When the children of Israel set off on their long journey to the promised land, God knew that they would need milestones along the way. He planned festivals where they could take time out to be together and to worship; to be refreshed and to receive vision for the road ahead.
In our journey as a church we have had the same experience; God has taken us out of the routine of our daily walk to be together and to be with Him. And these events (church weekends away, Spring Harvest, Stoneleigh, Borderlands) have become important milestones for us-setting the agenda for the route ahead and becoming milestones to look back on with thanks.
Under Moses, God showed the Israelites that the community as a whole should provide for these festivals, so that they could celebrate together. And we have begun to learn something similar for our weekends away: we should make provision for everyone to be involved, not just those who can afford it.
So, in response to God’s call to what will be an important event in the life of the church when we go to Cloverley next March, we arranged to hold two gift days, one last Sunday and one when we know the final cost, probably in February.
We expect the total cost to be approaching £8,000. Thanks to the sacrificial giving of the people of the church, we are able to open the invitation to all to come to Cloverley to celebrate together. Including IOU’s and gift aid, we received just over £6,000 on Sunday, praise God. And some people weren’t in church on Sunday and may still want to give (in which case you should drop a note to Robin or put a marked envelope in the collection box on Sunday).
As Gordon showed us from Esther’s life on Sunday, our view of ourselves and even of our past, should not hold us back when God has placed us where He wants us ‘for such a time as this’. I believe that this generous giving is a demonstration of the same principle. In responding to God’s call to give in this way, we have played a part in the fishing mission that God has called us to. At our last weekend away in 2011, we saw people become Christians and we saw a fresh understanding of the grace of God that liberated many people through His Spirit. Let’s start now to believe and to pray for how much more God will do this time!”