NEW YEAR - RENEWED FOCUS (January 2020)

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It is traditional at the New Year to make a resolution to change away from bad habits, or to improve our lifestyle to be healthier.  How about starting 2020 with a resolution to improve the health of your faith?  To do that, we need to do a ‘faith health check’.  We need to go back to basics, to God with us, born as a baby in a manger.  Jesus Christ, who lived among us, performed miracles, taught with great authority, and who died on a cross then rose to life on the third day.  Who is now ascended to the right hand of God on high, and will one day return to judge the living and the dead.  Our health check could be saying, do you believe that?  Do you follow him?  How does that show in your daily life?

There is a verse in the letter attributed to the Apostle Peter, which goes:  ‘Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have’ (1Peter 3v15).  This verse can serve as a useful health check for our faith in different ways:

Firstly, ‘the hope that you have’.  Would people see you as somebody with hope?  It doesn’t mean a total optimism about everything that is likely to happen in 2020, it is referring to hope for the greater future, for God’s kingdom to come.   Can somebody see in your actions, in your attitudes, ‘the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ’ (2Cor 4v6)?

Then, is your hope such that people might ask why you have it?  And, if they ask, what would you say?  Peter’s advice is to ‘always be prepared with an answer’.  This would involve explaining how you come to believe what you believe.  And this might again provide a challenge for many of us.  What do you believe?  How clear are you about the basics of the Christian faith, and how to explain it to somebody else?

Our focus as a church in the coming weeks, will be on these basics.  The basics of what we believe, and also the basics of how to talk to other people about it.  Later in the month, we will be introducing ways of simply introducing the Christian faith to others, and finding ways to invite them to church (more about that in next month’s Parish News). 

There is nothing more important for us to focus on as a church.  And as we begin a new year, our faith is a great aspect of our lifestyle to focus on.  Let us resolve to do a daily ‘workout’ with God – of prayer and bible reading, so that our faith remains strong and healthy, building his kingdom in this place.

Tina Upton