After our emphasis on praying for the city last week, it was very providential that last Sunday found me preaching at the Sunday morning service of Colin Glen Christian Fellowship in Andersonstown Leisure Centre in west Belfast. I loved preaching there. This is a church planting effort – a small work which I and several others help to advise through being on a council of reference. Growing up in my background, I could never have imagined that one day God would grant me the glorious privilege of preaching his word in such a location. God is doing great things in different parts of the city, including those areas which were previously spiritually quite barren.
Including myself and Maggie, John Duffy and his wife (who lead the fellowship) and their 2 children and another 4 people who were visiting from another church, there were 20 of us in total. After years of meeting in John and Elaine’s front room, they now meet in a great room in the leisure centre – not too big or too small with an attractive book table and some modern technology to help us along. The location is great and the possibilities are many. As people were gathering in other parts of the centre for swimming lessons and fitness classes, the faithful folks commenced the worship service. John led us skilfully on his guitar and I was moved that we again sang “Turn your eyes upon Jesus” (see previous blog!). I preached on the Majesty of Christ from Colossians 1 vv 15-23. In the hedonistic and confused world of 1st century Colosse, against a backdrop of overt gnosticism, a world very similar to our own in terms of its philosophical understanding, the church there was called to bear witness. Paul upheld the majesty and the wonder of Christ, and using language borrowed from the gnostics themselves, Paul affirmed that in him the fullness of the godhead dwelt bodily. It is through his cross that peace with God is obtained and we know that he will present us blameless in his sight one day. What a theme. And how appropriate for Belfast – all of it, north, south, east and west. A city divided for so long; a city with broken hearts and broken streets and broken relationships. And how good to see people from different backgrounds meeting together in the heart of west Belfast to affirm that Christ is the only Saviour and the only hope.
This little work needs your prayers. They produce all their literature in both English and Irish and over the next 6 weeks or so will be distributing 4500 gospel calendars in the area. He loves this city – all of it - and he loves these streets - all of them!!