As the first newsletter writer of 2019, I wish you all a very happy and blessed New Year hoping that, at the end of it, we can all look back and thank God for the ways He has blessed and guided us.
What blessing are you hoping for? “Some political stability would be nice” I hear you reply. I must be careful here – the rules – written by myself, as church warden some years ago, say the aim of these newsletter articles is to be informative, encouraging, interesting and uplifting whilst avoiding the libellous … or courting controversy. A full discussion of my views on Brexit will therefore not meet the guidelines. Not that things were any easier politically in Jesus’ day – far from it. King Herod wanted – so he said – to learn from the wise men where Jesus was born – so that “he too could go and worship Him.” (Matt.2:8). It was not true of course. He had heard the rumour that Jesus was born King of the Jews – a job he thought was his for life. Kill off Jesus and he could continue in his preferred occupation. No wonder Mary and Joseph took Jesus to Egypt until Herod was dead.
But for the wise men it truly was different. They had every reason not to worship Jesus, yet they did. They were born Gentiles, lived far away and lacked the sophisticated GPS needed for the journey but God provided a star for them to follow. It worked perfectly. Their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh pointing to Jesus’ Kingship, His divinity and His sacrificial death.
They had great joy in finding the child Jesus whom they sought and in worshipping Him, giving Him the very best they had to offer. Each of us has a different calling. On Thursday, Ben Biscoe travelled further than the wise men. He left for Los Angeles on a sixmonth church-planting training trip – working with Christian leaders whom he has known for years and from whom he wants to learn. I pray there will be joy as individuals meet their Saviour for the first time. We can help by supporting Ben financially – he needs about £10,000 and less than half of that has so far been given. Contact Debbie Winson if you want more information. Whatever it is that God calls us to this year, whether in distant LA or perhaps just next door, may our greatest New Year’s blessing be to find it and there offer our gifts to Him.