Pastor’s Message: June

Dear Friends,

We held our Annual General Meeting in the month of May and it was a time for great thanksgiving, because God has been abundantly gracious to us through this last year. At our previous AGM we recorded the fact that we were facing a great financial challenge trying to maintain the demands of our current ministry, but the accounts in this current meeting showed that God has stirred the hearts of many and our giving has increased to the level whereby we can maintain our ministries and may even consider developing some. We give Thanks to God, but we also thank those who have sacrificially responded to this need.

In the same meeting we considered the issue of the new General Data Protection Regulation. As of 25th May 2018 in order to protect personal details, as a church we have to meet certain clear regulations in order that we might not compromise the privacy of another person. It is important that we treat everyone with due respect and do nothing to endanger or compromise them. This is good, but it can drive us to a place where we are so concerned with personal privacy, that it is impossible to fulfil the law of Christ, by bearing one another’s burdens. One of the hallmarks of genuine Christianity is that we Love One Another, even when we are aware of personal failure.

That is how God loves us. He knows us in a way that we perhaps don’t fully understand. Ps 139 gives us wonderful insights into the intimate knowledge God has of all His Creation, that includes you and me. David, who wrote this Psalm is able to say “O Lord, you have searched me and known me!” (v.1) No matter how securely we might try to conceal the details of our lives God knows where we are and who we are. He is aware of our movements “You know when I sit down and when I rise up; (v.2.); the same verse tells us that he know our every thought, “you discern my thoughts from afar.”

There are times when we regret saying a particular thing, and thankfully at other times we manage to bite our lips, but v.4 tells us “Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.” God knows what has driven us and we will be called to account for every misused word.

At other times we feel that we are hidden in the privacy of our own homes or under the cover of darkness, but David knew the reality of this as well
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night”,
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
At times this was a great comfort to him, when he suffered the persecution of King Saul, but he knew that he had no hiding place when he broke his own marriage commitments and was the means of a faithful soldier losing his life.

It is right that we keep the law and defend the privacy of another, but we must never delude ourselves into thinking that “all our secrets are safe”. God knows each and everyone and those that we have tried to hide from those closest to us and even from ourselves as individuals, pretending “I’m not really that bad” are naked before him. For these we will have to give an account, but God, through the Bible is clear “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jn 1:9) God knows the details of our lives and Christ has paid the full price for each and every sin of each and every believer, so we do not need to hide from him.

How does Data Protection help us in our relationships with each other and before God? It is vital that we are open before God and where necessary before each other and just as God is willing to forgive the sins of all who confess, so we should be willing to forgive one another.

Grateful for His Grace,

Bernard Lewis June 2018

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