Aug 02

martinswanCome now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

— James 4:13–14

This being my last letter for the circuit, I thought I would take this opportunity to remind each of us about the need for God to be at the centre of all our plan making. The Bible doesn’t condemn the person who makes plans for the future. Rather, it criticises the person or fellowship that makes those plans with no thought whatsoever for the will of God. That is a dangerous thing to do. God won’t share His glory with another.

There is nothing wrong with making plans. Paul told the believers in Ephesus that he would return for renewed ministry amongst them, “God willing” (Acts 18:21). He wrote to the Corinthians that he planned another visit “if the Lord willed” (1 Corinthians 4:19). On other occasions, Paul spoke of his plans to do certain things and how the Lord changed his plans. We have our plans. We have our purposes. We have our agendas. But the Lord may redirect us.

Jesus taught us to pray, “Your will be done” (Luke 11:2). Our prayers will be effective and successful when we align our will with the will of God and pray accordingly.

Prayer is not getting our will in heaven; it is getting God’s will on earth. It is not moving God our way; it is moving ourselves His way.

We need to remember that His will may be different from ours. And we must be willing to accept that.

The God who knows you inside out also knows what lies ahead for you in life. We can always fall back on the simple promise of Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

So as we prepare to go our separate ways, I want to encourage you that, God’s plans for you are better than any plans you have for yourself. So don’t be afraid of God’s will, even if it’s different from yours.

Every Blessing

Reverend Martin Swan

 

written by Park Avenue Methodist Church

Jul 02

philsnelson2No doubt you’ve heard of “Street Pastors” but I wonder if you’ve heard about “School Pastors”.  Street Pastors patrol the streets of the town late on Friday and Saturday nights to help and support vulnerable people who are part of the night-life.  School Pastors have a similar principle but their role is to help and support young people on their way home from school in the afternoon.

It was very exciting last October, when the Community Safety Partnership (CSP) approached Street Pastors to ask whether they could provide support for school children.  From there, Richard Johnson, the chair of Street Pastors in Northampton, invited me and one or two others to be part of the new project.  Based on the national initiative for School Pastors we began to put together a proposal for a pilot scheme based in Northampton East.  Gradually we have arrived at a School Pastors project that will run for a year starting in September 2014 with the hope that not only will that continue but further projects for other areas of Northampton will then be approved.

The project is a partnership between CSP, Street Pastors, the local churches and Northampton Academy, all working together to help young people feel and be safer on their way home.  The initial patrols will be on a Thursday afternoon with School Pastors patrolling together in two’s or three’s – never on their own!  School Pastors have to be people who’ve been members of a recognised church for at least two years and so far we have an initial team of seven people on the training programme.  Our commissioning service is on 18th July, 7:30pm at St Giles in town.

It is so exciting that the local authorities are coming to the Church (in the form of Street Pastors) for help in the community.  What is more, CSP are already keen to fund and promote further schemes across Northampton.  It seems to me it makes all the difference, and “the world” notices, when the whole church sets aside our denominational interests and simply does mission together as one: Street Pastors and School Pastors are good examples of just that.

So the challenge is laid down to us as the Church to support and serve our community!!

We really need churches and groups to support the work in prayer, starting now with the training and preparing the way and then on into supporting the patrols from September onwards.

We also need more volunteers to train and become School Pastors as the project grows.  Karen is our co-ordinator if you want to know more (coordinator@northampton.streetpastors.org.uk).
There is also a Northampton School Pastors website with more information:  http://www.northampton.streetPastors.org.uk/school-pastors/

Thank you for your support and prayers,

Yours in Christ,

philsig

written by Park Avenue Methodist Church