Some of you may remember an old, old chorus which goes: Count your blessings, name them one by one, count your blessings, see what God has done! I must confess this is something I don’t tend to do as much as I should at the end of each year. But thankfulness should be part of our Christian life, and it is good to be reminded as we go into the New Year of all the Lord has done over the past twelve months.
Here are just some of the highlights we have enjoyed in 2018:
Our history festival telling the amazing story of 175 years of St Michael’s – a church that has by God’s grace survived two world wars, destruction in the Blitz and so much more, and even now fulfils the founders’ vision for a poor man’s church in Stoke and Devonport.
Our anniversary service on 29th September where we welcomed back so many past members of the church and rejoiced in the faithfulness and goodness of the Lord over the years.
Our confirmation service the next day where two candidates declared their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ – a wonderful reminder that the Lord God is still at work changing lives for good and building His church in this area.
The mission trip to Thika, Kenya where four of us were privileged to meet our sister churches of St Michael’s and All Angel’s, Ruiru and Emmanuel, Karoa and experienced the life-changing, joy-filled work of our brothers and sisters in Christ that is transforming whole communities in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The amazing answers to prayer that we see regularly in our Sunday services, often in ways that have completely surprised us. I mention this, not to give credit to anything we are doing, but to give glory to the Lord who reminds us continually that He is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine.
And I am also immensely thankful for the unseen blessings. There are many who give long hours behind the scenes doing some task or other that may rarely be noticed. There are our small groups where life’s joys and sorrows have been shared, and where through the tears and laughter so many have grown in their faith. There has been the grace of giving which has enabled the church not only to meet its financial obligations but also tithe its income to other charities.
I am sure there are many other blessings I could add to the list, and any omissions are purely accidental! Just by writing this I find myself excited as to what the Lord will do in 2019, and I hope you too will be encouraged to look forward with anticipation.
Our memory verse for the last year has been Psalm 127, verse 1:
Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain.
For all the Lord has done to build His house we are indeed so grateful.