For the last two and a half years I’ve really struggled to know how to talk to you! It not been related to shyness, or because you’re mean or scary! It’s not been linked to having nothing to say, as there are many things that I wanted to say. It’s not been stopped by lack of opportunity, as I get to talk a lot, In fact sometimes you’re probably sick of hearing from me!
It has been stopped by not knowing the right context or place for the things to be said and I’ve been seeking God about the right way to communicate with you for some time.
Things that have been on my heart are sometimes not appropriate to be put in a sermon. As this is time, I believe, we should be committed to what God has to say in His Word!
Often, you could argue, I could say these things during notice times in the service, however, again we always have limited time for worship, for testimony and Gods Word. Also notices tend project forward, its very rare there is opportunity for feedback.
At the prayer meeting sometimes, I may get chance to share about what’s happening during the week and give thanks for this however, this results in things being delivered only to a small and select audience, not always the appropriate place and time and overall is a little adhoc!
So, I hope you appreciate and understand the conundrum I’ve been wrestling with. So after praying, thinking and reading. God has told me to write you love letters!!
Community Church Blackburn has put me in such a privileged position, as its full time employed Elder! I get to see at close quarters how God is working in the life of the church, how the Kingdom of God is advancing in Blackburn and farther afield!
I get to see how God is working in your lives. It’s spectacular!!
I want to tell you, as best I can, about everything that is happening, with what God is doing. I want to talk to you about the highs, the triumph and the joyful times. I want to encourage you through the difficult times.
I want to tell you how wonderful you are and how proud I am of you. Sometimes as church we need correcting and are in requirement of repentance and forgiveness from God.
I want to tell you in all the many, many way How good God is!!
Sometimes I might need you to pray about situations with me as we’re stuck!
Sometimes, with their permission I may need you to pray for people who are sick and poorly and suffering hardship.
I want to feedback to you what’s happened. What’ happening with healing on the streets? what’s happening on the Alpha course, what’s happening in our small groups, what’s happening in children’s work on a Sunday? Why have we done that? Who is coming to preach? Who are all these people???? What are we going to do in the future?
Often God smacks me between the eyes or often, in my case, round the back of the head with a scripture!! I want to share this with you.
Very often God blesses me through books I’ve read. I want to share and encourage you to read them.
Overall, my primary task as your Elder is not to do all the admin at church or organise a great programe. It’s not to be the artistic director of fantastic service on Sundays that are spectacular and make you feel all warm and fuzzy. It’s not to sort out all pastoral problems and keep everyone happy.
My primary Job is to keep Community Church walking closer and closer to Jesus and keep His church Glorifying him. All the previous things are important; however, this is one of the ways God has put on my heart as being good and effective. I am going to be putting aside a significant amount of time, in faith, writing these love letters to you and be praying that God takes care of the rest!! 😊
So I hope you are blessed by my love letters to you. God willing, they should come weekly and I’m excited to be starting this Journey with you in 2020
Scripture of the week
Presently I am reading through the bible in one year. You can have a look at it Here
If anyone is struggling finding a good bible reading plan or method come and see me.
As discussed in Sunday’s service, Jesus says “Man shall not live by bread alone but by the Word of God!” If you don’t eat daily, your physical body will not thrive. If you don’t eat Gods word, through consuming scripture, daily how can you expect your spiritual life to thrive? Don’t care how much, how little, which version, how much you understand, whether you listen to it on audio, in the bath, in the car. Just consume it daily!! 😊
This bit that really hit me between the eyes this week is this 😊
Genesis 12 New International Version (NIV)
The Call of Abram
12 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
2 “I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I love how virtually the whole Christian life and purpose is set out in the first bits of the bible, in a few lines with Abram.
God says I will make you a great nation and I will bless you. God blessed Abram first!! Definitely not due to his good deeds or behaviour. God poured His grace out first
God then says I will make you name great. Why!! So that Abraham would be a blessing.
That’s the Christian life!! God has blessed you so you can bless and serve others.
You are blessed to bless!!!
Sorry chaps you're going to be hearing that a lot this year 😊
Books worth reading
A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society by Eugene Peterson.
You can get it Here. Thoroughly enjoying this thanks to it being lent me by Angela & Geoff.
Eugene Peterson was the writer of the Message Bible however before he attained famous Christian rock star status, he was a simple pastor of a relatively small, unremarkable church in North America.
Eugene Peterson has a beautiful pastoral heart and a deep love and wisdom with people. This book is working through, what are called the Psalms of Ascent (Psalm 120 onwards) and is making the point that often the Christian life is not all fireworks, miracles, and fantastic stuff, which often many Christian books set out, (Although these things are great) but the Chrisitan life is a steady, but equally miraculous, daily walk or assent with Jesus through the ordinary day to day life over years. Really beautiful, profound and faithful to scripture 😊
Activities and situations to pray for
Please pray for the ongoing situation with the Bank account at CCB. There’s not enough to time to explain the intricacies, however it just seems like its one step forward and then another hurdle is put in the way. Gina and myself have a phone call with Lloyds bank on Wednesday morning and we really need a miracle!! As the situation is just to complicated for us to deal with. Please pray for Jesus to some how sort it out.
Also please pray for me, that I am gracious, patience and kind when dealing with Lloyds as often people suffer with road rage. However due to my past employment I suffer from large faceless corporation rage!!! Please help me be gracious and kind and remember I am a church pastor as Lloyds know this so pray for me to be a good witness 😊
Please pray for the Alpha course starting on the 15th Jan . I have absolutely no Idea who’s coming, however I know God will bring the right people and over the last Alpha course randomly God put together an amazing team (Across CCB and Re:ignite) of mighty men and women 😊. Thank you for everyone who has offered to cook. (I was really touched and proud of you all) I will send more info about delivering or me picking up the food and dates needed over the next week (Should be ready for Sunday) and if anyone wants to help please see me or Lisa.
Please also pray for all the other Alpha and bible courses starting over Blackburn in other churches over the next few weeks. God is good!!! And He is moving in this town!!
Finally please pray for me and the leadership team, There is still a lot of sorting, praying, organising, visiting and putting in foundations of preparation for the next year. God is doing a lot and just pray for the leadership team that everything falls into place.
Stephen Norcross is an elder, married to Lisa and living in Blackburn. Stephen works full time for Community Church Blackburn. Stephen studied music at university and uses his musical gifts leading worship. He also has a passion for bible teaching.