The thought this week was written by Graeme Ross, EBA Regional Minister
They were taken by the same camera, from the same angle of the same view but they are very different because of their focus.
Where is your focus?
There is so much going on that is demanding our attention. We are living through a global pandemic and the resulting lockdowns and now we are trying to make sense of the roadmap that has been presented by the Government and we find ourselves trying to make plans in the knowledge that the dates within the roadmap might change. On top of this, many of us are missing family and the freedoms that we had to travel and see other people at any time that suited us. It may be that our thoughts are consumed by the uncertainty and loss we have suffered or possibly our focus is on the vaccine rollout and that a return to normality is in sight.
Fix your eyes upon Jesus
In the picture on the left, everything is blurred in the background because the focus is on the mug. Does this illustrate what fixing our eyes on Jesus means? That we are so focused on Him that the things of this world grow strangely dim? I suspect that a better analogy would be that Jesus should be the filter through which we see the world, that as we focus on him then we can learn to more consistently see the world through his eye and then we can respond accordingly.
The image on the right illustrates what often happens, that we can be so focused on and overwhelmed by what is happening around us that we lose sight of Jesus. In these moments, we need to spend time refocusing on Jesus, calling him out of the corner and back into the centre of our vision.
Are we being Led by our Lord?
Over the past few years I have heard a number of people in different contexts use the phrase ‘it’s time to give Jesus his church back’. If you think that this phrase seems overly harsh because you have a deep desire that Jesus should be Lord of his Church in every way then I would encourage you to consider what your church report would look like if the Angel Gabriel turned up for an Ofsted Godsted inspection? I don’t think there would be many churches that wouldn’t have the recommendation that they need to fix their eyes on Jesus more consistently and I think that this is something that we should aspire to do more.
We are here to make disciples
At the start of the first lockdown we held a series of meetings on Zoom which asked what might God be saying to us. What we discerned together was that discipleship is about relationships more than it is about programmes and that God is continuing to call us to make disciples as part of our everyday living and by connecting with people beyond the church in new ways. All of this will require us to focus on God as we listen to and rely on Him! As we emerge from lockdown into the new normal, my hope is that we will prioritise fulfilling and applying these principles that we have discerned together.
This week’s Lent short video reflection also explores this theme and if you have another 3 minutes to spare you can watch it here https://youtu.be/da6jtjxerNk
Future of the Association Zoom
The EBA trustees are undertaking a review of the work and role of the association. However the association is not just the trustees and regional team. The Association is you! We are inviting anyone from EBA churches to join us in a zoom conversation where we can hear your opinions on what the Association does well and what you see as priorities for the Association going forward. There are 3 opportunities in the next week to join in, details are below along with the zoom invite.
4th March 10.30am – 12pm
5th March 2pm –3.30pm,
8th March 7.30pm – 9pm
Topic: EBA – The Future Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83038619269 Meeting ID: 830 3861 9269 Passcode: 415668
The third in our series of short Lent reflections ‘What are you focused on?’ (Lent short reflection 3: Tell these stones to become bread) is now available on our YouTube channel https://youtu.be/da6jtjxerNk. You can also download a copy for use in services using this link
Further YouTube resources
There are a variety of sermons and other video resources on our YouTube channel. We will also be adding resources for Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Pentecost Sunday to the channel soon https://www.youtube.com/easternbaptistassociationuk
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