Ephesians 6: 18-24
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you.
Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.
Acts 19: 1-7
While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’
They answered, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’
So Paul asked, ‘Then what baptism did you receive?’
‘John’s baptism,’ they replied.
Paul said, ‘John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.’ On hearing this, they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.
SUMMARY OF ALAN'S FAREWELL MESSAGE
You are a remarkable community, you are a city on a hill that cannot be hidden, you are multipliers and carriers of hope into the community. You are brave and bold, you are generous with your lives and you relentlessly pursue the Holy Spirit, often in the midst of personal heartache.
We all have our own favourite moments along the journey so far. They may have taken place in one of the environments CCV has found itself meeting in over the years: The Montague Arms, the Edgewater Hotel, the University, then Alan’s personal favourite – the old Dunnes building, and then into our current complex. Each place is associated with specific people and distinct memories of God’s goodness.
This is not the beginning of the end – this is the end of the beginning of our story. God has so much more ahead for us.
In Acts 19 we read about the birth of the church in Ephesus and then in Ephesians 6, in Paul’s farewell, we see the end of the beginning.
When Paul first encounters those in Ephesus, they had received John’s baptism but had never heard of or experienced the Holy Spirit. For some of us at CCV, our story might be similar. We had some knowledge of the Christian faith and perhaps were even part of a church, however when we personally encountered the power and presence of the Holy Spirit we were marked forever and knew we could never go back to our old religious ways or church as usual.
We have seen God do things we had only heard about as well as things we could never have dreamed of or imagined. Each time God’s encounter with us has birthed something within us and among us. We have risked it all for Jesus. Don’t step back now, keep Him central, don’t get respectable, press into His purposes, set the sail because the wind of His Spirit is coming.
In Ephesians, Paul is writing to this community birthed in the power of the Spirit. The first priority is that we would be a people who continue in prayer. CCV have taken prayer out of the building and into the streets, modelled for the entire community to see. It is prayer which has been corporately and constantly on the move. The church is no longer timidly in the building praying for revival but is now stepping out to see where Jesus is already at work.
Continue to pray for Alan, Kathryn, Sophie and Emily as they embark on this next adventure and assignment. Pray earnestly for Neil and Janet (and, of course, Caleb) as they take on the leadership of CCV.
Also, continue to share your story, keep talking about Jesus, our magnificent obsession. Keep Him central in all you do.
Paul mentions specific friends at the end of his letter. Relationships are what make a community. Pray that the Scotts will form good friendships and develop meaningful Kingdom partnerships.
In Alan’s book which about to go to the publisher, he wrote the following dedication:
To the scattered servants of Causeway Coast Vineyard -
Your faith inspires us, your hope is inscribed in the lives and landscape of our community, and your love for the Father is beautiful.
Thank you for letting us be part of your journey;
Thank you for trusting us with your hearts;
Thank you for reminding us that greatness is not the domain of the strong but of the servant;
Thank you for giving us a place to belong and to dream beyond ourselves.
It has been our honour to partner with you in rewriting the story of our community.