Dear Church Family
People are fascinating. It's been an honour over recent days to spend time with all sorts of people - to hear their stories and to pray. With those who've been following Jesus for many years. With those new to faith. With the housebound. With those struggling with long-term illness. With those who are soon to have surgery. With those who've been healed. With those preparing for marriage. With the bereaved. With those looking for work. With those who've recently secured work. In all these contexts and more I've been praying for God's Kingdom to come. For more of his presence and power and love. Here on earth as it is in heaven.
As the kingdom of God breaks in, so we see transformation. Always in heart and mindset and attitude. Bringing new perspective and new hope. But sometimes new transformed circumstances too. Chris Dobson - one of our churchwardens - told a lovely story at Dynamic Prayer this Tuesday morning. He'd recently been on the prayer ministry team at The6, and a young man came forward and said he was a believer from Sheffield with a painful back. When praying about his back at home he'd felt the Lord say 'go to St Michael le Belfrey and you'll be healed' - and so here he was! Chris said that when he heard this, faith rose up in him for the young man's healing. So he and his prayer-partner placed their hands on his back and spoke healing in Jesus' name - and he was healed. There and then. The young man tested it and it was fine! This is just one of a number of stories of healing that the Lord is doing amongst us at present. Such is the kindness and power of the Lord Jesus. Let's continue to be expectant that his transforming Kingdom will be graciously changing lives in our day.
His Kingdom grace has been at work as he's prompted many of us to give to our recent church Gift Day. I heard this week of a twelve year old boy in our church who, after praying, gave £20 to Gift Day - which was a good part of his savings. I was so touched to hear this and how he wanted his gift to make a difference. I want to thank him and everyone who's given so far. We're getting nearer to out Gift Day target now - so please continue to pray for this. If you've not yet given to Gift Day it's not too late - simply mark an envelope 'Gift Day 2016'. As we seek first his Kingdom (Matthew 7:33) the Lord will ensure we have more than enough to do what he's called us to do.
We were looking in our Belfrey Group last night at this theme of the Kingdom of God. We prayed at the end for our homes, families, streets and workplaces - that we would seek to bring the Kingdom into every place the Lord takes us. May that be our prayer and intent this week.
As we pray, please especially remember:
- those who're we're sending out from our church this week to equip others: including Greg Downes: main speaker this weekend at the OneLife national conference for youth and young adults; Tom Holmes & Luke Porter, leading worship at the national New Wine Kids Leaders Summit on Monday-Wednesday;
- local church leaders who'll come this Thursday to our York New Wine Network lunch: that they'll return encouraged and filled with the Spirit;
- those who are sick or ill or struggling: for the healing power of Jesus to touch them;
- those who are new: that those who don't know Jesus will begin to follow him; and that newcomers will join a Belfrey Group and find friendship and community.
Do join me in praying: 'May your Kingdom come - here on earth, as it is in heaven.'