From the pastor’s pen: open yet dirty hands
“The wicked say to God ‘Depart from us! We do not desire the knowledge of your ways. What is the almighty, that we should serve him? And what profit do we get if we pray to him?’” (Job 21:14-15)
“Job” is a fantastic book of the Bible that deals with one of the oldest questions ever asked – “Why do good people suffer?” The book is a transcript of a conversation Job had with 3 friends of his who, instead of comforting him, surrounded him with words of accusation and condemnation in the assumption that the evil that befell him could only be an act of punishment from God – when in reality God literally bragged about Job’s righteousness and faithfulness.
During this debate Job, in an attempt to convince his friends of his innocence before God, gave them a description of the wicked – hoping and praying that his friends would recognise he was nothing like it. According to that description, the wicked is seen as someone that:
Doesn’t care for God’s ways
Doesn’t care for serving him
Doesn’t care for prayer
As I read it, I couldn’t help it but agree with this picture. Furthermore, upon closer observation, I also realised how often, even as Christians, we can approach God with the same attitude – with open yet dirty hands.
Even though, generally speaking, we may be very interested in learning about God’s ways, there may be some ways which we are not so keen to walk, areas of our lives that we are not so happy to bring into alignment with God’s will. Whether it be in the area of our finance, marriage, parenting, sexuality, forgiveness etc, there may be some aspects of God’s will where we implicitly say to the Lord “Depart from us!”
We may have nothing against serving our God and his purposes, investing our time and resources into the extension of his kingdom, but only when we’ve got nothing else to do! Instead of actively and strategically plan our diary and life progression around Jesus’ plan and overall mandate, we tend to serve him around our plans and life progression, offering only the crumbs of our time, talents and resources rather than our best. Instead of acknowledging that he is the almighty and we should serve him, we implicitly allow our schedule and day-to-day decisions to say “who is the almighty that we should serve him?”
Last but not least, we may be strong advocates of the importance and power of prayer, however we tend to lift our eyes to heaven only in moments of crisis or need rather than develop a habit of intimacy with him – seeing prayer only as a means to get something from him rather than the means of intimacy and relationship it is intended to be. We may not say this out loud, but our prayer life (or lack of) speaks for us – “What profit do we get if we pray to him?”
Isn’t it sad to consider how our relationship and worship of God can be so easily tainted by wickedness? My prayer is that this short meditation will ignite a process of deep reflection and self-analysis, that we would allow the Holy Spirit to help us identify the dirt on our hands, that we might confess it to Jesus and find forgiveness for it. Even more so, that our confession would be followed by true repentance and a very real change of direction, making sure that our life (who cares what the mouth says!) speaks of a real desire for his ways, service and prayer – the kind of stuff that makes Jesus proud, to the point of even bragging about us!
Changing a city
On Wednesday 9th of October, we will begin a new teaching series on the Book of Jonah around the theme of City-transformation under the power of God – something that we really want to see replicated in our beloved Blackburn with Darwen! However, this teaching series will not be just theoretical, but interspersed with strategic prayer and intercession. Halfway through the series (Wed 30th), we will dedicate one night to intercede for our nation ahead of the next big Brexit deadline. At the end of the series (Wed 20th of November), we will split into various cars that will drive up to strategic places around Blackburn and Darwen, literally surrounding the town. From there, we will pray and intercede for the town in our respective cars, making notes of whatever the Lord reveals to us. The following Wednesday (27th of Nov), we will meet again at Church to share what we’ve received from the Lord and to further pray in that direction.
This whole program will be condensed in only 8 weeks. If you don’t usually attend our mid-week teaching and training, why not give this series a try? It will inspire, equip and encourage you to be the transformer God has called you to be!
As announced last month, Val has come up with a brilliant idea for fellowship and mission! The Dorcas Project will gather once a month people to knit together items of warm clothing to distribute to the homeless during the Christmas season. The club is open to experienced knitters as well as those who just want to learn the skill – irrespective of their age. The knitting sessions will take place once a month at the house of some of our more elderly and/or housebound members who could do with some company. It is a really brilliant idea!
If you would like to know more about this, or sign up to the next session, please contact our dear Val at her mobile number 07790 070709
Christmas Unwrapped event launch!
As some of you already know, local Churches are coming together to organise a town-wide Carols Night at the Cathedral with guest speaker Rev. Canon J. John. J. John is a great and humorous communicator, able to present the gospel in a very light yet deep and relevant way. Our desire is to create an opportunity for Christians across Blackburn and Darwen to invite their non-Christian friends to the event to listen to the good news of Jesus! We are also at work to set up follow-up for those who might want to explore Jesus and the Christian faith further.
On Thursday the 10th of October at 7.30pm, we are going to host an Event Launch at our Church to present what the event is going to be like, mobilise Christians around the borough and toexplain how we can take part in the event. Please, put this date in your diaries and make sure to attend.
Guest speaker – Mark Savage
After years on the leadership team at Lakside Elim Church in Southport, Mark and Nicola have embarked on a new journey leading Formby Elim Church and transitioning it into a new chapter. They will be with us on Sunday 20th of October (Central Campus) when Mark will also share the message. Put this date in your diaries and don’t miss this great couple!
Youth and kids takeovers
Here at The Beacon we do not believe that kids are the Church of tomorrow, but the Church of today! As such, we have planned the year ahead to include quarterly Kids talks and Youth takeovers, to encourage them to take the lead and do Church their way! Please, put the following dates in your diaries:
- Sunday 13th Oct – Kids talkSunday
- 3rd Nov – Youth takeover
The Youth Takeover of the 3rd of November will be followed by food and fellowship!
“Glow for it!”
“Glow for it!” is a UV-lights glow-in-the-dark themed Alternative Halloween Party for kids aged between 4 and 11. We will run it on Halloween night at the Central Campus from 6pm to 8pm. While the rest of the world celebrates death and the macabre, our kids will be celebrating Jesus as the light of the world, learning how he calls us all to shine with his light in the darkness of our generation.The party is limited to 40 children and tickets are sold for £1 per child on ChurchSuite on a first-come-first-served basis. Hurry up!For more info, please see our youth and kids’ coordinator Caroline.