September 2018

God’s Big Story

Everything we do at All Saints’ Marple, whether it be Sunday Worship, Healing on the Streets, Little Ark or one of the many other activities we do at CONNECT, is centred around a core purpose, a core reason which is:

“We want to give ALL people
the opportunity to encounter Jesus,
we want to encourage ALL people
to follow Jesus in their daily lives
and we want ALL people to feel confident
in sharing their faith-filled lives with others.”

In 2011, the Willow Creek Church in America carried out an extensive survey to identify which out of the many activities and programmes they run delivered the greatest spiritual growth. Or put another way, they asked which activities were most effective in helping people grow in their love of God and in their love of others. This is an incredibly powerful question and If we asked ourselves this same question I wonder what answers we would give. Out of the many things we do in our daily lives, our work, our family, our friends and our church, what helps us to love God more and love each other?

Willow Creek learned something quite startling and yet incredibly simple. They found
that it wasn’t church activity but personal spiritual practices, including prayer and Bible reading that had far more influence on their spiritual journey. In fact, they discovered if churches could do only one thing in helping people grow in their maturity with their relationship with Jesus then the choice was crystal clear. They would need to inspire, encourage and equip their people to read the Bible – specifically to reflect on Scripture for meaning in their lives.

My heart as vicar of All Saints’ is to see us grow deeper in our love of God, our love of
each other and deepen our maturity of faith. Two of the things that we see as essential in achieving this are growing in our prayer life and in our knowledge and ability to reflect on Scripture. Prayer is an essential way we both talk to God and listen for His voice, and can be done individually and corporately together with others. To encourage us in our prayers we have been running half-nights of prayer as well as a half-morning of prayer. It was wonderful and heartening to see over twenty people gathered from 4.00am to pray for our church, town and world at our last prayer meeting. We have also recently launched, ‘One Hundred Days of Prayer’ and are sending out via email small one-minute videos to encourage people to pray for each other, the church and the world.

Throughout Autumn, our sermon series is going to be based around the ‘The Bible
Course’ produced by the Bible Society. This sermon series is ambitious in its scope
because it aims to tell the big story of God by looking at the Bible as though it were a
theatre play in 6 acts: Creation, Fall, Israel, Jesus, The Church, and finally, Jesus
Coming Again. There will be extra material produced by the Bible Society for Life Groups to use too. It is our hope that as we understand God’s great big story that runs through the whole Bible we will be able to grow in our understanding and love of Scripture. However, the Bible isn’t something that we just want to study and understand, we believe that it is the living word of God and has the ability to speak God’s truths to us today. My hope is that as we journey together through God’s Big Story in the coming months we will be inspired, encouraged and equipped to read the Bible, and specifically be able to reflect on scripture for meaning in our lives.

Lord, give us a hunger to grow deeper with You
Give us a fire in our hearts to pray to You and listen for You
Fill us with you Holy Spirit so that as we read Your Holy Scriptures
we would understand more fully Your Word
and grow in our love of You and our love of each other
Help us to be Your light to our world

Every blessing in Christ,
Daniel Currie (Vicar)

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