As I write, we’re preparing for our next sermon series looking at six lies of Satan and why we believe them. The first lie might not be his most serious, or even the most commonly believed, but we’re hearing it a lot right now and so we feel called to expose it.
“We just need to get back to normal” seems to have become our latest hope; “when the vaccine comes”, “when the virus goes away”, “when it’s warm again, then [insert good thing] will happen”. But is it really true? Was life before the pandemic really all that perfect? Is there nothing to learn from the suffering of 2020? And is the extent of God’s plan, simply for us to go back to where we were before? Or might Christ be calling us out to follow him into something new, and even better?
This January and early February, we’ll be looking at how cleverly Satan seeks to erode our confidence in the grace of God, to convince us that God is disinterested in our lives, and to erode our hope in Him, even if that means convincing us to place our hope in something else.
Then, as we enter Lent, we’ll focus specifically on Jesus as our hope, by examining Isaiah’s ‘Servant Song’ prophecies all about Him, written hundreds of years before His birth. These four famous songs show how Christ was chosen, rejected and afflicted for our salvation. Therefore, as we begin 2021, Jesus is our hope.
I love Jesus, I love our Church, but I am a bit fed up with the pandemic now to be completely open with you. Yet it cannot stop the power of the Spirit from blowing through this place. Nor can it stop us from proclaiming and receiving the good news of Jesus Christ. Indeed it might even enable us to do it more effectively in 2021.
At the end of January, we’ll still be having our annual church meeting. This year, we’ll be holding it in three parts (a shortened meeting after each of our services). We do have a little work to do in electing new leaders and changing a line of our bylaws too, but as usual, our main objective will be to point out how much God has been doing in our church over the past 12 months and to look ahead with hope to 2021.
In so many ways, we are thriving. That does not surprise me because we have a great church, great staff and leaders and more importantly, as I reflect on 2020, Jesus was our hope!
Yours in Christ,