Happy New Year! I hope you all had a great Christmas. Have you set any new years resolutions? This year I have decided not to make any resolutions but instead to enjoy being the person God made me to be. That means rejoicing in who I am and not wishing I was somehow different or in need of improvement. Of course I am not perfect but if we love who we are perhaps we might just find the joy we are looking for and as a result might bring the gift of joy to those around us.
On Sunday we were thinking abut the arrival of the Wise Men to visit Jesus and the gifts that they brought. We noticed how their gifts said something about who Jesus was and what he came to do. The gift of gold showed that he is a king, the gift of frankincense showed us that he is a priest acting as a mediator between people and God and the myrrh was an embalming perfume that showed that he was the saviour who would die for the world. We also thought about our gifts and what we might bring to Jesus.
After the service I was particularly struck by a conversation I had with someone where we talked about being nervous about using our gifts in a new way and I continued to think about this on my way home. Being nervous is a natural part of life. Being nervous should not be misunderstood as a sign that you are not good at something but more often than not it is a sign that the thing you are doing is unfamiliar or important to you. When I first started standing up and preaching and leading in church about 18 years ago it was always a scary thing for me to do. I really wanted to do it and really wanted to do it well and I would stand up at the front with my voice quivering slightly and legs like jelly. The more I did it, the more confident I felt. I still get nervous in new situations or if I get asked to do something I haven't done before but the important thing is to not let the nerves get in the way of me using the gifts that God has given me. When I do choose to use my gifts, even when I am afraid at times, it is a form of worship because through my actions I am telling Jesus that he is more important than my feelings.
Inside and outside of church there are lots of opportunities to get involved and to use our gifts. Do continue to think about what your gifts are and look for opportunities to use them in service of God. In church we have a number of opportunities to use our gifts. Here are just three examples:
1) Join the new ATS (All Together Service) team. We are looking for a team of people to plan and lead our monthly service. As well as people to speak at the front, we need people to design and prepare prayer stations, people to find and make power point presentations and people to find videos and activities to help us explore our theme. Speak to Jess or Simon if you would like to get involved.
2) Help Sally and the team to write funding bids for the Refurb project. If you have experience in writing funding applications or would be happy to proof read ones that others have written then please speak to Sally, Gordon or Matt who would love to hear from you.
3) There are lots of maintenance jobs to do around church to keep our building running. If you are good at DIY or happy to learn then Gordon and Tim would love to hear from you.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people. Remember that the Lord will give you as a reward what he has kept for his people. For Christ is the real Master you serve. (Colossians 3:23-24)