Dear Hope family,

Thought for the Week

Witnessing for Jesus

Acts 1v8 “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses …”  (NIV)

This week, a release of census results showed that the average age of people identifying as Christian has risen from 45 to 51 over the last 10 years. This is no great surprise as we know that younger people are much less likely to identify as Christian. Our culture is moving away from Christian understandings. But we also qualify these statistics with the fact that many self-identify “Christian” as a cultural label rather than a testimony of God’s spiritual birth.

This backdrop means that Christ’s gospel is becoming more radical in our culture. It is pertinent that a survey published a year ago showed that while most denominations in the UK are declining, those growing are those that proclaim God’s Word, even where different to the cultural flow.

My sense is that our Hope church family actually do pretty well at witnessing to those around us. Some have shared stories on Sunday mornings, while others have quietly had opportunities in their daily lives. For some, this has meant speaking out to strangers. For others, this has meant loving their neighbours and being ready to open conversations about Jesus over a drink or to offer to pray to “the God who can”. For still others it has meant watching a Christian programme with someone or giving out gospels. May God enable us to continue in this as a family and to encourage one another in it.

So just coming back to the above verse:

  • Am I a witness? Well I am, if I have experienced something! In this case, God at work, the power of Jesus to forgive and the work to the Holy Spirit to change me.
  • How can I be effective? It is not about me, but the Holy Spirit working through me with his power. Remember too the words from last Sunday – Love, Listen, Learn and Lord.

May God bring much fruit in your life this year.

With love and blessing,