As I write this first blog for our newly launched website, we at Abide CCA, are getting more and more excited as we finally relocate to our new venue: the Manurewa East School hall. This has been a long time coming- almost three years! As a church, we have prayed and yearned for this for what seems like an aeon, and as we made the final preparations, and actually held our first service in the hall today, I am reminded of Ecclesiastes 3:11 – “He has made everything beautiful in its time.”
I think all of us at Abide CCA have sensed that over the last three years the Lord has been preparing us for this season ahead, by deepening our relationship with Him, our heart for His Kingdom, and our grasp of His Word. By His grace may we grow not just bigger but even more healthy as God re-pots us into a bigger container!
It has been quite a journey since the formation of Abide CCA:
we have formed our church constitution,
been accepted into the Diocese of CCAANZ,
become an Incorporated Society,
and achieved charitable status as a church.
All this while enduring 3 lockdowns in Auckland, learning how to do zoom church, personally wrestling with COVID, other illnesses, and many other personal trials and challenges. We have farewelled dear friends as they have relocated elsewhere in the country and welcomed new ones into our fellowship. All in all, it has been quite a ride when one looks back. But through it all we declare that ‘Our God is faithful’ as we testify to the truth of Psalm 34:19, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”
As I reflect on this challenging season, with all its doubts and fears, confusion and frustration – it’s amazing to see God’s faithfulness to us as a church. Here we stand, at the edge of a new season, in the doorway of an open door; with his grace and favour all around. Truly God has taught us much these last three years, not least of which: Psalm 73:26 ‘My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.’
As we dream about this next season, my prayer is that we do not forget the lessons of the last. That we ‘trust in God with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding’, (Prov 3:5); remember Abraham’s example who: ‘did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God’, (Rom 4:20); and the encouraging challenge of Psalm 34:1: ‘I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.’
As God’s purposes and plans unfold for us, may we continue to grow in these things, letting the Lord work powerfully in and through us. May His kingdom come, and His will be done, and above all, as we continue to abide in Him may we bear much fruit, (John 15:5).
Guide me, O Thou great Redeemer,
pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but Thou art mighty;
hold me with Thy powerful hand:
Bread of heaven, Bread of heaven,
feed me now and evermore.
Yours in Him,
Rev. Glenn Paddison.