On Saturday I restarted my 20-mile bike ride around the lovely Chiltern hills, after having a one-week break over Christmas. I achieved a good speed despite the cold and wet roads. The free mobile app (Strava) I use to record the route and timings awarded me “Local Legend on Aston Hairpin Downhill”. All that means is I have ridden that route more than anyone else in the last 90 days. That is nothing to get too excited about, but it did make me smile, and feel determined to keep at it.
We all come into relationship with God through grace and not our own effort. Jesus went to the cross for us so we could receive forgiveness. It’s all about receiving his forgiveness and grace and he wants us to constantly live in the good of that. But Paul also encourages the Philippian believers to ‘press on towards the goal and win the prize’. This suggests there are rewards for each of us, as we live our lives for God in a wholehearted way, which often means there is battle as well as blessing.
Over the weekend, someone from the North of England had posted on their Facebook page, details of what had happened in their church since COVID-19 started. They titled it ‘The Church is not closed’ Amongst the very positive list of achievements, the church had over 50 people coming to faith, 25 people participating in online Alpha, community projects that fed over 200 people, 10 people helped to get debt free and over 3000 people reached through on-line services. I felt deflated at first, reflecting on what we had achieved, and then inspired and motivated to want to do the same. This church of course is much bigger than ours, but if each small part grows and does its part, we too can achieve wonderful results.
We would like to start an online Alpha soon, so asking people to be on that, is a start, as well as praying it would be a success. We plan to have a vision day for the church on Saturday, to see what more God wants to say about the way ahead for our Church in Swindon. There may be some more projects God wants us to embark on, that we do not yet know about. We want to hear from God, be obedient and see goals reached. He promises rewards and a prize, which gives us even more motivation to want to be part of a worldwide church that is ‘pressing on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenwards in Christ Jesus.’