The last few Sundays at LBC have been a great encouragement. Last Sunday was no exception.
Another testimony of someone being healed, this time John. Prior to that we'd heard from Dee, Richard, and Audrey. Ralph had also shared his experience of the sufficiency of the Lord's grace in the face of terminal cancer. You could feel a rise of faith in the room each time we heard these wonderful stories. We've also had two men become Christians over the last couple of weeks, David and Adam. Further still we've seen a significant change in the atmosphere surrounding our Friday night youth work. We highlighted the urgency of the need this time last year as the increasing numbers of young people and police involvement was making the viability of the ministry uncertain. We started to pray and saw a marked change so much so that now we hear that the police have officially recognised that things have improved in the area significantly.
At some churches this stuff is just ordinary, at LBC, where we've been labouring hard for little obvious fruit, it's immense!
It's been important too that alongside all this we've talked about the "now and the not yet" of the Kingdom - "picket fence" theology as Eleanor Mumford puts it. Sometimes we see God break in in power, healing and saving people but sometimes.....we don't. Now you see it now you don't. Fence, gap, fence, gap.
We continue to remember, therefore, that as we pray for more and greater manifestations of the Lord's glory we trust in His total sovereignty. It's His work and in His mercy He chooses to use us - God uses "means" or "secondary agents" as Calvin likes to put it - but it's all down to Him.
So just as when things are tough and there's not much fruit on the tree we're confident because the gospel tells us we're known, chosen and loved unconditionally so when things are going well and the stuff we've been praying for is happening we're humble because they gospel tells us it's all by grace.