Pastoral Letter October 2018

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known
        —1 Corinthians 13:12

Dear Friends,

We all wish that we could know a little more of the future, don’t we?

As a church, and perhaps as individuals or families now, we may feel as though we face an uncertain future, and that can often be uncomfortable or unsettling. 

Whilst we know that there is a meeting at the end of October to discuss the future of the work here at Morton, we have no real idea what will be said, or indeed what the outcome will be. We can make guesses, of course. We can fret and worry, too… or we can trust the Lord.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians about the difference between what we can ever know in this world, and what we shall know in the world to come. The fact is, that however settled we may feel, none of us actually knows what a day will bring forth. We should indeed live our lives walking by faith, and not by sight. We see things only ‘in a mirror dimly’ or ‘in a glass, darkly’ as the old KJV translation has it. So why is it that when there is a particular unknown in our lives, we get so unsettled?

Is it not because when we feel comfortable, we think we know what will happen from day to day, and we stop trusting the Lord? Then, when things get unpredictable, we have to start trusting the Lord again and we’ve got ‘rusty’. Faith must be exercised at all times, and it helps us to remember that even if we feel settled, we haven’t got everything sorted out and we don’t have everything under control. Events can so quickly change our whole perspective.

Speaking personally, I write this letter at a time when I don’t know what I will be doing in January. It’s unsettling—but it is an opportunity. A time to remind myself that God is sovereign, a time to prove His promises, a time to be reminded that I am but ‘frail flesh’. Perhaps if we are more often reminded of just how dimly we see, we will be less troubled when the darkest times of all come. Sometimes we can’t see our hand in front of our face, when illness strikes, or grief grips us, and so forth.

As says the hymn I have quoted a few times in prayer recently:

God holds the key of all unknown
And I am glad
If other hands should hold the key
Or if He trusted it to me
I might be sad

(Joseph Parker)

Our focus, as we gaze at the dim mirror of life’s prospects, should not be on the trouble we are having seeing the future. Our focus should be on what we know (the truth of God’s word, the indisputable facts of our salvation) and above all on WHO we know—The Lord Jesus Christ, who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Everything is in His hands. Therefore everything will be well. And one day … we will know everything, and we will rejoice, seeing how much we owe to our gracious God, and it will be our joyful song ‘through endless ages: Jesus led me all the way!’

May God bless us all and help us to trust Him like never before.

Jonathan

Don’t give up on the evening service!

Here’s a slightly old, but good, post from a pastor in USA, giving great reasons to hold an evening service.

It is sadly true that in our local area, many churches have abandoned the idea of meeting twice on the Lord’s Day. There are a variety of reasons for this, some of them perhaps understandable in the smallest fellowships – but it is not just small churches who are selling out to the self-centred culture of our day. Some churches meet in the morning, afternoon, or evening, but they meet just once. What of the rest of the day?

Let us take and enjoy the rich opportunities God offers to us for fellowship, praise, and hearing God’s Word!