Church Link August 2015

Welcome to our August issue 

This month we hear from Mike Oldham, our Sports Development Volunteer...

God has a plan for you! -  Jeremiah 29:11-13 New International Version (NIV)  

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah writes to the exiles in Babylon.  For individuals and for a nation this is a very dark hour.  They are displaced from home, and feel disconnected and out of relationship with God.  False prophets had predicted a swift return to Jerusalem.  Jeremiah advises a normal life and that they will return, but enemies continue to stir up trouble.
Then comes God’s message of hope.  He promises his people a future.  He will save them, restore them, and bring them home.  It’s a message with short-term and long-term consequence.  In the short-term God’s people will come out of exile.  In the longer-term, Jesus fulfils this new covenant so that through Him, and the work of the Holy Spirit, hearts can be changed and all people can return home...  

His message of hope is central to Alabare’s welcome for those “in exile”.  Homes are provided and "families" are formed.  Individual care and support plans are made and implemented.  There is a wider sense of homecoming.  The changes that take place in the lives of our service users are large ones.  From the immediate relief of a roof overhead, to the eventual prospect, for some, of a job and a new lifestyle, interdependent with a community joined or made.  But it doesn't work for everyone. Just as all are equal, so too all are different. Individual and group circumstances can remain fragile, and some stay in, or return to, exile. 
I feel the passage from Jeremiah is significant for Alabaré.  It provides necessary reassurance and an important reference point  during a period of change in response to the Government's recent and emerging welfare policies. Difficult decisions abut the future of some services have needed to be taken. Sadly, the short-term outcome will be a reduced number of service users supported and a number of our colleagues having been made redundant. 
In any period of change we are grateful that God’s message is constant and enduring.  We remain rooted in Him as we examine our part in His plan.

Mission planning...

is routine business for our armed forces, and to meet the demands of a particular mission, activities are part of an overall “battle rhythm”.  This is the term used to describe the daily, weekly, monthly cycle of interactions (plans, briefs and meetings) between the commanders and their people, and between his people themselves.  The rhythm is set and adjusted by the commander. to meet the demands of a particular mission.  As the enemy responds it may be necessary to adapt the battle rhythm to stay on track.  Implicit is the need to have trust in the commander and to follow his instructions!