Nigel’s Letter September/October 2018
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
A few weeks ago our mid-week service at Stand was led by Lesley Saunders an Elder at Farnworth URC.
It coincided with a week which for me had been, demanding and quite stressful in many ways. I had found it difficult to prioritise my time. Everything seemed to require an immediate response. I had challenged a couple of issues and found myself quite isolated in my views and I had been openly criticised for something that was not my fault.
I am sure you can all identify with those times in your lives when energy levels drop and hope fades a little, then God blesses you in a wonderful and surprising way.
Lesley spoke about encouragement, the need for it and it brought clarity and renewed energy for me. I felt truly blessed.
We live in a broken world and where encouragement is absent from the life of the church, people will feel unloved, unimportant and forgotten. God commands us to encourage one another. Christian encouragement is shared with the hopes that it will lift our hearts towards the God who loves us. The New Testament reveals that encouragement was a regular part of the life of the early church. They shared the scriptures together to encourage and build one another up.
In the four and half years of my ministry with you we have faced many challenges and continue to do so. In the busyness of our lives let us find the time to offer one another the encouragement that lifts out hearts to the God who loves us in Jesus Christ.
In that encouragement we will find renewed strength for our faith journeys; energy for the road we are travelling and blessings in our shared life together as communities of faith.
So let us pause to offer encouragement to one another, that leads to hope filled communities honouring God, loving the Lord Jesus Christ and transforming the world in small ways. This enables us to glimpse the glory of God at work. God calls us to join Him in mission to our communities and in love for one another. Where lives are changed, hearts are filled with hope and joy, where new life will continue to emerge for us blessed by the God we seek to serve.
May God bless each and every one of us now and always.