And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch
Over their flocks by night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and
the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
But the angel said to them,
‘Do not be afraid,
I bring you good news of great joy
that will be for all people.
Today in the town of David a Saviour
Has been born to you;
He is Christ the Lord’
This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel praising God and saying,
‘Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace to those on whom his
favour rests’. (Luke 2:8-14)
Encrypt has changed quite dramatically over the last few months! In September we were sad to say goodbye to most of the Encrypt group. Almost all of the group completed their A level courses this summer and launched off into the world of university or work, leaving us behind with just one or two young people.
However, we have been hugely encouraged by a surge of newcomers joining in year 10. It’s been fantastic to see a core group of Pathfinders join Encrypt at the bottom and then start inviting their friends and becoming more and more committed. As the term has gone on, we’ve seen the group grow and grow as more friends come along, try it out, and then become regular members.
Some of the greatest encouragements have been in POD, the youth Tuesday night bible study. We’ve been digging into the book of Jonah, and seeing God’s amazing grace to people who don’t deserve his kindness, and a number of young people have started to come regularly since the weekend away at half term.
We’re so delighted with the growth in numbers and maturity of the Encrypt group - praise God for his goodness to us and his work in the lives of our young people! Please keep praying for us and for the young people of Lindfield and Haywards Heath, that God would be at work amongst them, bringing life, and that he would equip and empower us to serve him and them.
We first introduced Operation Andrew prayer cards during the Passion for Life mission a couple of years ago. The idea is very simple. You take a card (we gave out a lot at last Sunday’s services and there will be plenty available today) and write four names of people you know who are not-yet Christians and commit to pray for them regularly, diligently and intentionally. Intentionally means that, as you pray, you will think of ways of gently introducing them to Jesus—through church events, social occasions, family meals, any imaginative way of deepening relationships and building trust and friendship.
Why Operation Andrew? We read in John 1:40-42 that ‘Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him ‘We have found the Messiah (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.’
What a wonderful example Andrew sets us! Please take the Operation Andrew Cards and use them in your daily Quiet Times for prayer—nothing much will happen unless we pray—for our friends, family, neighbours, work colleagues.
Last Sunday, a team from All Saints delivered copies of Luke’s gospel to all the residents of the new Limes development in Lindfield. This was an initiative of Bob Priestley who personalised these free gifts with a special book cover and message. This is meant to be a pilot to see if we can do different areas of the village each year, coupled with prayer and witness at Christmas and other special occasions. Thank you, Bob for this great idea.
Last Wednesday — 30 November — was St Andrew’s Day, and I have felt it an appropriate time of year to re-launch our Operation Andrew Prayer strategy for the parish.