Saturday saw our core team and their families get together for a belated US Thanksgiving meal. One thing I like about this holiday celebration is that it allows us to reflect on the good things in life and express our gratitude for them without being overtly religious. Anyone can think of somethings they are thankful for and most, even non-Christians, can identify someone they are thankful to for them.
For one family, it was the first time they had met the others in the core team, and it all seemed to go well. Lots of turkey, stuffing, sweet potato and trimmings and plenty of desserts to go round! The next step is to get them together regularly after Christmas and start praying and listening to God about how to proceed.
Since my last update I’ve also had the chance to preach at a couple of local churches (it was a bit of a shock to find myself preaching two weeks in a row – first time for many months!). One of the churches was the local baptist church whose minister is also a Pioneer minister nearby. It is important that we work out how to work together so we are not duplicating or competing in the same geographical area.
Last Sunday (Advent Sunday) I spoke at an ecumenical service for Advent when all the local churches in the village got together. My text was Isaiah 40:1-5 focusing on the phrase ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’. Just as the exiled Jews prepared themselves by returning to God and getting ready to return to Jerusalem to rebuild it and rebuild the temple, also at the time of John the Baptist people prepared by repenting – reorienting their lives back to God – so we are to prepare through advent for Christ’s return by living in a constant state of repentance – lives turned away from our own desires to Christ’s ways. We are to prepare others also. That means telling them of the truth of the gospel and demonstrating God’s love in culturally appropriate ways.
I then returned home from that service and got a nasty flu bug which I promptly passed onto my wife, son, his nanny and her husband. We’re all just recovering now!