GraceForGrowth
Last month our second son, Gideon, was born. Along with the joy of his arrival came challenges and adjustments which underline our need to receive God’s grace for each day.

As a church we are pregnant with the promises of God. We are expectant to see God move both in and through us, affecting the lives of our friends, family and colleagues in a way that we will see our church family grow as people come to faith in Jesus.

Here are a few thoughts out of my recent experience that I trust will stir us to ask God, by His grace, to enable us to honour Him in the way we prepare for and react to growth at Chapel; to receive grace for growth.

Preparations
Arriving a month earlier than expected, Gideon caught us somewhat off guard. We had fortunately spent the days leading up to his birth moving furniture, washing baby clothes and packing Charlotte’s hospital bag. The essentials were in place, but ideally we would have sorted many other things in advance.

At Chapel we have already experienced much change and there is a sense that this change is preparatory for the unfolding of the promises that God has spoken over us. God is leading us, establishing the things He wants to be in place, in His time, in order to fulfil His purposes. We may expand in ways that we don’t expect, or to a different time scale than we had thought. Yet God’s grace is readily available to us, that we might flow with His plans and trust Him to provide for all our needs.

Although there were initial concerns with Gideon’s early arrival, there was such peace with us in the labour suite. This was God’s perfect timing! At Chapel we need grace to know that same security as we see God’s promises outworked in our life together. There is grace for growth.

Expectations
Isn’t it strange how we often carry unspoken expectations. When Gideon was first handed to me by the midwife I was somewhat surprised that he looked different from our eldest, Josiah. It is not that I expected another Josiah, but somewhere in the mix my expectations had been shaped by previous experience.

As our church family grows we need to receive grace to welcome and love people who are different from the current family that we have grown to know and love. New converts, like babies, are likely to bring a level of mess and noise that we have not been accustomed to. Maybe the new additions might even include the “more demanding child”.  Whatever we think, we can be sure that God will move both beyond and outside our expectations. There is grace for growth.

Adjustments
As a family the biggest challenge has been to help our son, Josiah, adjust to having a new member of the family around. Josiah had grown used to our undivided attention, but now little bro is muscling in on the action.

We have had to pray for grace to understand how Josiah is feeling and to meet his need to know love and security, whilst at the same time establishing and embracing the changes that a new addition has brought to our family.

In the coming season at Chapel there will be adjustments for us all in our life together. We will need to draw more readily upon God’s grace to stay in the flow of His purposes. We may need grace to see others reap quickly where we have sown faithfully over decades, grace to sit next to and share our lives with different people, grace to know how to love new arrivals,  grace to see others lead where we have once led….

On into a new season
So as Charlotte, Josiah, Gideon and myself start out on a new season of life together, daily receiving grace from God to love and model Christ to one another, so I would urge us as a church family to readily receive grace from God; grace for change and growth in the coming months and years as we see the Gospel unleashed and Christ radically changing the lives of individuals and families, and so impacting our precious city of London.