Over the past few months, in response to prophetic words throughout 2020, we've been drawing near to God.
And as Steve shared with us on our Church Birthday last week, God has been so generous to us over the past 36 years since OCC was first planted. This is what our God is like: overflowing with love and faithfulness towards his people and his world. As we draw near to Him, He pours himself out to us, assures us of who we are, equips us, and sends us out into His world.
From this Sunday until Easter, our focus shifts outwards.
God has been speaking to us recently about growth, extension, expansion:
Have you ever been bought a big jumper, but “it’s okay because you’ll grow into it”? We’re rattling around - in this building but also in society there’s a lot of bare space and room to grow. God wants to fill us with faith that he’s prepared us with room to grow. A promise that we’ll fill this space. A promise that we’ll fill more space in society, in communities around us that have shrunk.
I have given you a great asset. I want you to be a large charismatic evangelical presence in the heart of the greatest educational institution in the world.
As we draw near to God, he assures us of who we are and equips us to go into the world to speak of him and draw others to him. God's Kingdom is a growing Kingdom, and God wants his people to play a part in that, to be courageous and confident as we go into the world. But there are lots of reasons we can struggle to do this - lack of experience, lack of confidence, or just unsure what God has to say about things that come up in everyday conversation.
God's Heart: Speaking confidently
Over the next 4 weeks til Easter we will be unpacking four areas where we can grow in confidence in our speaking and living. The focus of these weeks is to equip us - I am challenging each of our speakers (including myself!) to give specific, tangible pointers that leave everyone in the room and online saying "I could do that!" Let us know if that's the case for you.
So join us, as we look at the environment, what happens when life is tough, human relationships, and relating to other faiths. As Christians, we don't have to shy away from these topics. What can we say when these topics come up at work, among friends and family, at the pub (from June 21st)? What does God have to say about these things?
As Paul writes to the Romans, “whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." But he goes on... "how can they believe in the one of whom they have never heard? ... For faith comes by hearing" (Romans 10:13-14)
I want to encourage you, to
- come expectant - each our speakers speaks with confidence in this area, so will be imparting that confidence as they speak
- come together - these are things people struggle with in exploring Christianity - invite friends, bring guests, watch later, or share online
- come and help us! - we want this to be a shared journey, and we're open to questions. If you’ve found yourself speaking about one of these areas and weren’t sure what to say, do ask! Get in touch with me (Sanjay) or the church office
This is part of a longer journey OCC is on - becoming effective in sharing the wonderful news about Jesus with those around us. We believe everyone gets to be a part of bringing others into God's family, and we do this primarily through our midweek Communities.
Why not spend an upcoming Community meeting looking at this resource together, exploring how God has made us each to share Jesus with others? https://evangelism.intervarsity.org/resource/discover-your-witness-style-9-styles-explained
If you're not yet connecting to a Community, get in touch with Sanjay or find out more at https://oxford.occ.org.uk/communities.