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Farewell to 2020!

“Hooray – we’ve nearly made it to the end of 2020!” I’ve heard and felt this sentiment quite a lot as this crazy year comes to a close. While I imagine many of us could find some things to be thankful for this year (at least if we really dig down through the many happenings of the year), I think it’s safe to say that no one expected the whirlwind of 2020! And now that we’re at the end of the year, I’ve been wondering about the hope we’re placing on it ending.

Will everything magically be okay once we shout out, “Happy New Year”?

Will the pandemic instantly cease, racial and political tensions ease, and the comforts we’d like to rely on be readily available to us, just as we want them to be?

Unlikely.

We’re not going to be able to wash all this away by the hours and minutes changing on the clock. But one thing I do know, and what I am learning to trust in more and more, is that one day all these hard things will be washed away. One day, peace will come. No more sickness. No more tension. Only perfection. How do I know this? Because Jesus promises it (and I am learning more and more that Jesus always keeps His promises!):

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away … And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

-Revelation 21:1a, 3-5

So as we gear toward the end of the year, celebrate what you can, and mourn what ought to be mourned. But never lose sight of the hope for those who trust in Jesus – one day, all will be made new. Everyone will be well. Everyone will get along. All will be perfect. Let’s encourage each other to live in light of that glorious day, through the start of 2021 and onward, for the rest of our lives! In any sickness, in any relational tension, in any and every circumstance we can have hope, because of our Saviour who gave us hope – by coming to earth as a helpless infant, growing up to die to take our sins on himself, and rising again to new life: real, everlasting, full life that is promised to all who realise that their wrongs need forgiving, and that God is the only one who can do that (and He is so, so willing!)

Real hope, forever.

HOW DOES THE KINGDOM GROW HERE? // Luke 13:10-21

An unfortunate technical error means that the in person version of this message failed to record. However, in a providential coincidence, we recorded this message for an online service that did not get used due to changing restrictions. The recording below is taken from that online version.

Passage: Luke 13:10-21

Speaker: John Cook

Baptism is All About Jesus

Passages: Various, including Romans 6:3-4

Speaker: John Cook

What is Baptism? Is it important? If so, how important? Who is it for? This week we looked at the Bible’s teaching on Baptism, and were drawn by the Word of God to the conclusion that Baptism is a declaration and dramatisation of the power of the cross to those who have faith.