Sheep Street Baptist Church

A Reflection for June 2023 - Be Encouraged: Persevere: Be Focused

Dear Friends,

After several years of struggles, followed by the Covid pandemic with all its repercussions, it is so encouraging to look around the church and
see how much God is doing among us, how far he has brought us in the last few years, and how much healing he has done among us.

The groups and activities which either had stopped or needed to go online, have all restarted with fresh insights and ideas. Plus, a new parent and toddler group – Little Lambs has begun. It is in the early days and each week is different at present, but we are hopeful that it will grow and be an encouragement to families.

The church fellowship has also grown numerically, and it is such a joy to be together as we worship and serve together. We are still looking for people to come forward to help with certain tasks as so many tasks are done by a few people; we hope that this will change as newer people find their place among us and join more actively in the work we do.

So, we can be ENCOURAGED, and we can.
“Encourage one another and build one another up”,
1 Thessalonians 5:11. (Incidentally, did you know that there are over 60 references in the Bible to encouragement?)

Yes, we can be encouraged, but those of us who have been in churches for even a few years will know how easy it is to slip back, or become complacent, or dare I say it arrogant, that we are doing ok so all is well. We don’t need to hear that there are better ways of doing things. We can so easily let focus slip and miss warning signs that all is not well.

So, as well as being ENCOURAGED we also need to alert and to PERSEVERE.

Persevere in reviewing what we do, what our motives are, and the way we do things, considering whether we are being flexible enough without
compromising Christian principles; and considering the people we are working with and for; is what we do for ourselves or focused on them and their need? Have we for instance focused enough on what we do to support our Ukrainian guests who have already gone through so much? Have we done enough to make our Renew Well Being guests feel welcome at services?

Persevering when things are flowing along nicely is easy; but persevering when it’s a struggle and we aren’t seeing the results we’d hoped for, is much harder and we can be tempted to just give up and move on to something else.
Don’t get me wrong, there may come a time when it’s right for some group or activity to close, but we must be sure it’s for the right motives. Often, if we persevered whilst making some adjustments, things would improve and grow.

Hebrews 12 1b to 3 sums this up for us:-
Let us throw off everything that hinders, and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for
us. LET US FIX OUR EYES ON JESUS, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning
its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that
you will not grow weary and lose heart.

And the key to success is right in there isn’t it?
Let is fix our eyes on Jesus.

I am so glad that those who taught me in Sunday School and in the Youth Group kept their eyes on Jesus as they taught me and my friends. I for one was certainly a (slightly) stroppy child, then a rebellious teenager (yes, really!!!) – but instead of focusing on the difficult personality before them they focused on Jesus and persisted in teaching me and caring for me. Most of them would never know that I grew up to have a good career in the health service and to successfully bring up a family. And I’m sure none of them EVER thought I would become a Pastor. As we look at the people around us in church, and around us in the community, let’s keep our eyes on Jesus and ask him to show us how we
can help these people to reach the potential God has placed inside them.

As Leaders, one of the things we say to each other quite often is a reminder to – “Keep the main things the main thing.” But what is the Main thing? The main thing is our focus on Jesus; as we keep our eyes on him doors will open; opportunities will arise; words will come into our minds; things will change; and over time we will change, and others will change to as we interact with them.


1 Timothy in the Message shows us who Jesus is and why he should be our
central focus.

Deep honour and bright glory to the King of all time –
One God, Immortal, Invisible, ever and always. Oh, yes!

Be at work in us bright God and may we serve you well with patience and