Thought for the Month (January 2010)

We wish you a very happy new year. I know it is our age but the years hurtle past very fast nowadays. However, each year is important and it is good to have objectives for each year. A question we might ask is - what one event in 2010 would add most to our happiness?

The answer might be a material good like a new computer or a bigger house or a new wardrobe or a leisure pursuit like a world cruise or even Charlton winning the league, but it might also be a relationship issue, like improving a tired relationship or repairing a serious rift between people.

We are all different and we all have our own priorities but I would speculate that for most people, most of the time, improved relationships do more for our happiness than any amount of material goods or leisure pursuits. Particularly when relationships are poor we need to invest time and money in improving them. We need to be generous with our resources, forgiving in our attitudes and slow in our judgements, and do what we can to improve the situation. Sometimes this can be a long hard road but if you have done what you can, the immediate effect is peace of mind, and investment in relationships does reap a dividend in the end.

And this is true of our relationship with God. As Jesus reminds us, our relationship with God is our most important relationship and we need to invest time and resources in it. 2010 is the middle year of Vision for Life (V4L) and the first two years of this URC programme are primarily about our relationship with God. In 2009 we were focussing on the Bible and our aims were to become more comfortable with it and to read it more. Has it succeeded for you?

This year we do not want to lose what we have gained from reading the Bible, but we want to ground it more firmly in prayer, and to do that we are offering to everyone a free copy of the URC Prayer Handbook for 2010 called 'Gathered to the heart of God'.(donations towards the cost of 5 would be appreciated). Whereas in 2009 you were given a Bible reading for each day, now for each week you will have two prayers and four or five Bible readings which you can use in the way that suits you best. All we ask is that you have read the readings and prayed the prayers by the end of each week.

Our aims for 2010 are that you will pray more, that praying will become a more natural part of your daily routine, and that you will experience a deeper and closer relationship with our Lord. Is it not true that relationships are the most important thing in your life?

There will be other events with a prayer focus this year. Karen has a particular heart for prayer and is involved in several ecumenical prayer groups. She will be preaching on prayer on a number of occasions. At TWURC we are also proposing to have a weekly prayer group from 7pm 8.30 pm on a Wednesday evening in Church House, praying for the many groups such as Debt Advice and Narcotics Anonymous who meet in our building. This will be a prayer group with a mission focus preparing us for the 3rd year of V4L on mission and evangelism.

We hope this programme stirs your heart. Speak to your elders if there are other things related to prayer that you would like to see done. In the meantime your Prayer Handbooks will be available at Sunday worship on 3rd January. Make sure you get yours.

With love and best wishes for 2010,

Bob and Karen

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Tunbridge Wells United Reformed Church