Sunday, October 23, 2005
Grace Church Bristol
This weekend we visited the in-law's an took the opportunity to visit some friends, Matt & Lizzie, at Grace Church, Bristol. Grace Church is the only Sovereign Grace Ministries church in England (there are also two in Wales). So, apart from hearing CJ Mahaney at the New Frontiers conference in July, this was our first first-hand encounter with SGM. Superb!
The church is small and very friendly - they advertise themselves as being "by his grace - for his glory" and that rings true in action. The wonders of the Cross and the importance of God's word are evident in their meeting. It was great to sing truth-packed songs like Before the throne of God Above and A Debtor to Mercy Alone.
Pastor Nathan Smith preached on the Omniscience, Omnipresence and Omnipotence of God from Psalm 139, in a series on the charater of God. He directed us to join David in praising God because of his character and to be humbled and comforted. This really struck me - we easily think that God knowing everything abouts (because he is always with us) might be a reason for fear, BUT - for someone trusting in God's good news its not scary but comforting and exhilerating - magnifying the extent of God's grace to us!
A number of the church, including Matt, are off to the Sovereign Grace Small Group Leaders Conference in the USA this week. Should be great - and they get to stay with Jeff Purswell.
Great to see what they're doing down in Bristol and to have fellowship with them for a morning. I'm sure we'll visit again. I realised again in the last week that there are "christians" around who seem to hate christians and church.... and yet if we humbly decide to love the church we get to participate in it and enjoy it. Sure its imperfect at the moment, but it can also be wonderful.