"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Matthew 28 v 18 - 20
Well, I’m off to Russia tomorrow for three weeks and I’m afraid my blog is going to have to take a back seat for that time. If you do end up missing the regular updates please feel free to read some of my older articles you perhaps didn’t read first time round. I especially recommend my series on Calvinism found under the ‘Holiday Series’ tab. It’s always good to study the basics of the Christian faith!
And as I personal request I’d love it if you could pray for me as I go to Russia. I’m part of a mission team run by Edinburgh CU’s very own Matt Tyndale and there are eight of us going to help out on a Russian camp. We’ll be teaching English, being Scottish and generally just trying to help out wherever possible and make friends. Obviously language/cultural barriers could be an issue. Although my grasp of the Russian language has progressed from being able to say ‘yes’ to being able to say ‘no’ as well!
I'm feeling nervous/excited/nervous about it all. It's my first time abroad for ten years! And the camp facilities are interesting to say the least. On the other hand: it's Russia! A country which has the saying: "to think is enough". You can see why I like it.
So pray that as a team we’ll support one another, pray that God uses us to the best of our capabilities and for his glory and pray that the camp runs smoothly and that God might work in great power and authority. And pray that I would remember the above promise that surely Jesus will be with me always until the very end of the age.
Once I get back from Russia I plan to spend August writing about Christian Economics so watch this space for that. I admit I’ve not been that disciplined as I should in updating this blog at least twice a week. There’s no excuse for it, I had plenty of time but hopefully I’ll come back from Russia with renewed resolve to bush back those boundaries of ignorance.
As they say in Russia:
Ya vas liubliu!
Life involves waiting. I’m so cool that I’m waiting for the second part of the Doctor Who finale on Saturday, I’m waiting to travel to Russia next week on Friday, on a broader scale I’m waiting to finish university and get a job, I’m waiting for the day when I’m declared Emperor of the World. I’m waiting for my next pay cheque to come in, I’m waiting for the advert on Spotify to go away, I’m waiting for a lot of things.
I imagine I’m not alone in this. You’re probably waiting for something as well, waiting with baited breath and a thudding heart for this post to go up...or not. The point is that waiting is a common and universal experience. And most of us hate it.
This is never more applicable when it comes to spiritual matters. I’ve been waiting for three or four prayers to be answered for the past six months or so. You hear stories of people who had to wait forty years before their prayers were answered. If you turn to the Bible then you’’ find story after story about waiting. Jesus waited thirty years before he began his ministry, Moses had to wait until he was 80 before he was appointed leader of the Israelites and Noah had to wait as much as a century for the flood to come.
So the first thing to note about waiting is that it is a perfectly normal experience. The question is though: if God loves us why do we have to wait? How should we wait?
“Hear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.”
Psalm 86 v 1
By all accounts Bellevue Baptist Church is hardly what one would describe as a thriving church. Quite the opposite in fact: on a Sunday service a good congregation would be anything just into double figures, in September the capital we’ve been living off for the last twenty years runs out and my Father will have to stop taking a salary. Humanly speaking my Church is slowly but inexorable dying. We are quite literally poor and needy both financial and spiritually.
And it’s hard. Let this be the first thing I say. It’s very hard. I find it easy to get bitter about it hearing faithful biblical teaching week after week knowing that there are other churches out there with huge congregations and terrible theology. It is easy as well to get angry, why is my church so small? Why hasn’t God answered our prayers yet? Why has another week gone by with no new people coming in? And it’s also easy to feel depressed about it all – there’s no hope for the church, Bellevue Baptist is going to fade away and no one outside of the small congregation is going to notice let alone care.