February 2020

The year starts to gather momentum and it’s easy to lose our focus amid all the joys, disappointments and activity of work, home and church. The beauty of our St Nicholas Vision Statement however is that it provides us with a clear framework to shape and direct us throughout the year. This month is no exception, as you can see.

Explain

It has been wonderful to hear of all sorts of ‘20/20 initiatives’ - the challenge laid out for us by Gavin McGrath over a year ago to focus on grassroots evangelism. There have been gatherings bubbling up across all the congregations which have been wonderful to hear about. In this coming month there are two initiatives in particular to which I would love to draw to your attention. Both have been planned by members of the church family rather than by the staff team. Both offer wonderful opportunities to invite friends to discover more about the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • On Friday 21 February at 7:30pm for 8pm a number of church members have taken the initiative to celebrate ‘The Church that went under 25 years on’ with Julia Cameron and Sara Thomson joining Brig Ian Dobbie and Paul Batchelor.
  • On Thursday 27 February at 7:30pm at the Stag Theatre there will be a production of Mark’s Gospel organised by a couple from within the church family [tickets need to be booked directly with the Stag].

Equip

  • At the start of February, we held our special half day conference for leaders, Equipped! and then also ran a seminar on parenting led by Ed Drew – both of which were enormously well received. In different ways they linked in with our vision to equip church members to handle God’s word better and to equip us better in living for Christ amid all the challenges we face.
  • In addition, during February we see the return of ‘Toolbox’, our popular run of three Sunday evenings commencing 23 February designed to equip us further in living for Christ. Among the various seminars available Helen Thorne will be speaking about ‘Walking with domestic abuse sufferers’, Paul Cook from Tearfund will address the issue ‘We cannot stay quiet’ as we consider the need for a response to injustice across the world and Peter Rowan will open up the subject of ‘The Gospel, Church and Disability’.
  • Our aim in Toolbox but also in other areas is to equip us to think and act differently as Christ’s disciples.

Explore

  • Our Vision is under-girded by the constant desire to explore God’s word. We will be embarking on a teaching series on Sunday mornings from Mark 14 which is designed to help us explore in greater detail Jesus' journey to the cross with the aim to enable us to treasure even more the wonder of His love for us.
  • In our own walk with the Lord I know that many will also be embarking on the Bible Reading Challenge coordinated by Adelbert Jennings in which participants read the whole of the Bible in 90 days or all the New Testament in 60 days. Investing time in this sort of undertaking is a great investment in order to get the whole sweep of God’s plan in view.
  • As we draw near to the start of Lent [Ash Wednesday service is at 8pm 26 February] we are also encouraging each other to savour God’s word as we promote our Lent book, ‘To seek and to save’ by Sinclair Ferguson [special price £4]. [I’ve written a commendation on the inside cover]. Whilst the Bible reading challenge aims to give us a vital overview the Lent book aims to provide a ‘close up’ of Jesus from Luke’s Gospel.

At the heart of what we do at St Nicholas is the Lord Jesus Christ. We want to explore more about Him. We want to be better equipped to live for Him. We want to find new opportunities to explain to our friends who He is and what He has done. As we keep on doing these things let us pray that we each know God’s richest blessings.

Angus MacLeay
Rector
St Nicholas Sevenoaks