We must never underestimate the importance of small groups in our shared life. I cannot overstate their place and their function for us as a church.
For the last little while we have been promoting a program called Connect 5. What we are doing is making room for people to join a small group. We would love as many people as possible to be part of a group and to enjoy all the benefits of group life!
There are many blessings that come from being part of a group; care, friendship, accountability, encouragement, prayer…the list just goes on and on!
If you’re not part of a group (we would love you to be) then how about signing up for Connect 5 and enjoying the extraordinary way we live out our faith!
Down through history, one person has been the catalyst for change, for good and sometimes bad. One person has stood up against an injustice, a brutality or a system and made a significant impact.
Sometimes we can believe that we are not that one person and we could never be that one person. But that is not the truth. All of us have the potential in us to make a difference – a big difference.
Sometimes we underestimate how little an effort is required to make a difference. For instance, when you go up to someone who is new after a service of worship, when you say ‘hello’, when you say ‘how are things with you?’ and you actually mean it…. It can make a difference.
Why don’t you try it and see if I’m wrong.
Sometimes it is hard to strike up a conversation with a new person. Not all of us are outgoing, nor are we naturally gifted at relating easily. Some of us wonder what we will say or what will happen if the person rejects us.
While these feelings are natural that many of us experience, sometimes we have to conquer our fears and be bold. I write this because someone did it for me. Someone, was able to overcome their feelings of fear and engage with me.
Actually, I think most of us will be surprised at the outcome if we step out in faith and welcome a new person into our community of faith.
Ultimately a visitor has made a bold step to visit, it's up to us to be brave and open the relational door.
Have you ever walked into a room full of people – particularly a room full of people you don’t know? I’m sure most of us have. It is quite daunting.
What a difference it makes when one person in that whole room, smiles at you. What a difference it makes when one person, comes over and welcomes you in!
Over these next few weeks we can expect to have a surge of visitors. People are going to walk into our worship space that is full of people and not know anyone.
The thing is, each of us can make a difference. All of us have the muscles that can make a smile. All of us have the ability to walk over and welcome someone we don’t know, or someone who we can clearly see is new.
One person can make a difference!
It's over. Christmas is done, the food is mostly gone and some of the presents are already used up or broken. We now have another whole year to wait for the next one! For some people the only memory of Christmas is the debt that they have incurred.
If Christmas is only about gifts, and food and parties then we are a sorry lot of people. Our lives ride or fall on a wonderful present or a good time.
But...Christmas is far more than that, more than an excuse of self-indulgence. The post-Christmas blues do not have to influence our year. The gift of Christmas keeps on giving, it always remains, always abides, is always present.
Maybe your chance to share faith this Christmas time comes after the event, when people are intuitively looking for more. The more, is of course - Jesus.
When we point people towards him they are never disappointed.
May this new year bring you closer to Jesus as your heart open further to his will.