I am very grateful for the provision of a period of study leave over the next couple of months. Over the course of June and July I am hoping to work on another book for the ‘Teaching’ series produced by the Proclamation Trust. In the past I have thoroughly enjoyed similar periods of study leave to write on 1 Peter, 1 Timothy and also 1 & 2 Thessalonians and now I have been asked to tackle 2 Peter and Jude. It has been a privilege to preach through these books during the last year and so it will be wonderful to have the opportunity to work further on this material in order to produce something which hopefully will be of benefit to other preachers in the wider church.
As I prepare to get down to writing on 2 Peter and Jude I would particularly value your prayerful support. These books deal with situations in the early church where false teachers were threatening the health of the church and there are many parallels with what is happening today, which we saw as those books were preached. Especially as some of those problems come to a head during 2020 with the Lambeth Conference and the forthcoming publication of ‘Living in Love and Faith’ which is likely to open the doors to further unorthodox teaching and praxis within the Church of England, it would be really helpful if this resource on handling such situations was available.
Apart from the period when I will be taking annual leave I will be spending the time based in Sevenoaks. I am very grateful indeed for Gavin’s willingness to shoulder my responsibilities in my absence. I am sure that you will want to pray for him and the whole team as they each continue to serve the Lord Jesus and our church family with joy.
Another aspect of my study leave will be the opportunity to have more space for reading. I’m already profiting from ‘Pray Big’ by Alastair Begg which contains an encouragement for our prayers to be shaped by the prayers we find in the New Testament. I’m also looking forward to reading ‘Maturity’ by Sinclair Ferguson - one of my favourite Christian authors. And if you are concerned that this is all a bit too heavy, I’m also planning to read the new biography on Sir Edmund Hillary!
Several years ago I wrote a prayer for myself which I use every day in the PrayerMate app. It begins: ‘Heavenly Father, Thank you for drawing me into your eternal purposes of grace through sending the Lord Jesus and then opening my blind eyes by the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for keeping me, pouring out your many blessings upon me and appointing me to serve You as a pastor and preacher at St Nicholas….’ It is indeed a great privilege to serve at St Nicholas and I trust that this period of study leave would serve to increase my devotion to Christ as I prepare for further years of service ahead alongside Sue.
(Rector, St. Nicholas Sevenoaks)
20th May 2019