Happy 40th Anniversary City Centre!  1980-2020

There is so much that I want to say to you as a church family on this special occasion. So, I will have to work very hard to keep this blog as tight as possible. Let me start by saying . . .
  • Well done. Take a moment to celebrate God’s goodness to us as a church family.
  • Keep going and keep growing (in every way!) If we coast, we are toast!
  • Stay faithful. Revisit and renew your personal participation and commitment to our core beliefs and practices as a church family. If we compromise, we are crushed. “Hold fast” to Him. To His Word. To His Church.
  • Stop regularly to look back on all that God has done. Memory can be a great tool to inspire us to move forward in faith.
  • Love one another. We are living in raucous days and it’s increasingly difficult to find the oneness that is prescribed in the Bible as a key factor in the health of the church. Don’t kid yourself, City Centre has had moments of struggling to stay united, but in the end, we have, and it is “good and pleasant” when church family dwell together in unity.
  • Give God the Glory. If we take the credit for what God is doing, we will be shelved.

It’s not exaggerating one iota to say that thousands have come through our doors, some were here only for a short time, some have stayed longer, and we have been blessed to be a blessing. Our Easter services in recent years have shown us the potential we have to reach this great city with the truth that is in Jesus. Pray that our vision and passion remains strong for the next leg of the journey.

This coming Sunday you will be able to hear a word of greeting from all 4 of the senior pastors who have been blessed to be your pastor. (I write this blog as number 4!). My word of blessing and challenge to our church family is taken from Jesus’ famous sermon in Matthew 5. In fact, this will be my text for Sunday, because the words seem fitting, knowing you as I do.

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5)

City Centre, keep seasoning. May the next years ahead be the “tastiest” of all your years.
City Centre, keep shining.      May the coming years be your “brightest” yet.
See you on Sunday,
Pastor Deric

My Pandemic Prayer

Here’s what I often pray for my church family, even more so, during this public health challenge:
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health,
just as your soul prospers.” (3 John 2, NKJV)
In using the word “beloved” I think John was feeling the motivation to pray: Pray for the people you love. One of the greatest motivations in prayer is the love that we share together as God’s family. We are His “beloved.” That simply means “His dearly loved children.” And in the words of John’s first letter, “if God so loved us we ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:11) How can we possibly love someone as deeply as God instructs us to, if we don’t pray for them. Prayer without love is simply reciting theology. It’s not intercession.
And John has a big target in prayer. I pray that “all will go well.” That is John’s way of pronouncing a universal blessing upon his friends. His prayer is a way of asking God to “bless you and keep you; to make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; to lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26) Our goal in prayer is to bless and encourage the people that we know and love.
John’s short little prayer at the end of his ancient letter has health implications. He prays specifically that his church family “will be in good health.” Why would he not pray such a prayer? And if John felt the need to pray for the health of God’s people, so should we. My prayer every week for our church family is that God will keep them from illness and sustain them in good health. Having said so, remember that healing is “supplemental” to God’s ultimate purpose for your life. During the times that good health appears to be lost, we trust God’s wisdom in all things. Remember that “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Notice carefully what John appears to be saying. His prayer is that their circumstances will match what is happening in their “soul.” Specifically, John prays that all will go well and his church family will be in good health “just as their soul prospers.” He wants their daily lives to line up with the state of their soul which was “prospering.” The word “prospering” literally means “be led along a good road” or “have a good journey.” Each of its uses in the New Testament (Romans 1:10; 1 Corinthians 16:2; 3 John 2) is clearly metaphoric. The word describes prospering and succeeding in the normal courses of life, both materially and spiritually. It is important to note that God is the true source of our prosperity and success.
He goes on in the very next verse to explain what a “prospering soul” looks like. “For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” A soul that prospers is a life lived in honour of the Word of God in the Bible. You can’t prosper in your soul, or inner life if you are not reading and inwardly digesting the Bible, God’s Word.
Pastor Deric