‘Preach the word, be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.’ 2 Timothy 4:2-4
Thank you for the greetings and letters over Christmas. We enjoy hearing news from friends in various corners of God’s world. We were able to spend some lovely time with friends from Singapore just before Christmas. This was a real joy and encouragement to us. Please pray that the Lord may open up a door for us to visit them and others in Singapore, who we shared the Bible with over 25 years ago! Give thanks to God for the timely encouragements that he gives us and give thanks for a break over Christmas that enabled us to visit family up north and as far as Dundee!
The temptation to modify, mould and meld the message of the gospel to our culture’s palate is a present reality. The words of Paul to Timothy are a timely reminder to ‘Keep our heads in all situations!’ Please pray with us that we would faithfully teach the truth with grace, love and gentleness, not only amongst our church family, but at home and in our neighbourhood. Please also pray for us as we seek to appoint an assistant pastor before September: a godly man who is able to teach/evangelise and willing to partner in the work with Ray.
Rebekah, in her governor role, recently attended a lecture by Amanda Spielman, Chief Inspector of Ofsted. Reflecting on three years in her job she raised five ‘undiscussables’! She had lots of questions but little in the way of answers. Unsurprisingly, sexuality and gender identity was on her list and in her words: ‘a battleground for competing rights’. Faith schools are under fire, as are parents who hold Christian or moral views that are not in line with Ofsted’s recommendations. A sober reminder of how desperately we need to seek the Lord’s wisdom and grace in responding to these issues. How desperately we need to hold to the gospel firmly when the world seeks man-made solutions in hopeless places. Please pray for Rebekah to be bold, wise, clear and gracious as she speaks out for Christian values in the local school.
Ray has been preaching through Genesis, where God himself reveals his purposes for men and women. This has been a challenge to our hearts and a reminder to keep looking to Jesus. Please pray for Ray as he prepares sermons weekly: for quality time in preparation, for clarity in pointing us to Jesus, for godly support and unity with his elders and for right priorities in an expanding role.
Gavin (ex-footballer and BBC pundit) and his wife are visiting us at the end of February (28 Feb-1 March) for a weekend of talks and guest events. This is their second visit to GCB and we are really looking forward to having them! Gavin will be teaching on biblical manhood and womanhood as well as speaking at an evangelistic event and guest service. Please pray for Gavin and his wife as they travel and leave their own church behind. Pray for clear, faithful teaching that impacts head, heart and hands. Pray for mutual encouragement as we catch up with one another, for unbelievers to come and respond in repentance and faith, and for believers to be more and more conformed to the likeness of Christ.
Alistair Begg has written a helpful little book on prayer inspiring us to pray like an apostle. Rebekah is reading this with some of the women at GCB. This has challenged us to demonstrate our dependence in prayer and seek the things that God wants to change and grow us in. Please pray that we would be more prayerful in all areas of life and ministry and that we would pray big apostle-like prayers, filled with gratitude and longing to know God more and more!
Ray and Rebekah: Pray for perseverance and joy in serving. The grind of daily opposition is taking its toll. We need God’s strength to keep us going.
Naomi (21) has just arrived in Stuttgart, Germany and is feeling alone in an unfamiliar big city. Having just spent five months in Italy, she now needs to find somewhere to live and get her head around German! Please pray that she will be able to connect with a church and likeminded Christians and grow in her faith as well as her ability to communicate effectively.
Nathanael (19) continues as an apprentice civil engineer at the Tideway project. He and Lois now go to St Helen’s Bishopsgate and have joined RML. Pray that they will grow in their commitment and willingness to serve.
Natalia (17) has applied for child nursing next year and is working steadily for her A Levels. Please pray for her to grow in her faith in the gospel and in her confidence in sharing this.
Noah (14) is working steadily for his GCSEs. Art and music are still his big passions! Pray that he will continue to grow in his faith and be more willing to engage with our youth programme at church.
Huge thanks for your love and support. Don’t forget to send some news from you. And if this is one too many prayer letters, please let us or Crosslinks know.
Raymond, Rebekah, Naomi, Nathanael, Natalia and Noah
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