Ministry Musings are also included on the latest pewsheet

At this time of year when the days are short and sometimes dark, there is nothing quite like the glow and warmth of a fire in our home, whether it is a roaring log fire or electric look alike, it can bring cheer and pleasure .

The glow and warmth of Godís love and power in our hearts can have the same effect.

As I write this, I have just returned from a lay ministerís weekend held at a Christian conference centre in Torquay. There were seventy of us. The fellowship, the teaching, the worship, the stillness were all uplifting and wonderful. The warmth and glow of Godís love was there, the power of His spirit was alive. One of Bishop Leeís talks was about connecting with God and growing in spiritual maturity. Are we growing or have we stood still? God has called us by name, we need to allow God to help us be the people He wants us to be.

So, we need to create space for God, we need to slow down and be still, to discern that still small voice maybe only a whisper, but nevertheless there. Then growing in joy with abundance, íploughed iní by God.

Many of us will have stories of how we ícame to Godí or a conversion experience. That may be many years ago for some or only recently for others, but is the warmth and glow of that experience still with us or has it faded? We need to keep it alight, to keep going and growing.

In the bible, one conversion experience is of special note, and we particularly remember it towards the end of January.

We can read about it in Acts Chapter 9, it is the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. It was while Saul was on the road to Damascus, to persecute the church, that the conversion happened and it marked a turning point in the history of the early church. Never has any conversion meant a more complete about- face and radical change of thinking. The encounter with Christ was followed by three sightless days. Saul was identified with Jesus in his death and three days in the grave and identified with him too in baptism and newness of life. Saul the persecutor became 'brother Paulí a man to be hunted down, in his turn, by those whose cause he once led.

We may not have encountered God on the Damascus road in such a dramatic way, but He is with us now, always present as God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit so let us connect with Him.

I would like to finish with the words of a hymn which illustrates this connectivity with God.

Faithful One, so unchanging,
Ageless One, Youíre my Rock of peace.
Lord of all, l depend on You,
I call out to You again and again,
I call out to You again and again.
You are my rock in times of trouble.
You lift me up when I fall down.
All through the storm Your love is the anchor
My hope is in You alone.

God Bless,