Love One Another and Remember the Poor
After a slightly frenetic few weeks leading up to the Doing the Stuff conference - and then the Easter holidays - things have settled down a little in the life of the church. Having said that, there’s plenty to pre-occupy us – whether it is marriage preparations (Mary & Becks – this Saturday!), planning your holidays or grappling with exams.
Please keep on taking risks and looking for opportunities to pray for the sick and to share your faith. And please let me know how you are getting on. We love to hear your stories – the ones where you see God at work in other people in amazing ways, and the ones where you don’t but you know you have been obedient.
Let’s look ahead. What’s emerging in the life of the church in coming months?
We’ve just finished a series entitled “What is church?” on Sundays and in housegroups. You can download all the talks and podcasts here. One thing we learnt was that “Church” includes being family. So whilst some amongst us are celebrating new life and others are struggling with illness and over-busyness, together we share the joy and the pain.
The Leadership Group have been giving this a lot of thought recently and over the summer we’ll be introducing some new ideas as to how we can do life together, how to love one another, in ways which retain our focus on discipleship but which make it simpler to integrate it with our daily life.
Alison shared a great quote from Dallas Willard on Sunday, "There's nothing wrong with the church that a clear minded, resolute application of discipleship to Jesus would not cure".
The “Church” is also a people who “remember the poor” (Galatians 2:10). At Leeds Vineyard we reach out to the poor in many ways, perhaps most significantly through the Vine (be inspired by reading the latest Vine newsletter here). However, God is prompting us to move our compassion ministry – the work we do with the poor – more central to the life of the church and to make it more accessible to everyone. So you can expect to see a major shift in the way we do this and in the role of the Vine during the next year.
On the next two Sundays Ben, and then I, will be teaching about politics! About voting, making up your mind, our role in the political life of the country and what the bible says about it all.
Please help me out here! A couple of weeks ago I invited you to drop me a note - if you had made up your mind how you were going to vote (or not) and to share with me your reasons for coming to that conclusion. I received some fascinating replies (thank you to those of you who did reply) – but none from anyone under the age of 40 and only one from a woman! That is interesting in itself but is not representative. Here’s a plea to those of you under 40 (which is most of you) and the women (which is half of you): please take 10 minutes to write to me with your thoughts. They will remain entirely confidential of course! But I am trying to understand what people in the church are thinking.
After the election we have our annual Pie Chart Sunday, followed by a few weeks’ study in Romans and then a series called, “Lifecraft from God” in which we will be mining the book of Proverbs for wisdom about life: making wise choices, handling money, dealing with conflict in relationships, planning ahead, coping with stress, working well etc. If you read one chapter of Proverbs each day from now on you will get through it well before our first talk on 7 June.
If you like reading novels, and if they don’t have to be a page-turner with cliff-hanging plots, I commend Marilynn Robinson’s Gilead trilogy to you (Gilead, Home, Lila). Beautifully written and poignant they examine life within a “preacher-family” in 1950s post-depression USA. Some theology interweaved with delicately painful characters and acutely observed family relationships.