PUTTING GOD FIRST
Willesborough Baptist Church,
God is calling us to put him first -
in our individual lives, and as a church community.
Listen to the messages below to hear at first hand what has been shared about how we should individually respond to God's challenge, and what that will mean in practical terms as we go forward together.
The links below allow these messages to be played online or downloaded.
What have we heard from God?
The elders have shared openly about the things they had received from God for the spiritual focus of the church during the coming years.
If you missed these important sessions, or want to hear any of them again, you can listen directly to the things that were said using the links above.Here is a written summary of what was shared:
In waiting on God, the elders were led to Revelation 2: 1-7
- a commendation from God on all that is being done in the church
- but God's sadness at us slipping away from our first love
The elders heard that they must be the first to sort out their own personal attitudes to God. They must lead from the front.
God wants the church to take note of and act on four things:
- He wants us to return to our first love - the unconditional, total and exciting love that we felt when we first fell in love with Jesus
- He wants us to learn together how to magnify and glorify his name
- He want to us to come to him in renewed repentance and surrender
- He wants us to put him in his rightful place, in the centre of our lives - regaining that lost centre, and moving back to putting God where he ought to be.
A light to shine upon the road that leads me to the Lamb!
Where is the blessedness I knew, when first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul refreshing view of Jesus and His Word?
The dearest idol I have known, whate’er that idol be
Help me to tear it from Thy throne, and worship only Thee.
So shall my walk be close with God, calm and serene my frame;
So purer light shall mark the road that leads me to the Lamb.
We were also reminded of words from another hymn, by Timothy Dudley-Smith,
and we make these our prayer for the coming year at WBC:
Christ over all, our undivided aim.
Lord of the church, we seek a Father’s blessing,
a true repentance and a faith restored.
Lord of the church, we long for our uniting,
true to one calling, by one vision stirred.
What does it mean in practice?
As we move forward together, the first thing that has come through to us is that our spiritual focus as a church has got to underpin the whole of our engagement focus as a church.
We've got to get back to that place where we are centering and focusing on him - where we are putting him first.
We've got to attend to those things that are spiritual disciplines as a church - individually and as we come together corporately.
This challenge from God to centre on him is in fact no different to the things he told us in 2008, when he called us to be a "growing, God-centred community".
It means that we've all got to prioritise our devotion to God - and the individual prioritisation of our devotion to God has got to impact our collective life together as a church.
In practical terms, we sense the need to get beyond what we enjoy of God on Sunday mornings. We have to have more opportunities to spend time together collectively focusing on God:
- in worship, in sharing God's word
- in spontaneous sharing of what God is saying or doing,
- in sharing testimony, in expressing gifts, in encouraging one another
- in praying for each other, ministering to each other in prayer, interceding in prayer
- in reflecting, listening, opening ourselves to God to hear from him
- in sharing communion together, in praying for healing together.
And we've got to turn this into a practical reality - getting beyond the formality and the structure of Sunday morning - and getting to that place where as a worshipping community we focus on God, we put him in his rightful place - and as we exalt him through his Spirit, we encourage and we edify one another.This is the challenge: we want to put God in that place at the very centre of WBC. He is all to us. He is everything we stand for as a church and we pin our faith, our trust, our hope and our service on the great God that he is.
And let those who love your salvation say continually,
“Let God be magnified!”