In September our prayer theme is God – who knows all, is with us all the time and who can do all. The current pandemic situation is making us focus on ourselves and our situations. As Christians our God is with us through every situation. For this month we want to recognise and thank God for being with us and engaged with us each moment of the day.
Psalm 92 can help us frame our prayers around the nature of God. Verse 1 encourages to give thanks to God and to sing praises. Verse 2 urges us to proclaim our unfailing love in the morning and to recognise God’s faithfulness in the evening. Let’s acknowledge this month in our prayers the majesty, love and compassion that God shows us each day.
I think we are all aware that these are understandably challenging times which can stretch us in so many ways. Let me encourage you to stay connected with God (Look up), stay aware of your own mental and spiritual health (Look in), and stay connected with those around you – family, friends and your neighbours in the broadest sense (Look out). “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own” Matthew 6:34
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, therefore I will wait for him” Lamentations 3:22-24
All three services at CBC will be invited to join together in 21 days of prayer in the lead up to, and early days, of the Church Health Review – Tim Burns, the Senior Church Consultant, will be preaching at CBC on Sunday the 8th August.
Everyone at CBC will either receive a daily short reminder to pray (if they have a mobile phone), or will receive a weekly email/letter with the same reminder. The church leadership are keen to see everyone engaging with the process and to be seeking God’s will and plan for Carlingford Baptist Church as we embark on a new season together.
Church Wide Pastoral Care, Support & Encouragement – July 2021
Since the events of the past few weeks and the reintroduction of significant restrictions being placed on those who reside in the greater Sydney region, we find ourselves in a situation that echoes much of what we went through in 2020 – and we hoped would not be repeated.
The overall policy of “physical distancing” while fostering “social connection” raises genuine issues for Christian churches and a whole range of other community and religious groups. We are not alone in this. Regardless of any strategies we may implement, this season will test our resilience, and creativity, in the weeks ahead.
We are already seeing our services return to the “on-line” option. In addition we are finding an increase in “Zoom” meetings rather than the preferred method of meeting in person. Council meetings, interviews for the Youth & Young Adult Worker position and other necessary meetings that would normally be conducted face to face have all be conducted via Zoom over the last few days.
The uncertainty and isolation can lead to people feeling anxious – managing our anxiety will be crucial for our overall health. Whilst there is no “one size fits all” response to this there are some strategies we can all implement.
Look up – be aware that God is with you. “He is our strength and refuge”. Deliberately take the time to feed your soul during this time, rest in the Scriptures, look at reading some books you have overlooked in your bookshelf [anything by Richard Foster, Phillip Yancey, Eugene Peterson, Tom Wright will encourage and challenge you], try one of the many devotional Apps available [I use Lectio365 – which can be downloaded for free on your phone] which has a short morning and evening reflective devotion]
Look in – if you are feeling anxious [and that’s OK] ask yourself “what is it I am worried about?” Share your feelings with trusted friends or with one of the pastors or elders. Don’t let anxious thoughts define who you are during this time. “I’d say you’d do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best not the worst; the beautiful not the ugly; things the praise, not things to curse” Phil 4:8 The Message
Look out – Reach out to others to encourage them, to speak out life and truth. “Love one another” Be conscious of the Spirit’s prompting and act on it. Keep up regular connections with family and friends. If the Spirit prompts you to give someone a call, give them a call. Pray for those who you know may be vulnerable during this lockdown.
Be thankful – “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” 1 Thess 5:18
The Pastoral Care Team – Joy, Margaret, Rachael, Dianne, Sid – are checking in with each other each week by Zoom and are making calls to see how individuals are going. Thanks to Dianne for her weekly prayer update!
Thank you and blessings to you as we journey together through this season … Pastor Sid