Are You Ready for HS2 and ww@7?
Are you ready for the arrival of HS2? You know, the train link that brings London to Leeds in 20 nanoseconds. It’s been promised for a while and there’s an awful lot of work going on to start the building projects. But are you holding your breath with excitement? Are you already living in the expectation of the transformation it is going to make to your life? Are you taking steps to get ready? Unless you work for Hitachi, the Japanese Engineering giant (they’ve moved their rail division's decision-making hub to Britain in anticipation of HS2), my guess is, probably not. Why? It’s too uncertain, too far in the future, too distant from your day to day life.
Are you ready for Santa Claus? He’ll be dropping down a chimney near you in 16 days’ time! Many people are getting excited about Christmas, thinking about what it is going to be like and making plans to try and get ready. Why? Because, unlike HS2, it is definitely happening, all too soon and is very much a part of your life.
As I’ve been preparing to preach during Advent, I have been pondering the 1st advent theme – the Second Coming of Jesus. And I’ve been challenged. My professional career has been spent in Financial Planning – and I have spent most of my working life helping people get ready for future events. And I’ve realised that I don’t put anywhere near the same amount of diligence into preparing for the most significant future event in the cosmos – the Second Coming. Why? Because I park it way out in the future, quite possibly after I have died and almost certainly after HS2 has been completed. I forget that it could happen today, now, whilst I am typing this blog. Actually, I might never finish this sente….
Also, most of the time I just take Jesus’ presence in my life for granted. O forget what an awesome thing it is to have His Holy Spirit in me, encouraging me, speaking to me, empowering me, directing me. I lose some of the immediacy of the imminent presence of God and the mind-bending transformation that is going to take place one day, maybe very soon.
So I have been enjoying listening once again to Bob Dylan’s “Are You Ready” (from Saved – one of my favourite Dylan albums). Hard hitting words, “Are you ready to meet Jesus? Are you where you ought to be?”
This Christmas I encourage you to invest some time in preparing to meet Jesus – certainly as an infant in the nativity story but also - as the lightning crackles from North to South - as the revealed King of kings.
Marantha, come Lord Jesus.
Consecrating - to – galvanising – ww@7
Unless the Lord returns beforehand we are getting galvanised for a new project in January – weekly worship at seven (ww@7). Last January we retreated into the Bunker and ask the Lord to consecrate us. Many of you have shared with me about how He has done significant work in your lives as we have sought to retrieve the balance between resting in His presence and being sent out to do His work. We uncoupled quite a few carriages from the train, we pressed down hard on our use of money.
Back in the summer I felt the Lord say that it was time to start an evening service. Last Sunday evening was a glimpse of what that could be like as we gathered together with many, many guests and visitors for our carol service. It was fantastic – particularly to stand across the road and see the church lighting up Headingley, with people flocking in. BIG thanks to the many people who worked so, so hard to pull it together. It really was worth it!
So we are launching “weekly worship at seven” on Sunday 25 January. It will be at seven pm (duh) for an hour and half or so. The content will be similar to the morning (worship, teaching, prayer ministry) but with more space and time. We are in the process of planning the 1st few months and if you would like to be involved, please let me know. On the first three Sunday evenings in January the team for the evening service will be meeting at HMC for planning, training and prayer as we “get ready”. So please put those dates in your diary if you would like to be involved.
As I think about what this could look like (and last Sunday evening’s carol service gave us a clue) my expectation rises: light spilling out into a dark place (naturally and supernaturally); people out in the Headingley evening being drawn to the presence of God; the young people finding a place to serve, worship and hang out with their immediate elders; students finding a welcoming and accessible place for themselves and their friends; hard-serving leaders from the morning given a place for rest and restoration; others able to serve and find their way to worship and learn at a time that suits them better; many, many people stepping out into the local cafes and pubs talking of what God has done in revelation and healing.
With these expectations grows excitement. Yes! This is something we know we are called to and now is the time. It’s part of making Headingley our Home and our Hub.
There are some other exciting events on our calendar:
(1) the Family Christmas Service on Sunday morning 21 December at Headingley Methodist Church. This will be a colourful, fun-filled celebration of the Coming of the King - for all ages. Please invite friends and family (especially those with children).
(2) The Healing on the Streets team will be praying for people opposite HMC this coming Saturday morning. If you would like to stretch your faith and your practice, this is a great way to do it. But please don’t just turn up – call Jerry and Pauline Wild beforehand so they know numbers etc). They host a preparation and prayer meeting on Wednesday evening at their home. All welcome.
Peace and Joy