Update #66 May 2017

Happy Easter!
Don’t worry – I haven’t got the calendar wrong! I know Easter weekend was last month. It’s just that shouldn’t the impact and thrill of Easter survive more than a few weeks? If you’re anything like me though, Easter can become another day in the diary. A special day for sure, perhaps even unique. But it was a number of pages ago and this week feels more pressing. Peter’s written a blog post for people just like us! We can live with hope today, in the present, because of Easter. Easter does not fade. Read the post here.

 

March Intensive

We had a great time at the end of March at another ‘Relational Faith’ Intensive. Our mornings in John’s Gospel were really special and gave us a clear view of Jesus. The best way to start the day! It was a fun and warm group – some had attended Cor Deo once or twice before, but for half of the group it was their first time! There was even someone who’d been a Christian for less than six months! Such a privilege.
Here are three participant reflections of our week together – we love to hear comments like these…

     “This week I’ve seen that Jesus is worth getting to know more- I’m looking forward to going home and enjoying Him!”
“I’ve really appreciated the fellowship of the group.”
“The things we’ve seen this week will greatly affect my ministry.”
Do pray for the group from our March 2017 Intensive – pray that we would have a growing heart for God that will spill to our family, friends, neighbours and churches.
OM Ireland

Peter has a long relationship with Operation Mobilisation (OM) and so it was a joy to travel with him to Ireland just before Easter. We spent a few days with the OM Team based there, a team of Americans, Canadians, Dutch, Germans and others! There’s something so special about studying the Bible with people from other nations. You can see from the photo how focussed they were!
Ireland is a hard place to be an evangelical Christian and this Team work in a variety of places spreading the Good News. I was impressed and challenged by their passion and boldness for Jesus.
Pray for this Team, for our good friend Tim who heads up the training, and for the work of OM in general.

 

Since 2014, we’ve had a brilliant base in Chippenham which we call ‘The Unit.’ It’s been the location for our Full Time Program, Women’s Program, Intensives, Focus seminars and we’ve also found it to be a great place to study and write. However, it was clear to us and the Cor Deo trustees that the rent was becoming too much of a burden so we prayerfully decided to explore leaving The Unit. This process was completed a few weeks ago. We are so grateful to God for The Unit. We have many good memories of His blessing us there, but we’re also excited by the prospect of being ‘locationally flexible.’
Future Opportunities
A couple of Cor Deo opportunities you can sign up for. Get in touch if you’re interested in coming along!
1. As part of the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther launching the Reformation with his 95 theses, we are planning a special Cor Deo ‘Reformation Intensive.’ Three days in Chippenham at the end of October with all the usual elements of Cor Deo, and a strong Luther flavour! There are more details to come, but in the meantime check your diaries and email us: Monday October 30th – Wednesday November 1st

2. Next year’s Cor Deo Womens Program will start on Monday February 26th 2018. We’re delighted to say that Gretchen will be joining us again for the three week! We’ll swim together in John’s Gospel, exploring the Four Big Questions and how they’ve been answered since the first century! If you’re a woman in Europe and have questions, or want to register your interest, let us know.

As always, me and Peter are really thankful to God for you. Thank you for your support and interest in us and Cor Deo. If there’s anything we can do to support you where you are, please let us know.

God bless.
Mike

CorDeo UK

Easter Does Not Fade

This post originally appeared on Peter’s preaching blog: Biblical Preaching. It’s a great place to explore and ponder preaching that shares God’s heart.

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Easter has come and gone for another year.  But Easter will never fade for God’s people.  Think about the Apostle Peter, for instance.  He was a rugged fisherman called by Jesus to become one of his core followers.  He watched and experienced all that we read about in the Gospels.  He was at the heart of most of the action.  When it came down to it, he wanted to be there for Jesus.  When it came down to it, he couldn’t make it faithfully through the night.

Then things went from bad to worse.  Jesus was killed.  The disciples were in hiding.  Peter had not been able to say sorry for his denial of the man he so dearly loved.  Saturday passed.  Sunday morning came.  Women came to report that the tomb was empty.  Peter raced John to the tomb and that day he met the risen Christ more than once.  Surely in their private conversation, Peter would have expressed his heart to Jesus over what had happened?  Two weeks later, on a Galilean beach, Peter was given the chance to express publicly his love for Jesus.  He had failed, but he was not finished.

Every encounter with the risen Jesus must have thrilled their hearts, but before too many weeks had passed by Jesus returned to His Father and they waited in Jerusalem.  On Pentecost, it was Peter that boldly stood to declare what was going on.  Peter pronounced persuasively that the pangs of death could not keep hold of Jesus and he had risen from the dead!

Easter was very real for those who saw the real Easter.  And for a few weeks, their enthusiasm is to be expected. But surely the delight must fade?  Every event eventually fades, doesn’t it?  Not for Peter.

Fast forward over three decades and Peter writes a letter to some dispersed and discouraged Christians in Turkey.  As soon as he launches he is gushing about the reality of Easter again!  Thirty-plus years and his passion remains undimmed!  Peter could not help but write about the covenant mercy of God that led Him to cause us “to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead!”

Peter went on to write about that hope: an inheritance kept where it cannot die, be defiled, or disappear.  The heavenly hope was, for Peter, no “pie in the sky when we die” – it was a real and life defining certain expectation.  But the hope Peter spoke of was more than just the heavenly inheritance to come. It was also a present tense living hope.

How does the resurrection of Jesus shape our lives today?  What do we have as well as the hope that lies ahead?  Peter writes that we have perspective in the midst of challenging trials.  The suffering that besets God’s people now has purpose – it proves the miracle of our faith.  The suffering we endure now with faith results in greater glory to the God we look to in the midst of the trials.

As well as perspective, Peter writes that believers have an unexplainable love for Jesus.  Because he rose from the dead, Jesus is not simply the object of our nostalgia, like a spiritual Elvis or JFK.  Jesus is alive and that means that while we do not see him, we do love him.  As hard as it is to explain the hope that characterizes God’s people, it is even more difficult to explain the love that we have for Jesus Christ.  It is a first-rate spiritual miracle for a self-absorbed and incurved human heart to be turned inside-out so that it doesn’t hate Jesus (our natural condition), but loves him from the heart!

Finally, as well as perspective and love, the believer also has inexpressible joy.  When we see Jesus our joy will overflow, of course, but now, even though we do not see him, we rejoice with a joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.  True believers suffer, true believers endure, but true believers are people of joy.  It comes from the perspective we have, it comes from the love that is birthed within us, it comes because Jesus has conquered the greatest enemy – death itself.

Since death is defeated we live, present tense, with a living hope, with victory-shaped perspective, with unexplainable love, and with inexpressible joy.  We live, present tense, because Jesus lives, present tense. Since death is defeated, Easter must not and cannot fade for us.

CorDeo UK