strengthening the body”. The prophetic word said that the arms of our body are strong, (we feel they represent the work we our doing reaching out to the community through Open House and 4pm service, and building friendship with Muslims through Holiday Club and in other ways) so need to focus on building the body as the arms cannot function without a strong body. The body is currently weaker than the arms.
This word, and others were shared at our half night of prayer and another word came, inspired by a song, that new wine is produced by crushing. That strengthening, new wine may require crushing. You can listen to the song:
This and subsequent blogs and sermons will seek to explore how the body can be strengthened.
There are different elements of strengthening, as individuals but also as a church family.
We are reviewing our structures, our organisation to strengthen them. Over the year we will be giving more information on this.
We also need to grow as individuals within the church.
The Parable of the talents or bags of gold, Matthew 25:14-30, describes servants being given 5, 3 and 1 bags of gold. Those with the 5 and 3 bags invested the gold to produce more, the person with 1 buried it to keep it safe. Those who invested their money were commended, the person who buried the money was condemned.
The important and relevant truths from this parable are –
It is not about how big we are, how much you have, what is important is what we do with what we are given. Human instinct causes the person with 3 bags from God to feel bad compared to 5 bag people but superior to the person with just 1 bag. We look at the gifting of others and ask, why didn’t you give me the gifts like….. Similarly, we can look at other churches in other towns or nations that maybe richer, full of people with greater gifts and complain to God why don’t you give us what you have given them?
The parable says it not about how much you have been given; God holds you responsible for what you do with what he has given you.
In the context of strengthening the body we need to take responsibility for strengthening ourselves, growing ourselves, allowing God to turn us into wine. Whoever you are, whatever gift we have been given.
This is true for individuals as well as corporately.
Example of how we can take responsibility to strengthen ourselves amid challenges.
A Kairos moment is when something significant happens in your life, maybe a crushing like in the song or maybe just general circumstances. Taking responsibility, being strengthened through the event depends on how we respond to it. This picture gives a healthy way to respond and grow. –
Observe (describe the moment)
Reflect (what went on in you – thoughts, feelings, choices) Importance of understanding feelings. Many different feelings – anger, sadness, fear, enjoyment, love, surprise, disgust, shame.
So easy to ignore them – especially those we consider more difficult, fear, sadness, anger. Yet God speaks to us through our feelings. Understood properly, it is part of us taking responsibility for strengthening ourselves. God “feels” – our feelings are part of being made in the image of God.
Discuss (talk with someone about your reflections, talk about what could change for the future, what can you learn about God, the world and yourself)
Plan (think of a simple achievable step(s) you can carry out in the next week – you will be surprised about how much change can happen with a series of small steps.)
Account (ask someone you trust to hold you accountable to what you have planned.) THEN ACT.
Below is a sermon that expands on the thoughts in this blog.
Written by Tony Thompson