Well to say this has been a few weeks like no other I’ve known is an understatement! We are all in the same boat on choppy waters trying to adjust to the new and ever-changing landscape of our society.
A sign of this new scenery was the launch of our new
Sunday Digital gathering online which was another first. If you missed it you can catch up anytime on our YouTube channel, Revelation Family Church. Be sure to subscribe to the channel as this will be our platform for Sundays in the coming weeks and months. Youth and Children teams are also running separate YouTube channels now with lots of content going up regularly. 
 
The gravity of what we are facing became even more real last night with society at large being told to stay at home with very few exceptions. Nationally the infection rate of Covid-19 has started to climb fast along with the mortality rate. I am aware of a growing number of families within the church who have gone into self-isolation either due to being in the ‘at risk’ categories, or because members of the household have shown some of the symptoms. This is a challenging and worrying time but this is where Father loves to meet us with his arms wide open. Matthew 11:28-30 spells this out. Have a read of this passage, pause and lay it all at his feet and ask for his help and guidance. 
 
More than ever we and our society, need the love and care of Father God. People are asking questions of life they were not just a week ago and this is borne out in the fact that we had 400 views of the Sunday Digital in the first 48 hours of it being up online. I feel there is a huge window opening for the Gospel in this time. Let’s invite friends to our Online Church gatherings and share our hope and faith in Christ and see how he works this all out to his good.
 
Please stay safe by following the government guidelines. Please also pray for the medics, Foodbank and HEART teams and all key workers on the front lines today. 

Much Love,

Dan
On behalf of the Leaders team

This last couple of weeks has seen some different trades people start for the first fix phase for trades, including electrical and plumbing.

Planning

Our Non-Material Amendment to Chichester District Council is now submitted for consideration. As a reminder this is for some very minor changes to the doors and glazing at the front of the building. We have been informed that should hear back from the council officers regarding our submission by the end of October.

Finishing

Our wonderful Building Team are now focusing on all the finishes around the different parts of the building. This includes doors, flooring, wall colours etc. This is both exciting and encouraging as it shows the progress being made at the end of our twelfth week of work.

Next steps

The first coats of paint will start in some of the main spaces next week and the air handling units are due to arrive in the next two weeks. The structure and platform for these large units is being built into a space in the roof.

 

We are really looking forward to having guest worship leader Steph Macleod at our morning gathering on Sunday 21stOctober. Steph travels up and down the UK leading worship and it is all driven from an incredible life story.

Speaking of the inspiration behind his song When I Found Jesus on his YouTube channel, he said,

“This song is my testimony in a nutshell. Even when I was homeless, living on the streets of Edinburgh, and fighting alcohol and drug addiction, Jesus spoke to me; a nobody; a down and out on death’s doorstep. Even when I was broken beyond measure, and had nothing but my name and the clothes on my back, He spoke to me. He showed me I didn’t need to live that life filled with death anymore, and by following Him I would live the life I was intended to; a life worth living. That was nearly 6 years ago now. I’ve never looked back. I am alive in Him, and I know life in all its fulness! If Jesus can do that in my life, I’d love to see what He’d do in yours! The Bethany Christian Trust is a homeless charity in Edinburgh that do incredible work that get results. They helped me to get back on my feet through the tough times. If you want to know more about homelessness in Scotland, want to help raise awareness and help support this award winning charity, have a look at their website for more info: http://www.bethanychristiantrust.com/

 

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.

Dan Slatter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“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.

 

 Dan

 

 

 

Fostering- Give a local child a family.
 
There is a great need for more Foster Carers for children and young people in our local community. The Church in the city could be the solution to getting every child and young person in the area growing up in a loving family environment!
 
West Sussex County Council will be visiting our friends at Grace Church on Wednesday 4th February to provide an information evening for those who are in churches and faith groups and would like to know how they are able to help.
 
Come to have your questions answered and to find out if you have the kills needed to support a local child:
 
Discover what being a Foster Carer involves.
Learn more about the approval process.
Talk to staff from West Sussex County Council 
 
Wednesday 4th February, 7.30pm until 9pm
The Grace Centre, Plot 12  Terminus Road, Chichester, PO19 8TX.

 

 

I read last week online that the Statue of Liberty in New York is struck by lightning 600 times a year. For those not so hot at mental arithmetic (like me) that is nearly 12 strikes a week! I was so surprised I decided to invest another 2 minutes online research! This revealed a lower yet still surprising estimate of 3 strikes a week. Either way this is a lot more than I suspected. I knew it would be susceptible but I would have guessed once or twice a year!

The reason for this prolific strike rate is obvious if you think about it. The first and main reason is simply how it was made. Its very structure is the metal copper that gives it a distinct green look. Secondly, its size and finally its posture.

God used this simple fact to speak to me as I pondered this. My reflections and conversation with God went like this…..

Father God is desperate to connect us. It’s in the very way he made us to be. God’s eyes are focused on us. His gaze is upon and love is for all of us through Jesus Christ. John in the New Testament describes us not just as something the Father has affection for but that we are his children. As both a dad and a son I know some of what a huge statement this is. We are giants in his sight.

God made us to regularly connect with him like the lightning with the Statue of Liberty because of how he made us and our stature in his sight.

So what about our posture and position? Well the first two parts of this metaphor are not about us. They are about how we are made and how we are seen, neither of which we have control over. However, we are in control of our posture. What posture will you choose to adopt this year, which will allow Father God to connect with you daily? Is your heart, mind and body open to him? I find that my conscious body posture often opens the door for my heart and mind to follow suit.

 

I was staggered and shocked to read recently online that the biggest airport in Venezuela has started to levy a fee to have the right to breathe clean air. Now we are all used to paying taxes and sometimes for odd things, but Maiquetia International Airport in Caracas has taken this a step further! Passengers flying out now have to pay 127 bolivars tax (£12) for the very air they breathe.

This is to cover the cost of a newly installed system that uses ozone to purify the building’s air conditioning system. It has been received with an equal mixture of anger and amusement. Breathing air is an essential element to sustaining life for humankind. The thought of someone owning the air in the atmosphere is crazy at best.

As I read this report, the prophetic vision of Ezekiel sprang to mind, as recorded in the Bible in chapter 37 of the book recording his God story, thoughts and visions;

 “Then skin formed to cover their bodies, but they still had no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.’ So I spoke the message as he commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army.” Ezekiel 37:8-10

It is Father God whose breath breathes life into our lives. Two billion followers of Christ around the globe would testify to God’s breath on our lives being the real deal. His breath comes into our lives and we truly live again. It is pure air and way more life giving and transforming than any flashy, state of the art filter system. More than that though, is that there is no cost attached; in fact, he is pursuing you, wanting to give it to all. Allow his breath to fill your bones today. Come alive and stand to your feet. This is his promise for you. 

I read a shocking story this week online of a man called Nathaniel Bolwell who was more than alarmed when he saw his bank account balance. It was overdrawn by a mere £179,000 when he was expecting it to be in credit by £400! He innocently ordered a pizza for delivery and paid with a debit card. Domino’s proceeded to draw £179,923.32 from his account instead of the £17.99 it should have been.  What was even more surprising was that the bank authorized the payment! Thankfully Lloyds and Domino’s got together and put it right within two days. He even received £100 by way of apology.

 

In a few weeks time, as we continue through ‘The Red Letters’ theme in Matthew’s account of Jesus’ life, we step through some difficult sections on the journey. There are parts that make for uncomfortable reading as it disturbs our western desires of an easy, peaceful life.  In Matthew 8 Jesus reminds us that there is a large cost attached to being a follower of Christ. As disciples we should not be surprised, unlike Nathaniel.

 

 

 

Like many followers of Jesus I often do battle and wrestle with the ungodly aspects of my life. Usually these matchups are little old me trying to get a giant pinned to the floor and submit. This used to be a huge focus for me as I sought to be more like Christ. Often I would momentarily glace at the smaller issues and quickly return my sights to the bigger battles. The smaller annoying things seemed to not offer enough win for the contest that was needed. So all my energies went to the grudge matches with the giants.

I recently read an article online about Sir Dave Brailsford, which made me readjust my sights somewhat. Sir Dave (love that title and name combo btw) is the former Director of British Cycling and current manager of Team Sky. Sir Dave has been instrumental in the rise of British cycling’s world domination over the past 5 years.

He oversaw team GB as they bagged 8 Gold medals at the Bejing 2008 games. He continued in his role at London 2012 where Team GB took 12 medals in the London Velopark and on the roads of the capital. This was an impressive doubling of the number of medals secured by the second placed Team Germany.

Sir Dave in 2010 stepped into the management role of the newly formed British based professional cycling team Sky. He oversaw the new team in its quick rise to the top of professional cycling. The pinnacle of this so far has seen Team Sky secure back-to-back Tour de France victories in the last two years with Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome.

My errant assumption was that his success was down to huge leaps in sport science, psychology and technology. I was truly mistaken. Of course they seek developments in these key big areas along with all their rivals. They started by optimizing the things you might expect: the nutrition of riders, their weekly training program, the ergonomics of the bike seat, and the weight of the tires.

However, Sir Dave has taken on a different strategy of trying to accrue as many small improvements of 1% as possible, which inevitably add up to more significant overall gains. He says,

 “The whole principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improved it by 1%, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together.”

But Brailsford and his team didn’t stop there with the obvious areas of development. They searched for 1 percent improvements in tiny areas that were overlooked by almost everyone else: discovering the pillow that offered the best sleep and taking it with them to hotels, testing for the most effective type of massage gel, and teaching riders the best way to wash their hands to avoid infection. They searched for 1 percent improvements everywhere.

Brailsford believed that if they could successfully execute this strategy, then Team Sky would be in a position to win the Tour de France in five years time. He was wrong. They won it in three years.

Everything I choose, even the small little things, can create the possibility to bring gains in the Kingdom of Heaven. Just because they are small does not mean they are insignificant or irrelevant. If you do not believe me ask Sir Dave!