When People Leaving Is Good

I love growth. I’m excited and encouraged when new people join our church. I am even more excited when they stay. I find it hard to say goodbye or to let go. When you have a small congregation (and the structure of what we have done in Bearwood means that we have a cluster of small congregations) it is painful and maybe discouraging when people leave. It can even be frightening. We don’t have a guaranteed steady pipeline of new people coming to fill the gaps.

Yet, there are sometimes good reasons why people leave. I’ve hinted and mentioned these in previous posts. Recently, I did some analysis about why/how people come and join us but I also included some analysis on why people leave.

Here are three good reasons for people to leave: Continue reading


Spiritual Anticipation

Yesterday our church family were excited and joyful about a few things. First of all, we celebrated the recent birth of a baby girl to one family with a thanksgiving and dedication. Secondly, we congratulated a young couple who have got engaged. Everyone was talking about the wedding, when, where, etc. Thirdly, we are anticipating another couple having a baby in the summer. There will be new parents, grandparents, uncles and aunties.

The other week I sat with a church member by the bedside of a dying relative. Over the past week I’ve been in regular touch with them to see how they were doing. We’ve also been concerned for other families where there is acute ill health, in a couple of cases its related to aging. As well as sharing in joy and excitement, we share in sadness and concern too. Continue reading

Reflections on grief

“Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)

In our sermon notes on 2 Samuel 1, we started with a few examples of “fallen heroes.” This got me thinking about the different ways that we grieve.  I want to highlight 4 ways here. Continue reading

The disciplined life

Being a Christian – is good when everything is going well. I’m getting on at work, family are happy, health is good, everyone is enjoying church. We often call this “blessing”

But what about when things are not going well. Or what about when the preacher says things I don’t want to hear?  What if they even tell me I’m in the wrong and I need to change course. How do I feel about that?  We probably don’t call it “blessing.”

Today, we are talking about discipline.  What does it mean to be disciplined as a Christian? Continue reading

Justice in the Church

One of the fascinating things we see in the New Testament is Paul’s confidence in the local church as a place where justice can be done.

“When one of you has a dispute with another believer, how dare you file a lawsuit and ask a secular court to decide the matter instead of taking it to other believers! Don’t you realize that someday we believers will judge the world? And since you are going to judge the world, can’t you decide even these little things among yourselves? Don’t you realize that we will judge angels? So, you should surely be able to resolve ordinary disputes in this life. If you have legal disputes about such matters, why go to outside judges who are not respected by the church? I am saying this to shame you. Isn’t there anyone in all the church who is wise enough to decide these issues? But instead, one believer[b] sues another—right in front of unbelievers!”[1]

This is fascinating. The first place where people should start to receive and experience justice is in the church.  This happens first of all because as we have seen entry to the church is through the Gospel, membership of this new community comes through faith in Christ. This means Continue reading

The Disciplined Life (Five ways that we experience God’s discipline in our lives)

The Bible tells us that discipline is the way that God as a loving heavenly father challenges and corrects us to help us grow in him.

“For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child” (Hebrews 12:6).

The apostle Paul talks about the need for self discipline as we seek to grow He likens it to an athlete preparing to compete.

“24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

Here are some of the ways that we experience discipline in our lives Continue reading

The Difference between condemnation and discipline

Both of these words sound tough and painful yet one of them is something that Christians can and should expect for their benefit.  What’s the difference between the two? Continue reading