I loved gathering my team in Exeter for 3 days last week, to train them about 'loving the church' and to build the new team together over good food, an open Bible, walking in Dartmoor and various other contexts. I'm thankful for gospel-loving colleagues and partners and for the hospitality of Kathy and two households from our church who accomodated us. Thankful also for the opportunity to serve another UCCF team with the same training later in the week, airing the study from my sabbatical. But, hence no blogging.
My great aunt died on Thursday, we heard of home group members facing difficult situations, people facing complicated situations, opportunities to love, opportunities to suffer together and to rejoice together, to be body. Good as it was to study 1 Cor 12-14 with my team I find myself painfully aware of past failure to live in light of the gospel, times I've taken the easier gospel-dodging way.
I had a nightmare train journey home from Southampton on Friday, a short delay on a train led to a missed connection and a 90 minute delay and a taxi from Yeovil to Exeter... the highlight was a phone call from a ministry partner who humbled me by his confession "All we have is the gospel" - how often I think more highly of me, how often I think I'm entitled to better, to trains on time, to having things my own way.
Today was mostly spent with our church family and guests, and then we had the honour of hearing from a former colleague now working with an IFES movement. In view of a really encouraging week it was sobering to realise the privileges we have of strong church partnerships, students who love the gospel and love to have God's word open, something to rejoice in but not take for granted. The week ahead includes time in Exeter, Bristol and Plymouth, meeting with church leaders and colleagues, mentoring recent graduates, preparing evangelistic talks and a day with my supervisor. I have a sense of my inadequacy for the tasks ahead but also of the sufficiency of God's grace and the ongoing support of his people as I stumble along.
No blogging for a week and then a dose of personal stuff...