Pastor’s Blog July 2016

As I write this the repercussions of the referendum result are being worked out. Later today we will have a new Prime Minister in place. However I don’t think the political turmoil is over.

Certainly the economic consequences will continue to cause headlines, the difficulties of negotiating a satisfactory exit have not yet begun and there is every indication that the result is going to put a real strain on the coherence of the United Kingdom. In all likelihood we are headed for turbulent times.

As I have stressed in recent sermons I believe this is a time of opportunity for the church. Just as the persecution of the Jerusalem church resulted in the advancing of the mission of God into Samaria and the planting of churches in Syria most notably in Antioch so in God’s providence it may be that in challenging times for our nation the call of the gospel will be given a fresh hearing in our land.

Having said that I want to be clear that there are no guarantees. Some of the conversations I’ve heard have talked about God’s will having been done in the referendum and that in some senses is true but God’s will can be done through bad decisions and the outworking of the consequences of such choices. We can be confident that God is reigning and working through the decision but we cannot be confident that it will not have some painful consequences for the nation.

Nor can we simply assume that the church will rise to the challenges and opportunities of the moment. A scripture that is often quoted at times like these says:

“if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2Chronicles 7:14.

That’s a big “if”.

In Acts the church didn’t automatically expand, rather we read “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.” Acts 8:4.

Most of us will probably agree that times are uncertain, some may agree that we have an opportunity but am I willing are you willing, to humble ourselves, to pray, to seek God’s face to turn from our wicked ways are we willing to live openly Christian lives and share our faith boldly with those around us. God’s sovereign purposes are worked out through the faithful lives of his people. Will we grasp the opportunities of this hour?

Phil Dixon