20th Dec 2016
The power of true prayer
"In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, ‘This is what the Lord says: put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.’ Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, ‘Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.’ And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: ‘Go and tell Hezekiah, “This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city." Isaiah 38:1-6
Hezekiah is told by the prophet that he should prepare himself for death. The words appear final and complete, but as often in prophecy there is an opportunity. By warning him of his future God gave Hezekiah the opportunity to pray for a different outcome - for his life. Hezekiah neither prays specifically for healing nor for another fifteen years, but rather he asks that God would remember him and his walk. He had indeed been faithful and devoted although not as completely as it sounds. To us this prayer can appear a bit selfish, yet God answers. He grants extended life and the promise of deliverance from Israel’s enemies to Hezekiah. Prayer does not always follow a logical or methodological pattern. Understand that and we will see more prayers answered when we make personal appeals to God.
Last week - it was a busy one as we lead up to Christmas and my sabbatical. Last Thursday a few of us did the Christmas Hamper deliveries for some of the CAP clients and others around the church. This was a wonderful opportunity to show love and support in a practical way to people in and around our community. Kate Berry, who organised the hampers for the CAP clients, has a message for those that contributed:
"Huge thank you to Beaconites for their amazing generosity and enthusiasm for everything they have done to fill and distribute the CAP hampers. People have been so overwhelmingly kind."
On Friday the office team had their Christmas lunch at the Prince Regent, we had a lovely afternoon together. I do really appreciate the time, effort and commitment shown by Jen, Jon, Sere and Phil. I will miss them when I am away.
Carol Service - Sunday we had our carol service in the evening. What a great evening we had with so many visitors both from the school and friends of people in the church. The school choir did a fantastic job, on one carol they sang in both Spanish and Portuguese! The children of Beacon produced a wonderful piece of artwork, based on John 1:5, which went on display during the evening.
Thanks - I want to thank the Headteacher Nadia Mcintosh for allowing the choir to come and sing and also her support over this last term to Beacon. Also thanks to Shauna Sharkey the choir director who prepared them so brilliantly. From the Beacon end I would like to thank the following people who attended early to help set up and make it all work so well. Bill, Jen, Elisha, Matt, Josh, Ruth, Pauline, Phil, Andy, Sinmi and Ibi. Thanks to everyone else who chipped in.
Sabbatical - This is my last week until after Easter. I am so grateful to God for all he has done at Beacon. He has truly kept the promise made so early on; 'I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.' Over the years God has truly been a Father to the church; protecting, providing and being present with us. He is the one we continue to look to for the fulfillment of all that he has promised and purposed for the church.
Hylton Update - Yasmin comes home today and Rhianna will be home by Saturday. We are all looking forward to a family Christmas together with our wider family. Pauline and I remain so grateful to God for his kindness and grace towards us. His blessing upon both our marriage and our family. We remain committed to following his path for our lives no matter what!
I will continue to pray for the church, that God will continue to guide and direct its steps and those that lead it.
Updates will return...
Much blessing on you all.
22nd December - office closes
4th January - office reopens
8th January - first service of 2017 (There will be no services on either 25th December or 1st January)
18th April - my first day back in the office