(Taken from Feltham Evangelical Church Newsletter of January 2004)
As the new year dawns it is a time, as a church, to look back and to look forward. Looking back we see what God has done and give Him thanks. Looking forward we commit ourselves to the LORD with a desire to see His Name honoured and glorified among us.
As we look back we can raise our Ebenezer and confess that “Thus far has the LORD helped us” (1 Sam 7:12). We can remind ourselves of all the LORD’S goodness to us. It is so easy to be despondent on account of the apathy that we see around us towards the things of our God. And yet we are reminded that it is a good thing to give thanks to the LORD. We should long for so much more in our church life, and yet:-
- The faithful preaching that we hear week by week.
- The love that there is among us.
- The good number of children who come to Lighthouse.
- The faithful service of different ones.
- The regular contact with a number (if only a small number) of outsiders.
- The preservation of the building.
Are just a few of the issues we can bring into our prayers and say “thank you LORD”.
However, we need to look ahead, but what should we be looking for in the year ahead? Above all, we suggest, that we must be looking for the LORD to find pleasure in us (remarkable as such a concept might be when we consider our essential sinfulness). We should long that His Name should be honoured in our midst. So we do not go ahead looking for new gimmicks to enliven our affairs, but for transformed lives which indicate that God is having dealings with us. But can we be more specific about our goals? Accordingly, let us put some specifics forward for you:-
- The Word of God to be preached faithfully, and in the power of the Holy Spirit.
- That we would be a praying church. Praying for His will to be done; crying to Him in all our needs.
- Growth in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18a) amongst those who are Christians, so that the Holy Spirit would not grieve over our lives.
- The celebration of the Lord’s Supper together becoming more and more special as we set our hearts on our Saviour in all of His worth and remember His achievements for us.
- Salvation to be found among those still not believing. Let us pray for clear conversions so that we truly know that lives have been brought from darkness to light.
- It would be so good to see baptisms among us as people openly confess their faith in the LORD Jesus.
- Growth in membership; both in terms of numbers and in terms of spirituality.
- Fellowship which is deepening as we share together spiritually and practically.
- Resolving of issues appertaining to the eldership/pastorate.
- The Lord supplying us with gifts to be used for His glory among us.
- A greater desire to study and live by God’s Word.
As we mention these things we have the overarching desire that the LORD would be “No 1in all things” in this church. To this end we are due to start the year with a week particularly giving ourselves to prayer (which should of course be mingled with our thanksgivings). One of the prayer meetings is in the morning for those who cannot make it in the evening. It would be good to come together and have fellowship in prayer concerning the Lord’s cause her on Manor Lane. Please come; you never now what benefit might come from you being there.
So as we look ahead we do not know what might transpire given we live in an uncertain world. But we do know all is well with our God and we can trust Him.
We conclude desiring that we would know the LORD’S goodness in the year ahead. And if there are things which concern you in the church then please do not hesitate to speak to us.