May Update

As part of my devotions a few weeks ago, I was reading Ps 51. If you have time this week I encourage you to read the psalm and particularly to dwell in verses 10-18. It is a wonderful reminder of the power of Easter that’s available to us all today.

Ps 51 is a deeply honest and heartfelt prayer of David and I’ve often prayed it myself. 

David, like us all, had messed up. He cried out for forgiveness and now he cries out for victory. When we sin we do not lose our salvation but we may lose the joy of our salvation (v.12a). David doesn’t want to be defeated by sin, he wants joy!

All this starts with ‘a broken and contrite heart’ (v.17b). We can be absolutely certain that if we come to God in this way we will not be rejected: ‘A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise’ (v.17b).

David also prays that he might live a life of victory. It’s worth noting that David’s prayer is not purely personal. He prays that he might also have an impact on the city (v.18). 

As a church community we want to join with other churches across Maidstone to have an impact on our town and beyond. One of the ways we can do this is through prayer. So as part of the national Church of England initiative ’Thy Kingdom Come’ I want to invite you to pray intentionally for 5 people you know to come to know Jesus for themselves. Perhaps you might set a reminder on your phone, write their names on a post-it note on your bathroom mirror or fridge door to remind you to pray for them.

To also help us in our prayers here is a series of daily devotions you can use between Ascension (Thur 9 May) and Pentecost Sunday (Sun 19 May). I hope you will also join us for Firefall on Pentecost Sunday 15 May 6pm, as we worship Jesus with other churches and pray for an outpouring of God’s Spirit on His church for evangelism and witness.

A Prayer from Psalm 51

Lord, I pray for a pure heart (v.10a), a persevering spirit (v.10b), the presence of God (v.11a), the power of the Spirit (v.11b) and the pleasure of salvation to be restored to me (v.12a). I pray for a trusting spirit (v.12b) and that I would be able to teach your ways (v.13a), turning people back to you (v.13b). I pray for a tongue that worships you. ‘O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise’ (vv.14b–15). I pray for the transformation of our society (v.18).

Amen

May God pour out his Spirit on us, giving us boldness to share the good news of Jesus.

Personal News

I shared at the APCM, that I have been encouraged to take a sabbatical. I’ve been in ministry for over 30yrs and not yet been able to take up what is considered to be such an important spiritual discipline for clergy. I’m pleased that my sabbatical has been approved by Bishop Rose and I’d be grateful for your prayers as I plan it.

Typically clergy are asked to take a 3-month sabbatical plus any annual leave. My plan is to take this in two blocks. Part 1 will be from 1 July to 15 September and part 2 from 16 December to 16 January. More details will follow including what plans are in place for the leadership oversight at St Luke’s in my absence. 

For now I’d greatly appreciate your prayers as I plan for a ‘God-rich’ time of renewal, rest, study and family time. 

With God’s love and blessing,

Gareth

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