Side by Side – Part 1 (of 3)

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In 1 Timothy 5:1-16 the Apostle Paul offers advise to Timothy (and those in the church that he leads) for honouring others – ‘Give honour to those widows who are really in need’ (5:3).

As he explains this advise, Paul is quite helpful in offering some suggestion in how to treat each widow differently given their particular situation – to the widow with children or grandchildren allow her family to care; to the godly widow who is alone offer her help; to the widow who has no interest in the things of God, exercise care if you help; to the faithful widow who is over sixty put her on the care list, but to the widow under sixty do not. All very specific!

Why?

The driving principle here  is that the church of Jesus should be a help to those who are in most need (5:16) and if there are others like family members who should bear that responsibility, then allow them to do as such.

I take it that there are limited resources and that the wisdom here is to give priority to those who are most at risk- and at that time, it would have been the widow.

In this and the next post, I want to make two observations that may be helpful for our church family. Then in a third post a want to recommend a helpful book.

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The Shepherd and the Sheep

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Friends I want to try and put into words a tension I feel and that I know many Pastors experience as they ‘shepherd’ those in their care.

And in doing so I hope to correct what I think is a faulty expectation about the role of the Shepherd in caring for the flock.

Then I would like to ask for your prayers – both for me and our church family.

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How well do you know the songs we sing at Trinity City?

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How well do you know the songs we sing at Trinity City?
Mark Peterson helpfully considers the nourishing effect of a good song repertoire sung over a long period.
Our repertoire contains about 100 contemporary congregational songs, plus a wide selection of traditional hymns. Occasionally it has been suggested to me that this is too many because it is difficult to learn so many songs well enough to sing them with gusto on Sundays. It has also been suggested a smaller list that changes more regularly, or drawing on more songs from well known sources to enable visitors from other churches to be instantly familiar with our material. I have thought about this long and hard over the years.

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Lessons Learned

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Friends it has been a while since the last 5pm Update (a good indication that things have been a bit full on!) – in fact there has not been an update since I returned from Study Leave for Easter. Thanks for allowing me time to get away.

Study Leave meant that I could attend a series of Conferences, visit a series of Churches and check-out some theological colleges. Refreshing? – Yes! Challenging? – At times! Educational? – Mostly! Beneficial? – I hope so, but you will need to be the judge of that.

There were so many times that I just felt immensely thankful to God for Trinity City and for 5pm Church and for the leaders we have and for the ministry that we do – and thankful because I could see other examples in the States of similar ministries or conversely I could see examples of things that were not done half as well as how Trinity does it (under God of course).

Here are 5 reflections with 5 corresponding challenges which may be of benefit for us.

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How to make Easter more than just overpriced chocolate!?

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We are less than a month out from Easter – that wonderful weekend of the year when we remember and celebrate the clearest demonstration of God’s love for his people – sending his son to the cross for those, like me, who don’t deserve this incredible act of grace.

The Easter weekend is also the weekend when the greatest number unbelieving folk walk into our gathering. Get that – they walk into Trinity City and 5pm Church under their own steam.Trinity City 'Five by 5' Challenge - hand

So how can you plan to make the most of this opportunity – not only for those that you meet that weekend at church, but also for those friends, family and colleagues who you might find will easily accept your invitation.

Here are some suggestions:

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A Leap Year of Affliction?

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Thirty days hath September,Pirates of Penzance
 April, June and November;
All the rest have thirty-one

 Save February, she alone
Hath eight days and a score
Till leap year gives her one day more.

The 29th February plays a pivotal role in the Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera The Pirates of Penzance. In the story the hero Frederic realizes his pirate apprenticeship binds him till his 21st birthday, but as his birthday falls on the 29th of February it only occurs every fourth year, meaning he would have to wait to his 84th year before he was released from his bonds.

Frederic is a pirate who wants redemption!

Here is a question to consider. What makes our burdens and afflictions so difficult?

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Why leave a ‘church’?

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The question ‘Why leave a ‘church?’ may be a dangerous question to ask, especially on a church blog!

The reality is that all churches have people leave them – for both wise and unwise reasons. It is worth spending some time thinking about why one would take the step of leaving a ‘church’ and then further considering how to do that well. That said, I am hoping that no one reading this will in fact leave 5pm Church as a result!Trinity City 'Five by 5' Challenge - hand

In the previous two articles we have considered ‘What is ‘Church’?’ and then ‘What to expect of ‘Church’?‘ which as background should help establish that leaving a church should be thought about carefully – that is not a decision that should be made hastily or prayerlessly. If ‘church’ is about God’s people gathering as a family in Christ around his Word, it should give some pause for thought to a person when deciding to stay or to go. Leaving means leaving a family and a place where God’s word should be key to their fellowship.

Changing churches or leaving church altogether is no small thing.

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What to expect of ‘Church’?

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The beginning of the year is often the time when people check out church (‘It is a new year, thought I would give it a go’), join church (‘I have moved and want to make this my church’) or leave church (‘I am making a life change’).

As such, it is reasonable that one consider ‘What should I expect of ‘Church’?’.

In the last update Trinity City 'Five by 5' Challenge - handwe considered ‘What is Church?’ and suggested that church was a place for believers (whilst still open to not-yet believers) and a place where God’s people gathered as a family in Christ. Expectations of church then are important because they help a person decide whether this church is doing what it should be or not.

There are a couple of ways to arrive at an answer.

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What is ‘Church’?

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Christians do Church. Some more regularly than others!

Why on earth do we commit ourselves to regularly going to Church? To answer that, let’s first think theologically about ‘church’.

What is ‘Church’?Trinity City 'Five by 5' Challenge - hand

Presumable if we are to be members of church, we need to understand what Church is!

Very simply, Church is an assembly of God’s people.

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