April Newsletter

April 3, 2019

From the pastor’s pen: Grace is like autocorrect!

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself texting in a particularly hectic moment – it was just one of those days with not enough hours! Consequently, my typing was quite hurried and full of mistakes, pressing E instead of R, B instead of Space etc. In my mind I was expecting what I typed to make no sense at all, but the autocorrect on my phone kicked in and did that exactly as advertised – it automatically corrected my poor typed words into a sentence that made perfect sense!

 

As with anyone familiar with smartphones, the occurrence did not take me by any surprise. What did surprise me, though, was to feel the Holy Spirit giving me a nudge in that moment and saying – “That’s like my grace”. I was literally stopped into my tracks, momentarily forgetting all the tasks that were demanding my attention. For the next few moments, my mind went back to both my theological understanding of grace and my experience of grace and I was blown away by the realisation that Yes, God’s grace is indeed like autocorrect! Let me explain…

 

From a Biblical perspective, God’s grace is his unmerited favour, it is an expression of his goodness freely and undeservedly poured on our lives. Put simply, anything good present in our lives is the outcome of God’s grace – from a stable job to a loving wife, from a roof over our heads to the next holiday abroad, from food in our tummies to free education. All these things are a product of God’s grace. For, at the end of the day, we have all forfeited a right to anything good. To put it in Paul’s words, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks after God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Since we have all turned our backs on our God and creator (one way or another), none of us deserves anything good from him. Yet, irrespective of whether we are Christians or not, we have all got so much to be thankful for – we only have to look. And all of that goodness, is only an act of God’s grace.

 

But the best expression of God’s grace isn’t limited to the reception of underserved goodness, but when God takes our well-deserved mess and turns it into something good and beautiful. This concept was ultimately manifested on the cross, when the Son of God died the death that we deserved, so that our lost, broken and messed up lives might be turned into something exceedingly good and beautiful, into lives of value, purpose and meaning – lives worth living. For it was in that moment that, in Jesus, God switched on the “autocorrect” on mankind, “re-typing” the broken and wretched narrative of our lives.

 

It is that grace that saved us, and it is that grace that continues to carry us. The apostle Paul, a former persecutor of the Church, was well-aware of this when he said “I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of the other apostles, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me” (1Cor 15:10) Knowing his past, Paul knew he had to work harder than anyone else to follow Jesus and be all that he had called him to be. Yet he knew that it wasn’t his efforts that led him to become who he became, but the Grace of God working through his efforts. He did his best to “type” a different narrative for his life, but the only reason why his narrative changed is because of the “auto-correct” of God’s grace – kicking in to make sense of all his failures, mistakes and limitations.

 

This month, Christians from around the globe will come together to celebrate Easter and the death that brought us life, the moment in history when our God enabled the “autocorrect” on the narrative of our lives. The choice is now with us. Either to embrace the “autocorrect” of his grace by faith in his son Jesus, following him with all our hearts, or keep on typing a messed-up narrative without him.

 

Good Friday celebrations

Speaking of Easter, this year too we will be coming together for special Good Friday celebrations on the 19th of April. However, this year’s format will be quite different. First of all, the service will be in the morning, at 10.30am. Secondly, it will be a family service with segments designed for our children and young people as well. Thirdly, the service will be followed by food and fellowship at Church. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to come along bringing food to share with one another. We are a very diverse and international Church, so please feel free to prepare something typical of your homeland and take our taste-buds on a journey there!

 

Let’s make that day a real celebration of the result of Christ’s death on the Cross – people of all ages and all nations redeemed and included into one big family to the praise and glory of our God!

 

 

Welcome Fruits of Calvary

As many of you know, in view of our coming Church-plant in Shadsworth, we have started partnering with a small fellowship meeting regularly at the Shadsworth Hub – namely Fruits of Calvary. Not only are they actively involved in supporting our Youth Club “Beam”, but they are helping us organising the Fun Day that will take place there on Saturday 4th of May.

 

Given our plans to move in the area, Pastor Richard and I felt it would be pointless for both fellowships to coexist side-by-side in the same building and that a merge would make much more sense.For the past couple of months, Richard and I have been working towards such plans, but something has happened recently that will see them being fulfilled much sooner than we thought! Unfortunately, changes in circumstances made it impossible for Fruits of Calvary to continue to meet at the Hub. Yet, pastor Richard and I both feel this has been orchestrated by our sovereign God to speed up and facilitate the planned merge.

 

As of this Sunday (7th of April), our brothers and sisters from Fruits of Calvary will be joining our Church with a view to not only worship together but work together towards the opening of our first campus – The Beacon Shadsworth.

 

Let us therefore welcome them in our midst and support them as they join of our family.

 

Shadsworth Fun day

As announced at our last Vision-Day, we are now at work to organise a family fun-day at Shadsworth for Saturday 4th of May (from 11am to 2pm). The day will include food, games, challenges and activities for all ages.

It will be a great opportunity to not only bless the community but give us the chance to connect and get to know them. However, this is quite a big project and it can only be successful if we all rally together behind it. Already a number of people have volunteered to lead or help with various departments – but we need more help!

 

There are plenty of opportunities to serve, from an arts-and-crafts area to the “senior corner”, from cleaning to stewarding, from games and challenges to health and safety. If you can help out, please let us know! Sign up on the volunteers’ sheet on the green board at the back of our main hall.

Your help will be greatly appreciated.

 

 

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The Beacon Elim Pentecostal Church, Park Road, Blackburn, BB2 3DJ