Season’s Greetings and Reflections
International Ministries Director Rev Dr Chris Wright shared the following with Langham staff on 30 November, and we want to share it with you….
I was just reflecting on how Thanksgiving (celebrated by our Langham family in the US and Canada) and Advent Sunday have come so close together this week. It seemed a good reminder of how important it is both to look back in thankfulness and to look forward in hope. We have so much to remember as a cause for thanksgiving (even in the midst of a pandemic) and so much to expect from the God who comes and will come again.
It was around this time twenty years ago now that a bunch of friends of John Stott were striving to find a way forward for the ministries he had founded. They included trustees of the old Langham Trust, the Evangelical Literature Trust, representatives from John Stott Ministries in the USA, and volunteers in Australia and Canada (Hong Kong and New Zealand joined later). And out of all the deliberations, Langham Partnership International was conceived and constructed in 2001. Langham Preaching had not yet been invented! None of us in those early days, probably including Uncle John himself, could have foreseen how God has blessed the Langham ministries and brought his vision to such incredible fruition over the past two decades. We cannot but be thankful for such an abundance of growth, initiatives, persons and projects, such a multiplication of friendships and reciprocal love and partnership in the service of God’s church all over the world – something so characteristic of our founder himself. May we be truly thankful for it and never lose it.
Advent calls us to live in expectancy and readiness for the return of the Master, when a broken, warring and suffering world will give way to the new world of the Messiah’s reign of justice and peace in the new creation. But more than that… The word Advent simply means “A Coming”. And already many of us have proved that God comes repeatedly – even (especially) in the midst of appalling times and circumstances like this terrible pandemic. He always has – as the great Bible story illustrates again and again. In famine, plague, barrenness, oppression, exile, persecution and even martyrdom – God comes. That’s what some Psalms cry out for, and other Psalms celebrate. We will doubtless do some of both – crying out and celebrating – in the months and years ahead. But through it all we know the end of the story, the destination of the journey. So we live in faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
May you know the Lord’s sustaining encouragement and strength, whatever this season of Advent and Christmas brings for you and your family.
Mark Meynell, Langham Preaching Director for Europe and the Caribbean, shared on 7 December…
We have now been in the season of Advent for a week (according to the calendar of the Western church). It is a time of waiting, when we reflect on the centuries endured by ancient Israel in expectation of the coming of the Christ. Sometimes their anticipation was eager; at other times, it was half-hearted; and, on occasion, it was non-existent. That is no surprise – it is hard to keep being positive when things take a long time. After all, after Malachi’s public ministry ended, there was no authoritative, scriptural word from God for 400 years or so! Not until a man with strange eating habits and an even stranger sense of fashion started baptising people in the River Jordan.
If the Covid-19 era has brought anything for the entire planet, apart from sickness and grief for millions of families and individuals, it has surely been the anxiety of indefinite waiting. Nobody can speak with total certainty about how long the need for social distancing and quarantining will have to last. It is hard to be patient when you have little idea of the timetable. As I write this, the news has come through in London that the first vaccine has been approved for use. That is good news, even if it’s only the first step.
But it is appropriate to grasp the Advent mindset, isn’t it? We have been waiting for two thousand years, now, for the Lord’s second advent. Who knows how much longer we will have to wait? Days? Years? Millennia? But none of this changes the fact of the return. As Peter wrote:
Do not forget this one thing, dear friends: with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:8-9)
So in our prayers for Langham PREACHING movements around the world, let us:
- Weep with those who weep and mourn with those who mourn in this waiting season. Many in our global community have lost loved ones, and many more have seen them suffer.
- Keep on trusting in God’s faultless promises, despite the apparent delays in their fulfilment, despite losing count of how many times we’ve prayed ‘How long, O Lord…’ He is FAITHFUL!
- Pray for the Lord’s word of patient kindness and grace to be proclaimed faithfully – online, in person, by text messages – that all may come to repentance. Pray especially for creativity and imagination to figure out new ways to do this, and to equip others to do this in the coming months.
- Pray for Preaching training events in DR Congo in December and Liberia, Trinidad and Bolivia in January.
Join us in prayer
Please pray for the editorial process of the Africa Bible Commentary revision; there is still a lot of editing to be done. Pray also for the annual Library Grant Programme which should be at its peak in January with Colleges placing orders, books being received from suppliers and completed grants being shipped. Pray for the small team in Carlisle (UK) who are involved in this activity – for accuracy, stamina and a unity of purpose.inistry.
Pray for the international Leadership Team as they work on revising strategic plans and budgets for the coming years in the wake of the pandemic (pray that our global income will not suffer badly), and as they strive to understand its impact on the global church and changes in world mission.
From the Langham Australia family…
- Thank you to all of you who have supported the ministry in prayer and in finances this past year. We truly value and appreciate your support.
- Please share Langham’s ministry with your Christian friends and family. As restrictions ease and state borders open up, there will once again be opportunities to travel and speak at churches, home groups and other events, so please consider how you could help to make this happen in your community. We would love to be overwhelmed with invitations to share! Please also share our posts on social media.
Best wishes to you all for a happy celebration of our Saviour’s first coming!
May you know God’s presence and peace as you enjoy the Christmas season with your family and friends.