If you have been in church as long as I have you may remember singing that very simple song,
Jesus loves me this I know
for the bible tells me so
little ones to Him belong
they are weak but he is strong.
When people used to ask Karl Barth, a formidable thinker and perhaps the foremost theologian of the twentieth century, to summarise his life’s work (which was prodigious), he would quote the first two lines of the song, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the bible tells me so”.
So simple yet so profound. The one thing we need to know and the way we know it.
We need to know that we are loved – not in a sentimental or romantic way (although that’s nice) but in a deep, life-changing way. The love of a parent for a child, of a captain for his team, of a general for his troops. A sacrificial, serving, challenging and demanding love.
And the bible is our source. We go to Youtube for a demonstration on how to change a guitar string or bake a cake. We go to Wikipedia for information about who won the FA cup in 1970 or to find out the population of Leeds. We go to the Bible to find out about God and His mission to us.
Jesus loves me, this I know, for the bible tells me so.
We love to worship to simple songs in the Vineyard. There’s nothing wrong with the theological treatises of some old hymns – they are really valuable – but when it comes down to it, we value unpretentious worship music that gives Jesus His rightful place and opens our hearts to receive His love.
I’m looking forward to hearing the new songs that will emerge from the next song-writing collective. I know that God will speak to us and minister to us through songs written by us, for us and in our time.
We are looking forward to starting weekly worship at seven this coming Sunday evening (the team have been meeting for the last three weeks for training and planning and we are raring to go!).
The following week many of us are going to the National Leaders’ Conference and looking forward to hearing Jay Pathak, Steve Nicholson, Mike Pilavachi, John and Debby and John and Eleanor as well as joining in with a thousand leaders from around the UK Vineyard as we celebrate and worship and catch up with old friends. If you can’t come you can follow it on line.
And by the time we get back we will be into the run up to the Doing the Stuff conference on 13/14 March with Robby Dawkins (which will be the biggest thing the Vineyard have done in the North for a couple of decades). At the time of writing a quarter of the tickets have been sold already. Do everything you can to be there, it will be both challenging and really useful. If you would like to help on the team please contact Anne Button asap.
In the meantime Alison and I have a great bunch of people doing Discovering Vineyard with us and we love meeting new people each month at the Welcome Supper (next one on Monday 2 February).
Pope Francis recently tweeted, “The family is the greatest treasure of any country. Let us all work to protect and strengthen this, the cornerstone of society”. Some are raising a family on their own – which is a real challenge. Others are married and that has its own challenges. I strongly recommend those of you who are married to invest in your marriage carefully and consistently. And one of the best ways of doing that is to make the time to attend our Marriage Course. The next one starts on 2 February so check it out now!
Here is what Dave & Sue Richardson had to say about the last one, “We thoroughly recommend the marriage course – we went thinking we probably wouldn’t be told anything we didn’t already know, that we would find it embarrassing talking in front of other couples and that it would be rather dull - so let’s just go and get it over with. We were very wrong on ALL counts. Firstly, the DVD’s and booklets that you complete together are full of ‘nuggets of gold’ that really make us think about how we treat each other and how important it is to work at and highly value our marriage. We did not discuss anything with anyone else – it was all discreet and we just talked to each other about each other! We watched the DVD each week and then split into our couples to discuss the topic. We found the atmosphere so relaxing and comfortable it was almost like going out on a date! We can honestly say that completing the course has re-focused our relationship back onto seeing marriage as a blessing to be cherished and worked on everyday rather than just taking it for granted – We are so glad we did the course it has reminded us how important we are to each other and just how much God has done in our lives up until now - as well as all He has for us both in the years to come.”
The next Alpha starts on Tuesday 10 February – please pray about who you could invite to take on the course.
Last Sunday I spoke about whether or not God speaks today. Does he get involved our lives at all? The podcast and text are in Resources on the website. Next Sunday Kate is teaching about how to know when there is an opportunity to Do the Stuff and how to get started in praying for people. We will also share communion together as a church family.