James Boyd encourages Christian character commitment and community caring:
I was struck when I misspelled the word ‘definitely’ the other day and the auto-correct tried to get me to use ‘defiantly!’
The difference between these two words is immense – definitely ‘being certain of something’ and defiantly ‘being resistant of something.’
Certainty and resistance
There’s a lesson here: As we walk the Christian path often these two words meet in our journey. Having faith means that we can be…
- Certain of the hope that we have
- Assured of the promises of God
- Trust in him alone.
But this often means we have to …
- Resist the devil
- Say no to unhelpful habits
- Let go of the things that hold us back.
Let’s walk the journey that is laid out before us defiantly resisting the things that are not of God and definitely committing to those that are.
Deuteronomy recounts the story of God’s journeying people. Chapter 4 verse 7 is a great statement in respect of their spiritual strength backup: ‘What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him.’
Many times as Israel moved to gain the promises of God, they had to resist and oppose what came their way, and on other occasions they had to live out their faith and belief in more than simply words.
Let’s not neglect the place of prayer as we seek God to move in our community. Let’s get praying!
Recently our church focused on how we pray – with two very successful corporate worship and prayer evenings and our recent 10 days of 24 hour prayer. Now we want to build on these great foundations and feel that we need to get praying in different ways as well.
We had also visited every home in the parish through our door to door project and are starting this all over again in this month. We really want to immerse the homes, businesses, streets and roads of our parish in prayer.
It matters to us that we reach out to the people who live in the streets all around our church building – wanting to bless and serve our neighbours who may be uncommitted and unconvinced about the Christian life. It is our top priority to impact our community in East Belfast with the good news of Jesus Christ so that others experience the joy of knowing the Lord Jesus who is full of grace and full of truth.
Continuing to outreach
After all, we’re a New Wine Resource Church (http://www.newwineireland.org/worship) and as such are committed to ministry that is rooted in the scriptures, teaching God’s Word and seeing the gifts of the Holy Spirit exercised in all aspects of church life.
Historically, when our building first opened on the Woodstock Road in 1872, it was instantly a prophetic symbol of God’s love for his people. Built as a place to gather people together to worship God and to learn from his word, it was ready to welcome the people who would come to live in houses springing up all around the area. And this has been happening since by God’s grace.
We believe that everything God places into our hands is given to us to bless others and so we are committed to reaching people with the gospel of God’s love in Christ, making disciples, equipping and empowering people for leadership, helping to plant new congregations and bringing renewal by resourcing others in any and all ways that we can.
Over the years we have always been a church that is strongly committed to our local community. We don’t believe it’s a coincidence that God has placed us here, and we long to show his love and his good news in all sorts of practical ways to our neighbours.
May all God’s churches, not just WPC, ‘journey on, prayerfully reaching out.’
James Boyd is the vicar of the well-known Willowfield Parish Church (Church of Ireland) in East Belfast. Links: http://www.willowfieldchurch.co.uk/ / email@example.com