Talking Point – June 2020

This Month from Dr Alison Johnston – Why not put Christ to the test?

Over the weekend of VE Day 75 we had heard some wonderful memories, some so inspirational. Those stories felt so familiar in our world today, with our current battle against COVID-19 and the resultant impact on mental health. They are helping many of us to get through the troubles we encounter in isolation due to the lock down. We are learning again from the building of relationships in ways we had forgotten over time, and to help and share with each other, just as God has done in being here for us. Let us not forget it is a battle for survival we fight; and our front-line key workers are doing this for us. In this we must not forget, and pray for them and for the wonderful work they do.

Reading from John 14:1-14 (NIV), we find the words “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am”.

Now wouldn’t it be great if we had a dream for our church that was so big that we would have to depend on God to accomplish it? And wouldn’t it be great if we searched our hearts and souls with prayer so that our dream would match God’s dream? Wouldn’t it be great if we yearned for the pure spiritual milk that will helps us to grow in our salvation – and which affects the whole world around us?

There have been many surveys in recent years. One general question asked of church leaders is how they believed Christ would rate their church if He were to return today. Fifty-three percent of those leaders believed, on average, that Christ would rate their church as having little or no positive impact on souls or society.

How sad. How very sad indeed. Wouldn’t it be great if we could see concrete evidence that ours is a better community and Caversham is a better place because God’s church is here?

Christ tells us we can see such evidence – if we dream great dreams and if those dreams are to God’s glory and not our own.

What do we desire? What do we long for? All prayer is answered. Even the prayers that we ask strictly for ourselves and for our families.

Sometimes the answer is no, ‘I have plans, trust me in this’. Sometimes it is, ‘no, not yet, the time is not right’. Other times it is ‘yes – I thought you’d never ask’. And still other times it is ‘yes – and just wait to see what else I have in store for you’.

What God does for the faithful, what God allows to happen to them, how God answers their prayer, always works out for the greater good. As that is true for each of us who believe, it is doubly true for us as the church, for those who gather in God’s name to worship, either in the physical sense, which is currently difficult, or virtually, through the technology God gave us the knowledge to develop, so as to work together the works he calls us to.

If we dream a dream for our church and if it is truly God’s dream, then great things will happen and each of us can be part of it.

What is your dream? What do you desire the most? Is it pure spiritual milk that you may grow in your salvation and continue to know that God is good? Is it to do the works of God, even greater works than Christ did, that God’s name may be glorified?

We have a purpose – and we have the tools that we need to accomplish that purpose, so much so that we can do even greater things than did Christ – should we desire to.

Verse 14 of John Chapter 14, Jesus says to us “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” So therefore, I leave you with a question to ponder upon, one which only you can answer – Why not put Christ to the test?

Dr Alison Johnston
Caversham Park Church