Dan heads up the Leaders Team at Revelation Family Church
As you may recall a group of eight friends from Revelation Family Church went to Mumbai, India last summer. We had an amazing time together exploring one of the most densely populated cities on our planet. One in every 250 people alive today on the planet lives in Mumbai! It is the 5thmost populated city on the planet.
One of the highlights for me during those ten days was spending time in the Malvani District of Mumbai. We got to visit a group of schools educating thousands of children from the slums. Another highlight was joining Covenant Blessing Church for a couple of Sundays to worship during our stay. The church is a truly inspiring place to be.
Pastor Basil and Cathy D’Souza are currently on a break in the UK and we are thrilled that they are very briefly passing through Chichester to say hello. If you wish to meet them we would encourage you to come to our Evening Gathering this Sunday 20thMay, 6.30pm at the Family Centre. They are amazing people living in an amazing place doing amazing things to help people trapped in extreme poverty, and there is no doubt that you will be inspired by them.
This Sunday 13th May 2018 is 'National Walk to Church Sunday.' As followers of Christ there is a strong mandate on us all to care for our beautiful God-given environment that we live in. Maybe you walk occasionally or maybe you have never tried it before. Either way our challenge to you is to give it a go this Sunday at the morning or evening gathering. At this stage we are also able to offer lovely weather! It will be 14 degrees with sunny intervals. If you are travelling from further a field to join us maybe you could 'park and stride’ the last mile.
Early in 2017 we tried something we had never done before as a whole church family when we journeyed together through all 260 chapters found in the New Testament in sixty days (NT60). It was one of my personal highlights from the church family last year. I loved seeing everyone from young and old and even whole families exploring and listening together to the scriptures.
We are planning to run NT60 this year for the church family again, just after the ‘Woven Cord’ series of Easter. As we did last year we will be providing a planner for the journey and age appropriate resources and guides. We launch on Sunday 15th April and celebrate and conclude our season on Sunday 17th June.
This year in a new twist we will also be setting our Sunday teaching programme at both morning and evening to be in sync with NT60 journey of the week. As there is so much to feast on in the nearly 8,000 verses of the New Testament we are going to take a different passage from the weeks readings at the morning and evening gatherings to create maximum space. Again this is a first for us as the gathering on the whole run the same teaching programmes.
It will be a season of feasting on what God has spoken and speaks to us through his Word. If you joined us last year we invite you again to join us. If you did not we want to encourage you to do so as it will fill you to overflowing. Setting aside 30mins a day to read the Bible and listen for 60 days will change your life.
"Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time."
James 4: 6 The Message
As we open the door and embrace 2018 we welcome new opportunities that the new year and its fresh start affords us. One thing we are certain of is that, whatever 2018 holds, Father God is with us, mountain high or valley low. The Bible is full of God's promises to all of humanity and the entirety of his creation but we find a promise in the letter from James in the New Testament that we want to draw your attention to through 2018. James 4:6 says that as we take steps to draw close to God, He will draw near to us. It is a heaven-made guarantee that, as we 'lean in' to Father God, he will be close to us.
As you will note from James this incredible offer of intimacy between humanity and God is an intentional act that also requires our initiation. We get to activate God's closeness to us by simply setting our focus on him. As we approach He notes our movement and comes running to us.
Over the last year as a Leaders Team, we have made an obvious but radical decision to focus our time and work first by drawing close to God. It has inevitably had a knock on with how we do things requiring reprioritisation. The change has been tangible and hugely beneficial as Father God's economy kicks in. This was the way we have approached pursuing other more permanent building options for the church with a time of listening before any action was taken. The Quaker tradition frame this sort of discernment process as leaders in this way; 'a meeting for worship where business is conducted.’
We are keen to encourage this re-ordering across the whole church family in 2018. There will be an opportunity to do this together as we run 24-7 Prayer Spaces, Biblical Reflection Groups, and NT60 launching again after Easter. As much as we do things together we also need to be a people that 'lean in' to his presence in private and then everything else will find its right place and be well.