This Sunday we celebrated Hope Church Newham’s 1st Anniversary. We looked back on what God has done over the last 12 months and also looked forward to what’s in store for Hope Church in the coming year.
It is good to celebrate little achievements in life. The Bible is full of examples of the people of God celebrating God’s achievements. In Exodus 15, Moses and the people sing a song celebrating how God delivered them out of Egypt (Exodus 15:1-18) and we also see Miriam’s song in the same chapter (Exodus 15:21). In the New Testament, communion is both a looking back to Jesus’s death on the cross, to the forgiveness of our sins and a looking forward to Jesus’s return.
Looking back over Hope Church’s first year, we have seen God’s blessings in so many ways. It is important to remember that Jesus doesn’t call us to sit down, get comfortable and look back but He calls us to follow him. It is not a case of “Stand by me” but definitely more a case of “Keep on running.” We are part of an exciting adventure following Jesus.
It is good to celebrate but we need to keep looking ahead. The book of Acts shows how the early church grew both its ups and its downs. In Acts, we see the Church growing and going out – going where God called. There are 3 things that are important as we look forward together as a church.
- It’s all about the people – Matthew 6:19,20 Jesus loved people. Hope Church is be a church about the people. We have a vision to be a diverse church reflecting east London but heaven will be even more diverse. We are to be all about loving people regardless of their background – John 3:16, 1 Peter 2:5.
- We all have a part to play – 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 gives a wonderful picture of the church as a body. Just as with a human body every part of the body is vital. Everyone involved with Hope Church Newham counts and is important. We need to recognise that everyone is different. We all have different gifts and different life situations. Being different is OK. We should not compare ourselves to others. We know ourselves too well. We only really know the good side of other people. We all have a unique and vital role to play. We just need to do it. We shouldn’t fear giving it a go but should be fearful of not giving something a go and being lazy.
- Jesus is our perfect example – It is good to be encouraged by those around us. We can read about and be encouraged by the lives of men and women of faith. Only Jesus will give you all the things needed to endure and finish the race – Hebrews 12:1-2. Why are we to look to Jesus alone? Jesus understands us and Jesus is always there for us Hebrews 2:18 and Hebrews 4:14-16. Jesus is victorious over death 1 Corinthians 15:50-58, Colossians 2:13-15. We are more than conquerors because of Jesus – Romans 8:37-39.
Jesus, Founder and Perfecter of Our Faith
12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (ESV)
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