Dear friends,

As we walk together through the first weeks of 2024, enduring first the cold, the wind, rain and now enjoying a sneak preview of spring, I wanted to share with you some of the ways the Lord has been both encouraging and challenging us this term.

In our planning times we always talk and pray about what we feel God is saying and which stories stand out to us. The three stories that we selected from the It’s Jesus resource for this term are the Parable of the talents, Jesus walking on water and Jairus’ daughter. As we dig deep into these familiar stories and share them with children and teachers across the town, I am always amazed at the way the Holy Spirit brings fresh revelation and presents applications.

My prayer is that you too are encouraged and challenged by what the Spirit is speaking to the schools this term.

Jesus Says Use Your Gifts

Using the double meaning of the word gift in English, we explore how we have a responsibility to the giver of all good things. Like a parent at Christmas, God delights in seeing us use what he has given, such as giftings, responsibilities and opportunities.

Jesus Walks on Water

Having sent the disciples out in the boat, where they were stalled by the wind and waves, Jesus comes to them walking on top of the very things that were challenging them. Acting as if He will walk by, Jesus seems to give a playful invitation or challenge to the disciples and Peter famously declares that if it is the Lord who calls him, he can rise to the challenge.

Jesus Inspires Courage

In the story of the woman with the issue of blood and of Jirus’s daughter we consider the courage it can take to reach out in faith. Both the woman and Jirus faced the possibility of rejection and disappointment but believed that Jesus could and would meet their needs.

I find myself both challenged and encouraged by each of these stories and I rejoice at the opportunity we have to share them with the rising generation in Eastbourne. In our churches, homes and workplaces, may we steward his gifts well, reach out to him in our need and look for his coming to us, even in the midst of the storms. Whatever our plans or vision for this year, wherever we are invested, in opposing winds and stormy sea, crowded streets or alone - perhaps in sickness and even grief, let us find faith to reach for the train of the Master’s robe and pray that he fills his temple with glory.

One head teacher recently told me how the message in our collective worship had really struck a chord and made them realise that they needed to act on a particular thing.

Jairus and the woman were able to reach for Jesus because he had been made known to them, he had been made famous. Thank you for your support in making Jesus known in schools so that, in time, many may call on his name. Please continue to pray that the Lord would meet with children and adults, speaking to them where they are about who he is - the life-giver who calls us to walk and work with him.

Sam Oakes and the Spinnaker team

Spinnaker Trust Ltd - a company limited by guarantee, with charitable status. Registered Address: The Office, Christ Church Chislehurst, 40 Lubbock Road, Chislehurst BR7 5JJ Company No: 5503977. Charity No: 1111351
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