Well, I’m excited.
Not just about our Carol Services and about the many guests that we are inviting to join us. Not just about the Alpha Courses that we are running at many of our venues in January in order to help those guests and other friends to find out more about the baby who was born in Bethlehem.
What I’m excited about is the Christmas present that we’ve been planning to give to you and that we hope will help you deepen your walk with God as we start the New Year together. I’m excited about something that we’re calling Everyday Devotions and that we’re working hard to give you when you come back from your Christmas holiday.
We are planning to begin 2020 with a five-week sermon series entitled: The Five Habits of a Healthy Christian. We are going to help you start the New Year with some basic teaching about how to read the Bible for all it’s worth, how to develop a vibrant and joyful daily prayer life, how make singing worship songs to God a daily, life-giving thing instead of just something that we do together on a Sunday, how to be filled with the Spirit and walk in step with him each day – in other words, how to live the Christian life that you’ve always wanted to. To accompany this and to make it come alive to you personally, we are going to provide you each day with some online Everyday Devotions. When you access them, you will find a daily Bible reading with some questions to help you ponder what the passage means for your life, followed by a structured prayer pathway to help you pray to God about what you have read. We will also provide you with a Spotify playlist to aid you in your personal devotions, plus some extra resources for would-be theologians and for busy parents trying to read the Bible with their children. If you can imagine having one of the elders of Everyday Church with you each morning to guide you through your daily Bible reading and to pray and worship with you, then you’ve got an idea of we’d love this to be for you. We think that you are going to find it helpful!
If you struggle to read the Bible and pray, then I’m particularly excited about what this will mean for you. Think of it as your Spiritual Couch to 5K! If you will allow us, we’ll become your personal trainer to help you know God better in 2020. You don’t have to stay where you are spiritually.
If you find reading the Bible and praying easy, then we’re pleased for you too! Even if you think you’ve got things sorted, we would like you to embrace these Everyday Devotions for the first five weeks of 2020. These are weeks when we want to experiment as a church to see if this is something that would be beneficial to the whole church for the long-term, so your participation is key. Here’s the big idea: These daily devotionals are closely dovetailed with our Sunday sermons and our Life Group discussions in order to create a common conversation across the church about what we are thinking and praying about in our private times with God. Each day’s Everyday Devotions will take no more than 10 to 15 minutes so that everyone can participate and share with one another. We’d love for everybody in the church to embrace these Everyday Devotions and to use them to provoke discussions with their housemates, their family, their Life Group and their serving team as we all study the same passages and learn the same prayer pathways together. Daily devotions have often been a solitary business, but for now we’re looking to encourage one another by doing our private devotions together!
We’ll be explaining more about Everyday Devotions in the run-up to Christmas, but I’m posting this now in order to make you aware that this Christmas present is coming your way. Many thanks to Darren Parker and Michael Percy and the others who are currently working to post these devotions online so that you can access them in the New Year. I’m excited to be starting the New Year by going deeper in God as an entire church together!
Phil Moore – Lead Pastor