Kia ora All Saints Whanau.
I (Guy) have been catching up with many people from throughout the parish over the last wee while, and there is a real sense that there is an increase in the seeking of spirituality amongst people in the community. The way that people find faith coming up in conversations over and over again, the way that people are surprised by the way faith is coming up amongst their friend group, and the ease at which it is coming up is surprising and exciting for people.
1 Peter 3: 15 says this, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…”
How powerful is this! Are we ready to talk about the hope in Christ that we have?
One of the reasons for us diving into a series around the Gospel in Life is that we are acutely aware that this can be a confronting situation for people when friends or family, workmates, or neighbors ask us about the thing we believe in. It's one thing for us to believe it and express it amongst others who believe similarly. But another thing altogether when asked to express it to someone who isn’t so convinced. Our hope and prayer is that Christ will renew our hearts for the gospel through this series. That as a congregation, we can search not only our own lives with how this news impacts us but how this impacts those around us.
Last week we discussed the Gospel and City, framing things up with the lens of the Israelites and Babylon. God called Israel to love the city and help it to prosper because when it prosers, they too will prosper, but to remain strong in the Lord and avoid succumbing to pagan values or closing their eyes to the wickedness around them. So to is said of the same, Let us seek the peace and prosperity of our city but remain in our distinct spiritual character, not succumbing to the wickedness and values of the secular society around us! Holding up Christ as the great satisfaction of the great game of spiritual seeking and finding people are doing.
This week, Summer will preach at both Central Gatherings, looking at the Gospel in Heart. If you missed week one click here to watch, I highly recommend you watch each week as they will build on each other.
We are excited about what is happening around us. One thing that is encouraging is when we read and hear testimonies of God moving amongst us. We would love to hear from you if you have had a faith conversation or seen God move around you.
Please email us by clicking here and let us know. No matter how big or small, successful or complete failure (in our own eyes) it all helps us walk this journey together.
I want to give you a word of encouragement from my experience over the last week. I have been trying to find places to lean into conversation where people are scratching at faith. Places where I might typically skim over it or say something like “Oh yea yeah I agree,” and just move on.
There have been a couple of times this week when I have surprised myself by finding these moments. But I am also aware of my feebleness once I'm in them. Unsure of the words to say, how to steer the conversation etc etc. But I walk away with a sense that God was present. Hopeful of more conversations to come, excited for relationship and trust built amongst those places of wondering.
I just want to acknowledge you all and the places you roam, and be another friend walking the road with you as we recognize our own feebleness and inability to have it all together. Keep walking it out, Look for God in small moments, and Keep praying and encouraging each other.
With so much love and aroha,