Minister’s Letter March 2020

Minister’s Letter March 2020 by Rev’d Phil Snelson

Dear Friends,

It is good to be writing to you in the context of my “new” (adjusted) role as a full-time minister with the Northampton Methodist Churches.  I have completed my transition out of the full-time appointment at Emmanuel and will now only be an occasional visitor.  I am looking forward to spending more time with you all!

I am particularly looking forward to Lent and our Bible studies at Roade, Park Avenue and St Andrews.  We are using material from Churches Together in Britain & Ireland and it is based on the story of the Emmaus road and the disciples remarking how their ‘hearts burned within them’ as Jesus opened the Scriptures to them while they walked.  We’re not asking you to literally walk, but it would be good for as many as possible to “walk together” through this series of studies during Lent.  We’ve also planned with the Local Preachers & Worship Leaders to follow the same scripture passages in the services.  This means we’ll all begin thinking about the scripture on Sunday and then to look further together in the study groups in the week.  Meeting together is so important as we learn from each other, encourage one another and pray together – I do understand not everyone is able to be there in the week, but do please join us if you can.

The Bible is a book like no other, a most wonderful library of writings through which God speaks to us in such a special way… and there is always more to discover even if you’ve read a verse or passage many times before.  Sometimes in a particular moment God speaks just the right a word into our hearts as we read or as the Spirit reminds us of his Word.  I will always remember a time I was on a train to London, reading from Ephesians 4 verse 11-16.  I use the NLT as my general reading translation and in this passage it talks about how God is at work through leaders and ministries helping the church to grow ‘in every way more and more like Christ’ and that this will ‘continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.’  And I felt most surely that God was whispering to me: “That’s my plan for you.”  Just read it again slowly.  What an astonishing and incredible privilege that God will make us in every way like Jesus Christ, that we will measure up to Him!!!  Not, of course, through our own efforts but by the glorious grace of God.  My heart lifts in thanks and praise every time I think of it – you might even say it “burns” within me!

I wonder what experiences you have of God inspiring you through the Scriptures?  Be encouraged and share God’s encouragement to you with others.  Pray and ask Jesus to open his word to you, and may your heart “burn” within as he does.

God’s richest blessings in Christ,