As we reach the end of another year, not only do we look back retrospectively, assessing all we have experienced and learnt in that year, we also look forward with anticipation to what God is going to do in the New Year. Dave was talking about this in the prayer meeting last night: how we combine hindsight with faith to look forward to what God is going to do. Isaiah’s words always seem very relevant at this time of year: ‘See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland’ (Is 43:19 TNIV – perhaps even more in the context of winter, for we see desolation and barrenness all around us in the natural world but by faith we look forward to spring and the new life that brings. As Matt Redman sings:

‘Just like the desert needs the blessing of the rain
Just like the winter, waiting for the sun again
I need you now
Just like a river as it reaches for the sea
Just like a song, it needs the sound of melody
I need you now.’ (‘I Need You Now’, Matt Redman)

‘I Need You Now’, Matt Redman

So, what is ahead in the New Year? Well, we start, as always, with the New Year’s Day party at 4 p.m., an opportunity for fun, fellowship, food and silly party games. It’s a great opportunity to bring friends who might be wary about attending church. Everything is very low key and informal and it’s great to be able to ‘catch up’ with our wider circle of family and friends. All are welcome.

On Saturday 4th January, we will be formally recognising the change of leadership. The church will be open for its first coffee morning of 2014 as usual (10 a.m. until 12 noon) and then will stay open for prayer from 12-4 p.m. This is not a fixed meeting as such, more of an informal drop-in where members can come and pray for the leadership and for the future, for God to pour out His Spirit on us and give us the direction, strengthening, vision and wisdom which we need. Without Him we can do nothing; with Him, the sky’s the limit! Come along for whatever time you can spare; it’s vital that in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we take time whenever possible to seek God’s face and to set apart time for Him.

The celebration service will start at 6 p.m., but come early to get a seat! We are expecting friends from far and wide to attend, so this will be a great way to start the year. It is good to recognise all Mark and Diane have given to the church and to thank them formally for their leadership as their roles change. It is also good to formally recognise Garry and Julie as new leaders and to pray for all involved in the church.

Other changes on the horizon include further building developments as we install a custom-made notice board in the foyer area (bearing all those wonderful team photos taken the other Sunday evening!) and as we wait for the new gas meter to be fitted (a task that is proving more strenuous than originally anticipated!) The notice board not only will proclaim God’s light shining invincibly in the darkness (John 1:5 TNIV) but also gives some indication of how we see ourselves: ‘With God in the community, with God for the community.’ We are definitely glad to be ‘Goldthorpe Pentecostal Community Church’ and look for that community development to continue in 2014.

The other big thing on the horizon is the church’s Big Birthday Bash! 2014 is the 50th anniversary of the church moving into premises in Goldthorpe; Beever Street became its first home in 1964. To celebrate God’s faithfulness over these 50 years, we are holding a special celebration weekend of events on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th June. Keep those dates free as we are hoping to hold a community day on the Saturday (10 a.m. until 2 p.m.) with an evening meeting and special meetings on the Sunday.

So let’s look ahead to the future with confidence and faith in God, for He never changes and never leaves us or forsakes us!